Heart of the Home
Kitchens are often referred to as the heart of a home and arguably are the most important room in a house. Over the years kitchens have evolved from being a separate room to an open plan arrangement, where they are usually combined with dining and living areas. As a Registered Architect specialising in residential design, Antony Svilicich prefers to design kitchens that are accessible to and have a view to outdoor living areas. Kitchens are not just a space used for food storage and cooking, but are the focal point of a home where daily life is embraced.
Needs to Look Good and Function Well
A kitchen should not only look amazing, it needs to be functional as well. An attractive and well designed kitchen will not only make a cook’s life a lot easier and pleasurable, but it will also considerably add resale value to a home. There are numerous possible design layouts that Antony will be able to advise you on. Ultimately, a well designed kitchen should give you enough room to move but be compact enough to allow easy reach between different activities. A kitchen should be practical and ergonomic and shouldn’t be designed to be a thoroughfare.
Bench space is very important and there needs to be a generous length between the sink and the cooktop as this is the most convenient space for food preparation. If possible allow at least 750mm either side of your cooktop. It’s important not to clutter your bench space. In larger homes or where space permits, a scullery is an alternative where food preparation and storage can take place out of sight. The advantage of a scullery is that the food preparation and subsequent mess is concealed from public view. Appliances such as toasters and food processors can also be stored out of sight. Storage for food, possibly a second fridge, extra sink and additional bench space can also be accommodated in a scullery as well.
With benchtops it’s important to choose a material that is durable but looks great too. Although marble can look fantastic, it should be avoided as it is porous and can absorb stains and needs constant maintenance. If you want to achieve an industrial type look then stainless steel can be a good option but be aware that it can scratch easily. Granite and engineered stone look great and are durable and harder wearing. Granite is a natural material so colours and veins can vary quite a bit, whereas engineered stone is man made and has a consistent colour. Antony will be able to advise you on the best material options for your project.
With regard to storage, drawers are a more efficient use of space and are easier to use than cupboards with shelves. Pull out pantries and pull out corner solutions are also a very efficient use of space in a kitchen. It should be noted that drawers are a more expensive option than cupboards with shelves. If the budget permits then drawers with soft closing mechanisms are the ideal solution. Multi-bin sorter pull out bins are a great idea where rubbish can be separated for recycling straight away. They come in a variety of designs and sizes. However, if room permits and something larger is required, then maybe adding a full-length pull out bin is the way to go. Ideally they should be located under or near sinks.
When choosing appliances for your new kitchen make sure they are good quality. You don’t have to choose the most expensive appliances, but choose appliances that are well known brands that are good value for money. With ovens remember that a built-in wall oven reduces the amount of bench space in a kitchen. If space is at a premium then a built-in all in one oven and hot plate or an all in one freestanding cooker on legs frees up bench space and creates an illusion of space. People are starting to use different cooking methods in the kitchen and if space is not an issue then another popular idea is to bank ovens together. For example a conventional electric oven could be paired with a steam oven as well as a microwave oven. Dishwashers should be located near sinks to allow easy loading. This also saves money as it concentrates plumbing in the same location.