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Eat And Greet

With kitchens acting as the social hub of the home – stylish and functional designs are a must

18.08.2017

Thanks to the never-ending appeal of television cooking shows such as MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules, homeowners continue to invest big sums of money to create the perfect environment for preparing restaurant-quality food at home.

Residential kitchen designers say people are more willing than ever to spend money on the latest appliances, gadgetry, finishes and fixtures.

Often the first room to be tackled in a renovation, people will spend hours researching the latest trends and trying to work out the best options to suit their personal needs.

Latest trends range from industrial clean, sleek lines right through to a more decorative Hamptons style.

Linda Hannah, from Caesarstone, says modern industrial and modern natural looks are popular, especially concrete-inspired finishes.

Caesarstone has a variety of concrete designs in its collection and Linda says these offer the look and feel of a formed concrete surface yet remain easy to clean and never require sealing.

“Raw Concrete and Fresh Concrete joined the Concrete Designs range in 2015, as part of the highly successful Sleek Concrete design,” she says. “Raw Concrete’s natural soft grey colour and distinctive texture delivers the classic industrial concrete look while Fresh Concrete brings a delicate and clean modern industrial appearance of fine white concrete to the series.”

Sue Jansen, from Kitchen Capital, says a good kitchen is key to creating an outstanding family home.

“The kitchen has become the meeting and greeting place in the home, families are more conscious of what they are eating and preparing, and the manner in which foods are prepared in order to obtain the best nutrient value,” she says. “Often there is more than one chef in the kitchen as more people enjoy cooking and creating as a social time for the family.”

Sue says Hamptons styling is still very popular after it emerged in late 2014 as a front runner in the design stakes. “Hamptons-style kitchens work well in WA because they create a welcoming, homely look,” she says. “Black timber floors which are often used to create the Hamptons feel are also very striking.”

Solid timber and stainless-steel combination benchtops are making a comeback too. “Both allow for practical surfaces to work on and add to the character of the kitchen.”

Sue says a well-designed, stylish kitchen can add value to a home. “A kitchen that has both safety and function, combined with an amazing wow factor, plenty of accessible storage and great lighting will add immense value,” she says.

Thinking outside the square is sometimes more important than nailing the latest trend.

“Colourful splashbacks in glass or large tiles to add a burst of colour really can add interest and they can easily be changed as fashion changes,” she says.

Another clever trick is to combine several different benchtop materials.

If the budget is tight, Sue suggests accessible storage, with drawers and slide-out shelves, are a must. “As a minimum, you need good-quality materials in the manufacture of the cabinetry and a great oven,” she says.

If there is a reasonable budget, it could be spent on a fabulous combination of tops, great appliances including warmer drawers and steam ovens, and a combination of cooktops including a teppanyaki plate.

“A separate scullery is fabulous, especially in open-plan kitchens, and a walk-in cool room,” Sue says. “Also a fabulous zip tap that supplies both hot and cold water, but also aerated water. And of course, a water filter is a must.”

Melanie deMelt from Town and Country Designs says Art Deco style is also a strong trend.

“Hamptons-style kitchens have been very popular and still currently trending. But Art Deco is another design style that clients are starting to ask for and now there are new Art Deco products available such as taps, handles, basins, glass doors with lead lighting, decor mouldings and pendant lighting, giving design process flexibility,” she says.

Melanie says products with an organic feel are also big news and timbers, marbles and reconstituted marble look-alike products are popular for benchtops and splashbacks.

People looking to add some wow factor to their design should consider interesting lighting. “Decorative lighting as well as down and up lighting in the ceiling, open shelves, glass cupboards and on to the bench surface play such an important role in the look and ambience of your kitchen,” she says.

“Pendant lighting options can really change the look of a kitchen as well as decor items that are on trend such as metal stools in an assortment of bright colours and these can be changed frequently when the time is right.”

Melanie says it is important not to skimp on the quality of materials used, otherwise an upgrade will be required sooner than anticipated.