TOP KITCHEN DESIGN TIPS Valuable advice from an expert
Whether you’re refurbishing or planning a new kitchen, interior designer Candice Koller shares her advice
Founder of CW Interiors, Candice Koller recently added a kitchendesign arm, CW Kitchens, to her consultancy. “We’ve always worked on kitchens, but realised there was a niche for detailed planning, design and installation. A well-designed kitchen is such an enduring investment. It’s important to get certain key things in place right from the start.”
THE IMPORTANCE OF LIGHTING
“Before you even think of decorative feature lighting, give careful consideration to functional lighting,” advises Candice. “This is often an afterthought, but it’s essential to budget for a proper lighting plan.”
Things to consider include the angle of your task lighting (try to avoid working in your own shadow), as well as the coverage of the area that’s illuminated. “Think about the lumens of your chosen lights, which will indicate the actual spread or brightness, as opposed to the amount of energy used (watts).”
Where you have cupboards above a work station, Candice suggests under-unit lighting. “Above kitchen islands, a group of pendants is an attractive alternative to low-energy LED downlights that are used in the rest of the ceiling. Keep it to a maximum of three to avoid a cluttered effect.”
CHOOSING WORK SURFACES
“If you’re renovating, new countertops are a guaranteed way to transform a dated kitchen,” says Candice. “The benefit of planning a kitchen from scratch is that you can create an entire mood board, from tops and cabinetry to splashbacks and f loors. On the whole, I find that pale countertops made from quartz composites just look cleaner. For longevity, I tend towards calm, neutral kitchens, with accents of timber and painted islands to add interest.”
If you like the look of deep, generous countertops, consider the 20mm options which have a front overhang of 40mm – a far more cost-effective option.
CREATE A SEPARATE SCULLERY
“Keeping the mess and clutter out of sight is definitely first prize. Where space permits, include a double sink, dishwasher and washing machine in a separate scullery. Allow for plenty of landing space, plus storage for lesser-used items such as food processors or large vases.”
In more compact or open-plan spaces, Candice recommends giving the scullery area as much attention as the rest of the kitchen. “Treat this space as part of the room, extending the mood, materials and palette all the way through. The result will be far more cohesive.”
“Much like wall tiles and paint colours, f loor finishes are a very personal choice. I tend to avoid timber laminates, as they’re water sensitive. Vinyl laminates are better, but you need to invest in the best-quality product you can afford,” says Candice. If you’re opting for tiled f loors, Candice advises against highly polished finishes, which can lead to slipping.
“Also, think about the grouting pattern, which will appear ‘busier’ when smaller tiles are used across a large expanse. On the other hand, where spaces are very compact, don’t choose such large tiles that you end up having to cut them down.”
If a concrete screed f loor suits your design, Candice advises using a reputable installer with a proven track record. “These f loors are not patchable, so you want to avoid any cracks as far as possible.”
OPTIMISE STORAGE SPACE
“Incorporating a generous, full-length pantry goes a long way to creating a user-friendly kitchen. It just makes sense to keep your dry goods in one area,” says Candice. She suggests including top shelves above the groceries – ideal for storing items like big baking appliances, while saving on counter space.
“If your design includes a passageway or screening wall, line the back of the wall with open shelves – the perfect place to keep larger crockery.”
Candice includes numerous drawers where possible, often in lieu of cupboards. “Drawers are not just for pots and pans – they’re brilliant for accessing everyday crockery and glassware. I also incorporate storage space in kitchen islands – it’s a superb space saver.”
Candice added a bulkhead to the slab above the island to conceal all the electrical wiring. In addition to the ceiling downlights, pendants from Eurolux add a decorative touch. The island includes storage space and a breakfast bar.
THIS PAGE, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: This renovated kitchen originally had beige granite countertops and very dark cabinets. To lighten and freshen the whole space, Candice added quartz tops from Eeziquartz and painted the cabinetry white. Glassfronted cabinets display favourite crockery and glassware. Three metal pendants from CW Interiors complement the pale tones.
THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: By using the same wall tiles, timber shelves and countertops in the scullery, it blends seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen. Silver appliances add to the sense of cohesion. In this townhouse kitchen, Candice paired simple floor tiles from Tiletoria with marble-look herringbone wall tiles from Douglas Jones.
THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Placed above the hob, a timber cupboard and shelves add visual balance to this compact kitchen. The countertop is from ProQuartz. Accessories add a visual element to custom-made timber shelves, all by CW Interiors.