I started my career with Smith and Smith Kitchens of Camberwell thirty years ago- I can hardly believe it! Kitchens were very straightforward in those days… there were none of the choices we have today. And the industry then was male-dominated; lady kitchen designers were very few and far between, and often not taken seriously. Now women far outweigh men in the design field. It’s wonderful to have been part of such a sweeping change.
We have had a love affair with white kitchens for a long time, but the mirror- gloss highly contemporary look is now giving way to a softer shaker style- also known as “Hamptons.” This style especially suits our wonderful Mornington Peninsula vibe… fresh, breezy and beachy. One of the latest trends is black sinks- and taps- a refreshing alternative to stainless steel, which scratches and dulls over time. Teamed with a black hotplate and perhaps a couple of oversize black pendant lights over an island bench, it’s a great look. Butler’s Pantries are very popular, if you have the space. In fact, more and more we find ourselves installing TWO kitchens; one in the front that looks beautiful and pristine, and another one at the back, where all the grunt work is done! Sensor controlled electronic opening for doors and drawers is becoming popular, along with IT-savvy fridges…expensive now, but the prices will come down as consumer numbers grow. Islands are becoming bigger, quite often with not only a sink but also the hotplate, teamed either with a canopy or a downdraught, invisibly pulling cooking odours down through the floorspace and expelling them to the atmosphere.
I can’t stress this enough- It’s all in the design. For instance, the advantage of task areas spread out and not concentrated into one corner. General ergonomics … microwaves at the correct height… ample landing space beside the fridge and oven. Adherence to Gas and Fuel regulations… the correct ducting of rangehoods. The list is endless, and the trouble is, you don’t get a second shot at renovating a kitchen. You only do it once, and you need to do it right. Design mistakes can’t be fixed retrospectively; you are stuck with them, and sadly those mistakes are often easily avoided. This is where professional design is so important, and can save thousands of dollars- and much heartache.
So exciting! Pyrolytic ovens which really do clean themselves (bliss!). Many people these days are installing two ovens, side by side. Induction hotplates cook so quickly and remain cool to the touch… easy to clean too. Steam ovens are popular, and it’s such a healthy and nutritious way to cook. Refrigerated wine cooler cabinets are in demand, also Zip taps, allowing access to instant boiling or chilled water. “Cool Drawer” technology has been around for a while and fridges can now be situated in pull out, fully integrated drawers.
Do your homework, firstly on the internet, then in person. Go and look at appliance retailers and don’t be hurried by well- meaning but over enthusiastic salespeople. Visit kitchen showrooms and talk to their consultants. Log onto Houzz or a similar website for inspiration, and if you can find an illustration of just what you’re looking for, print it out. Make a scrap book of all the interesting things that really float your boat. Consider materials and finishes. Laminate or two pack polyurethane painted doors? Glossy or matt? Stone benchtops ...or Corian… or Concrete? Or any of the other options Finally, think very seriously about your budget. It’s a major investment; whatever you spend on the new kitchen, you can double it and add that sum to the value of your house. Don’t skimp- you will always regret it. It’s better to wait a year and save up a bit more of the folding stuff so that you can do it properly. And once you’ve decided what you want, don’t compromise, just go for it!