Designing the Perfect Kitchen
When it comes to designing the perfect kitchen, of course, we care about the beautiful tiles and sleek benchtops but really falling in love with a kitchen all comes down to crafting a design with functionality that resonates with the end-user. Like all great designs, it needs to have your needs at its core. We’ve broken down some of the processes we go through in order to design a functioning kitchen, like the one in our recent project The Barefoot Bay Villa, to help you on your next project:
When planning the kitchen, we always begin by considering how the kitchen needs to function first and foremost. We try to break the kitchen into zones of use, we think about how the user will work within the space, what will the flow of use and the flow of other people in the space be, and are there any special elements we need to take into consideration.
For larger families who may share the kitchen throughout the day, try and consider how people within the family co-exist in the space at once. Ensure that there is space for someone to be cooking on the stovetop, another to be looking in the fridge for food and another to be at the sink washing a plate up. By considering each space around the kitchen and zoning them off for specific uses, it will allow an easy flow through the space and will be a joy to use without running into each other.
We think about when we’re preparing food or cooking, what things need to be within reach to avoid unnecessary crosses around the kitchen? Having all the pans and utensils stored in drawers on either side of the cooktop is a great start in planning a kitchen. Depending on the space available, a small pull out drawer next to the cooktop filled with oils and spices will make seasoning a breeze. This increases the functionality of a kitchen as it will cut out the unnecessary time it takes to walk back and forth from the pantry. Don’t forget things like locating bins beside sinks, large drawers (we’re big fans of drawers over cupboards if budget permits) to house pots and pans, shelves for glassware beside fridges, etc.. Think about how you will actually move about the space and what will make life in the kitchen a breeze.
COOKING ZONE: At the Barefoot Bay Villa we included a cooking zone along one wall, with a freestanding cooker in the middle and an appliance cupboard at the end. On either side of the cooker are drawers housing pots, pans, bakeware and all the utensils required to cook. One bank of drawers also houses all the plates and platters, allowing for easy plating up straight from the cooktop.
CLEANING & CONVERSATION: The large island in the middle of the kitchen at the Villa houses a large oversized sink, a double Dish Drawers from Fisher and Paykel and an integrated bin. This allows for the person cleaning up to face out from the kitchen and engage in conversation with guests sitting around the island.
FOOD STORAGE and PANTRY: Behind the white elevation of joinery at the Villa is housed an extensive pantry and appliance space, plus the fridge. One of our favourite things to add into a kitchen is an appliance cupboard, it keeps appliances hidden but allows for easy access when in use. This one connects perfectly to the cooking and prep area.
The double pantry includes shelving and a collection of fully extending drawers - all the storage we required for a large family and no more reaching to the back of a cupboard for that tin of tomatoes!
Having great access to natural light is incredibly important for any ‘working’ zone in the home. At the Villa, the kitchen is overlooked by a 5-metre stacker door that brings light in from the yard, but the bank of Velux Active skylights is really what has transformed the light in this kitchen space. Bringing in light from above is a great choice if you find your kitchen a bit dark. The Velux Active skylights make the kitchen even more functional by easily opening at the press of a button, venting the kitchen and getting rid of unwanted smells.
Recently VELUX (our go-to skylight brand) launched an awareness campaign in the U.S that highlights the effects of living unhealthy lives in our own homes. We spend 90% of our time indoors which has led to various forms of social disorders. This has now become a major issue for society. The real power of skylights is the transformation of different light values throughout the seasons. You will experience priceless moments when you view the sun, the rain, the trees, the moon and even the stars all through what is essentially a simple product. VELUX created a beautiful and compelling video about the benefits of natural light – it’s a must-see for anyone renovating. Take a look here!
We really believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and where possible we love to connect it to the other living zones in the home. We love to have space for guests and family members to interact with the chef creating a casual and inclusive environment. Try opening up your kitchen and allowing guests to connect by adding barstools to an island bench, an adjoining dining table or a casual living space within reach.
Your materials deserve much more consideration than just their colour. The materials which make up your kitchen should reflect on how you intend to use the space. We needed the Villa kitchen to relate seamlessly with the other textural elements within the home but also stand up to the use of a holiday home. We chose a concrete benchtop from Concrete Nation in ‘Green Stone’ which not only looks amazing but will stand the test of time and look even better with age. To this we added Trebada Terracotta tiles by Earp Bros in a matt white from which brought in both texture and lightness.
If you’re interested in knowing more about splashback materials, read our recent blog here.
Making life easier
Consider inclusions in your kitchen that will save you time and money. Something we love to add is a multifunction tap. Given the Villa is a luxury home we couldn’t go past the Billi Quadra tap, this allows you to have boiled, chilled, filtered and sparkling water literally in an instant. Once you’ve tried it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one!
If your appliances aren’t fabulous then your cooking won’t be! At the Villa, like with many of our projects, we used a selection of appliances from Fisher and Paykel. We love their constant innovation and their focus on creating appliances that respond to the needs of the Australian market. The new dual fuel freestanding cooker is a standout and adds a little glitz to the kitchen space.
Your fridge also needs to be able to stand up to daily use and Fisher and Paykel fridges are arguably some of the best available in the market winning awards regularly for their French Door fridge. We love the new double French door fridge and freezer, it’s new to the range, is super spacious with all the special features we’ve come to love and it looks pretty fabulous too!
Every kitchen needs a dishwasher and it’s no secret that the Fisher and Paykels DishDrawer is our favourite. It saves you from straddling the drop-down door of most dishwashers and is much more ergonomic. Having two just means you can wash more regularly – no more smelly dishes in the sink!
Call us homewares addicts, but seriously one of our favourite things to shop for is amazing cookware and home gadgets. When shopping for the Villa we were like kids in a candy store- starting from scratch and buying everything a kitchen needs! These are some of our favourite brands:
COOKWARE: For everyday cooking which doesn't compromise on results we chose Scanpans TechnIQ Collection. We also added pieces from Chasseur– specialists in cast iron cookware with the most stunning range of colours available.
SMALL APPLIANCES: Every great kitchen needs a toaster, food processor, smoothie maker, ice cream machine, slow cooker, and griddle/toastie maker- doesn't it?? We think so and our go-to was the range from Cuisinart - of course, we wanted them all to match!
FOOD STORAGE: We adore Click Clack's range of food storage - simple modern designs and a huge range to choose from. It allows you to easily stack and organise in your pantry and looks great - who doesn't want a well-organised pantry these days?
TOOLS: Every kitchen needs a range of tools to whip, stir, flip and serve. The matching selection from Click Clack is a standout with a little metallic edge to make any designer swoon - and ensure your drawers stay organised of course. Mixing bowls, digital scales, pitchers and jugs are also essential and for these, we can't go past Avanti.
GLASSWARE: Every home should have a mix of glass and plastic glassware, especially if you have an alfresco zone and pool. For plastic, Strahl was a perfect choice and even feels like glass.
In need of more kitchen inspiration? See our Pinterest Board dedicated to kitchens.