Once upon a time a kitchen was simply the room in which food was prepared and cooked. Those days are long gone: these days the kitchen is arguably the hardest working room in a home. It's a multi-functional gathering and entertaining space where families prepare and share food and drink, work, supervise homework and much more.
According to Sonia Simpfendorfer, director of Nexus Designs in Melbourne, creating a kitchen you love is about flair, not fashion.
Once upon a time a kitchen was simply the room in which food was prepared and cooked. Those days are long gone: these days the kitchen is arguably the hardest working room in a home. It’s a multi-functional gathering and entertaining space where families and friends prepare and share food and drink, work, catch up on emails, supervise homework and much more.
We’re asking our kitchens to work harder than ever before – and wanting them to look good too. Sonia Simpfendorfer, director of Nexus Designs in Melbourne, believes the secret of a hardworking, good looking kitchen is in the detail. “The kitchen is still the hub and heart of the home,” she says. “It’s a place to nourish the body and the mind at the same time. Creating a great kitchen is about finding something that you really love rather than comparing yourself to everybody else and what they have. Don’t do something just because it’s fashionable – fashion doesn’t last.”
Simpfendorfer says her clients are moving away from the classic look of reconstituted stone and white cupboards and are looking for ways to stamp their individuality on the kitchen space. “People are looking for more surprises and interest now. We’re introducing much more colour and texture these days and we’re creating features like fully tiled walls which bring real warmth to a kitchen.”
She says colour can bring joy to a space and suggests choosing a coloured finish for the interior carcasses of one or two cupboards. “We have a client whose crockery cupboard is painted a beautiful blue-green colour inside. It offsets the china beautifully and makes her feel happy every time she opens the cupboard. It’s a small detail and not extravagant but it really looks stunning.”
People must always be put at the heart of a kitchen – without compromising on functionality. Simpfendorfer believes that the key functions of the kitchen – food preparation, cooking, refrigeration and dishwashing – should be forward facing wherever possible. She sees it as a trend that has filtered down from commercial kitchens that has been made popular by TV cooking programmes.
Simpfendorfer achieves a forward-facing kitchen by designing an island bench that is almost a complete kitchen in itself. “We eliminate the cook top on the back wall. It’s very isolating to turn your back on everyone when you are in the kitchen. This idea depends on having a good-sized bench. It might look like a table but it works beautifully,” she explains. “The joinery that forms the backdrop to the bench can then have a different finish so that it effectively disappears.”
The appliances, as much as the design and style of the kitchen, can now reflect the personality of their owners. Do you have a taste for teppanyaki? Then check out the new 90cm freestanding oven from ILVE; it comes with a generous oven, a dual fuel cook top (four gas burners plus a two zone induction hub) and a teppanyaki hotplate that sits over the induction zones. If pizza is more your style, then take a look at ILVE’s new built-in pizza oven which, in pizza mode, produces 400 degree heat to oven cook perfect pizza in under three minutes.
The classic cooks amongst us are just as spoilt for choice. The Glem induction hob 60, for example, uses the latest induction cooking technology. Induction creates a magnetic field between the cook top and the pan to transfer heat directly to the base of the pan so the cookware effectively becomes the heating element. This hob is a particularly safe and energy smart choice; when the pan is removed from the cook top, the cooking zone automatically turns off.
Conserving energy and water remain a high priority in most homes. Choosing appliances wisely and installing LED lighting are obvious ways to help achieve this but there is much more a renovator can do. For example, look beyond the usual choices when selecting materials and finishes. Bamboo flooring, which is sustainable, highly durable, allergy-free, and repels termites and moisture, is gaining interest in kitchen areas. For joinery, PaperStone – recycled wastepaper bonded with non-toxic laminates, aluminium, glass and wood veneers – is a pioneering development.
Sonia Simpfendorfer is committed to sustainability and encourages clients to reuse or find good homes for things whenever possible. When choosing new, she counsels following your heart: “Avoid trends. Just be honest and think through what you really need. It’s better to buy something good and avoid creating landfill. If you create a kitchen that is personal, that you really love, then you’re much less likely to become tired of it.”
This article by Persephone Nicholas featured in the Issue 002 issue of Renovate Magazine - Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
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