For many families, the kitchen is the one space in the house that brings everyone together at least once a day.
This is where the magic happens as the family gathers together for the evening meal. Everyone can check in about how their day went, and problems can be discussed and resolved.
My point is to emphasize the importance of the kitchen to a happy well-functioning family, even when that family is just one person. And their cat!
As kitchens have evolved over the years functionality and ease of access have been essential as well as combining practical use with great and long-lasting style.
It’s up to a kitchen interior designer to imagine the kitchen that best matches your family’s needs and then make that design, a reality.
When I bought my first home, the kitchen was a boring, almost square room which combined as a laundry and dining room.
The back wall had windows looking out to the backyard and a stainless-steel bench than ran between the oven on the far left, and an old wringer washing machine on the right. Cupboards in a horrible mustard color dominated the room. They were placed under the bench and down one entire wall. The entire floor was carpeted
The washing machine was soon replaced, but I left the rest of the changes until I was married, and our first child was about to arrive. At that point, we needed to decide to move to a bigger home or add a room to our current home.
We chose to do the latter and this required us to completely change the kitchen and incorporate some modern kitchen design trends.
Our lounge at the front of the house became the main bedroom, meaning we needed a new lounge/living room at the back of the house. As we were starting a family, a washing machine within the kitchen was no longer suitable, so a separate laundry was also required.
We extended the house out into the backyard from the kitchen. The former kitchen area became a narrow hallway and a separate laundry room. Backing onto the laundry, we installed a large walk-in pantry, and the refrigerator. Space was left above the pantry for placing decorative items like plants and porcelain jugs or bowls.
Next to the pantry on that side wall was the oven and the start of the kitchen bench with a dishwashing machine underneath. This was about the point where the former back wall had been situated. The kitchen bench was a muted green Formica and it curved around to face our new living room, then continued in an almost U-shaped arrangement.
In the center of the bench facing into the living room was the kitchen sink with food disposal. A breakfast bar rose above the kitchen bench with stools placed on the other side, allowing family members to move from the new living room and sit on the stools facing the kitchen at breakfast time.
To the left of the kitchen bench were double doors leading to a conservatory deck where we had our dining table, and beyond that, steps leading down to the backyard.
This new kitchen completely transformed our daily lifestyle even before the children arrived.
We no longer felt our kitchen was a box.
A separate laundry was far more functional because we no longer needed to bring clothing in and out of our food preparation area. The carpet was replaced with a neutral-colored linoleum which is much easier to clean when there are kitchen spills.
With our living room having an open flow into the kitchen, entertaining became much easier as we no longer had to bring food from the kitchen at the back of the house, through two doorways to the lounge at the front of the house.
Of course, new appliances always help, particularly the food disposal saving the time and mess of dealing with food scraps, and the dishwasher also saves us time and energy. One tip for an open flow living area/kitchen like this is to try to get a dishwasher that is as quiet as possible, so it does not interfere with conversation and television volumes in the living room.
Kitchen design trends are constantly evolving.
Nowadays, if your space and budget allow, you might include some of these current trends:
- Double islands – one for preparing food and the other for your guests to graze and be entertained and feel part of the food preparation
- Outdoor kitchen – the backyard bar-b-que is now becoming a second kitchen, including cupboards to store the tools, cutlery, dishes, bowls, etc.
- 1950s style – the colors and style of the 50s is making a popular return
- Green marble – marble kitchen benches have always expressed class, style, and beauty, but have largely come in white. This deep green color makes a striking difference
- Seamless backsplashes and countertops – instead of using two materials and colors, just the one instead is more attractive to the eye
- Kitchen jewelry – having all your cupboard doors and handles in gold or gleaming brass gives your kitchen that extra ‘bling’.