Designing a kitchen

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INSPIRATION FOR DESIGNING A KITCHEN

Inspiration for designing a kitchen can come from anywhere – your favourite landscape painting, tiles from your local swimming pool, the smell of your local coffee house, the cover of a book…. The list goes on! You don’t need to limit yourself to ONLY looking at Pinterest or interior magazines (although these are also handy tools!)

We recently had a client who was inspired by a scene in a film that had quirky colours in a 70’s style kitchen, so we studied the scene and broke it down into individual elements. Once these elements or ‘design phonemes’ have been identified, we then use these as building blocks to create a ‘design language’ for an individual space. Whether that’s using a similar quirky contrasting colour scheme, the in-frame style of cabinets or of course the bold and colourful classic 70’s style coloured glass accessories and patterned tiles. It’s all about setting the stage, then introducing a few of these smaller, really considered details to really make a space sing.

Studying images you are drawn to and breaking them down into individual elements is a great starting point to get your kitchen design journey started, and a great way to push the boundaries beyond what is currently in fashion and just creating replica kitchens of others that you’ve seen. The kitchen is often the space we spend most of our time at home, so why not make it really personal and special? We love designing spaces that are truly bespoke to our clients – so what do you want your kitchen to say about you?!

CREATING A MOODBOARD

It’s always important to buy a tester pot of paint to try out in the space if it’s a colour you’ve not used before. Paint dyes and pigments can look different in different lighting and times of day, so it’s a worthwhile exercise to leave a painted sample up for a few days to check you really love it before diving straight in. Setting this alongside any other textures in the space (flooring, hardware, worktops and tiles) will really help you to visualise what the final space will feel like. There is an overwhelming amount of combinations out there, so limit yourself to a maximum of 3 or 4 options of each to make things a little easier, and to avoid decision lethargy!

ROOM DIMENSIONS

If you are having building works done, you’ve probably already got a plan drawn up by an architect – send this over to us in a PDF or DWG format and we are good to go! 

If you don’t have a room plan already, you may need to measure the space yourself. Just draw a rough outline of the room and annotate the length of each wall, any nibs and unusual details. Don’t forget to measure door and window positions, as well as the ceiling height. It’s also helpful for us to see any pictures of the existing room to see the bones of the house and to get a feel of the space and natural lighting.

Before building any furniture we will, of course, come and conduct a site measure to ensure that our cabinets will fit perfectly – so don’t worry too much about being millimetre accurate for your initial rough measurements.

THE DESIGN PROCESS VISION, ERGONOMICS AND USE OF SPACE

How do you want to use the space? Sometimes, the desire for a new kitchen is driven by a vision for a new flow or feel for the space. Or perhaps the most important thing for you is forming a flexible space with a more open and sociable feel. Maybe you’ve always dreamt of having an island where you can picture friends sitting and sipping on a mug of coffee, where you can also have plenty of space for food prep and a space for the kids to sit and do their homework. Perhaps your vision is to create a kitchen that can withstand the wear and tear of daily family life, and can seamlessly transition to be a great focal point when entertaining friends. 

It’s important to identify any key features that you simply can’t live without, so that we can prioritise these when putting your design together. We’ve designed lots of unique kitchens over the years – extra tall cabinets for taller families or those with bad backs,  shorter cabinets to improve accessibility for wheelchair users, additional washing and cooking stations for Jewish families, and the list goes on.

Thinking about what frustrates you about your current kitchen is also a useful activity – you have the chance to start a fresh and remove the things that bug you, so that you can enjoy spending time cooking, spending time with loved ones and focus on what’s really important.

THE DETAILS

It’s good to start thinking about the smaller details early on, but I would suggest getting the overall layout nailed down first is a little easier to avoid feeling overwhelmed with your decision making. We can create bespoke inserts for your kitchen such as spice racks, cutlery trays, wine racks, plate racks and anything you can think of really!

Fenix Kitchen Bristol - Shade Castor Ottawa with oak details and freestanding island

 

THE LAYOUT

Sometimes the layout we want, and the space we have don’t always align, so it’s important to keep open minded about things. Your designer will work through different layout options with you – even seeing what does not work is useful so that you can mentally discount it and move on to a more refined option. The process of designing is just as important as the end result, so you can feel like you’ve made the best choice out of all available options. 

It’s important to think about what you will be looking at whilst at the sink or hob, and equally, what you will have your back turned to. Is there a lovely view of the garden that you want to make the most of? Or perhaps, you want your main focus to be facing the breakfast bar to create a more sociable feel

We are here to advise and draw upon our experience but at the end of the day, you know best how you want your kitchen to be used. Sometimes it’s necessary to throw the ‘rule book’ out the window and forget about ‘working triangles’ and symmetry.

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