Country Living (UK)
The COOK’S kitchen
If you do a lot of cooking and entertaining in your kitchen, you need it to function like clockwork. Key to achieving this is organisation. Divide the room into zones: one for dry goods and storage (a larder cupboard is useful here, so you can reserve cabinets for your kit); and another for wet preparation, ideally with the fridge well positioned between the two so you can locate everything with ease before you start cooking. Have deep drawers at floor level for storing small appliances and cookware (an overhead view helps you see things quickly).
Functional worktop materials are crucial. Those that strike the right balance between practical and pretty in a country kitchen include granite (it’s longlasting, but bear in mind its heavy weight), quartz composite (scratchproof and has a similar timeless look), wood (maple, beech and oak last for ever and can be sanded back if they scratch). Keep heat resistance in mind – if you’re always putting hot pans on the counter, a tiled area around your hob is a great idea. There’s nothing to stop you mixing a couple of different worktop materials to suit your needs, and it will add interest to the overall look.
The oven is the heart of a multifunctional kitchen. An Aga looks good in any period property but requires an understanding of how best to cook on one. Many serious cooks will use a range of sources, such as innovative range cookers with ‘domino’ hobs, combining different fuel types and incorporating specialist cooking surfaces such as griddles and teppanyaki grills. You might combine gas and induction hobs with a combi oven (professionals love ones with warming drawers for proving dough and heating plates).