Adding a Chic and Functional Touch to the Home Chef’s Kitchen
The proliferation of cookery programmes on television in recent years has created a burgeoning caste of would-be master chefs.
Some of us, of course, would still probably be more comfortable preparing a simple dish of scrambled eggs or resigning ourselves to toasted cheese and ham sandwiches for dinner, but many others have a genuine flair and admirable passion for haute cuisine.
So, for them, the next step after absorbing the ubiquitous celebrity TV chefs’ tips, and reading all their cookery books bulging on the shelves and overflowing on the coffee table, is to splash out on a kitchen upgrade. Maybe even an entirely new kitchen if the home budget allows it. For a useful starting point, we checked out some of the cool trends at London-based deVol Kitchens (devolkitchens.co.uk), who also offered five tips for planning a new kitchen, which are just as relevant in Spain as in the UK.
1. Timing is key. It’s important to be patient and make sure you have planning permission before approaching a designer. Things can change and it’s frustrating to come up with a layout only to discover it’s not possible.
2. See the furniture first-hand before choosing your preferred kitchen company; you really need to love the furniture to love your kitchen in the end.
3. Listen to the expert. Don’t be tempted to try and design everything yourself unless you have experience; work with your designer and take their suggestions on board.
4. Forget about how your kitchen is currently, as this can hinder your chances of having something different or better. Just because it works for you now doesn’t mean it’s the best layout.
5. Have an idea of your budget and let the designer know this; if they are a reputable company they will not use this to encourage you to spend more – they will use it to ensure their plans are suitable for you. Kitchens can be beautiful with large or small budgets, and the same room can be workable on different budgets too.
Helen Parker, deVol’s creative director, also advises clients to “mix it up” when choosing a range or style. “Think about the style of your property and try to incorporate this into your choice of kitchen supplier and the design. This doesn’t mean if it’s a modern house have a modern kitchen because mixing old and new works. What it means is be sympathetic to your house and its style. I love old houses with incredibly simple modern kitchens. I also love stark simple buildings with a few select, even ornate, vintage pieces.”
Not all of us have the luxury of preparing our favourite gourmet dishes in a spacious kitchen (or “supervising” as our more accomplished cooking companions weave their culinary magic), especially if we live in an apartment, so for some more guidance we referred to The Station Design Studio (www.thestationashby.co.uk).
First they recommend focusing on multi-use appliances. “Who needs a separate oven, grill and microwave when you can purchase appliances that do all this and more in one compact space! Multi-use appliances are the way forward when it comes to freeing up space in your kitchen.“ Another top tip is decanting ingredients and products into attractive jars, particularly ones that can be stacked on top of each other; while “every nook, cranny and crevice can be filled with handy storage in small kitchens, and what looks like a panel can be pulled out to reveal a long stretch of shelving or hooks that you can keep your tools of the trade in”.
The Station stresses that plenty of light is an important feature of small kitchens. “Light, bright and airy colour palettes, shiny, reflective metal and even spotlights can help give the illusion of more space. This small decorating trick can really make a difference.”
Shelves can also be our friends when it comes to small kitchens. “Place spices, jars or utensils high above workspaces on shelving to create the illusion of room in your kitchen.”
And finally… don’t cut corners. “Just like shelving, corners can be utilised for handy storage spaces. There are lots of places you can be corner shelving now, so don’t let that room go to waste, particularly if your kitchen is an odd shape.”
With all these ideas taken on board, it’s time to check out the actual kitchen options, and to that end (apart from the deVol models featured here) we headed to Fuorisalone 2005, where Italian kitchen manufacturer Cesar (www.cesar.it) presented its innovative Maxima 2.2 project.
For Cesar, the keywords for a “new aesthetic and emotional trend” in kitchens are textured materials, warmth, conviviality, authentic materials and products; and the Maxima 2.2 interprets this mood: “a streamlined, minimalist kitchen that also focuses on the most authentic conviviality”.
The distinctive 2.2-centimetre thick door can be made of various materials and is available in over 80 finishes or in a special original version with an aluminium frame and a ceramic or glass panel. The various shaped edges are used to open the doors and enhance the kitchen’s clean-cut design; and an aluminium frame is textured into the wood options, which range from natural or lacquered oak to walnut and teak.