Expert design tips to reinvent your kitchen: ‘Dear Santa, I’d like a new kitchen please’

If the thought of cooking this Christmas has got you adding ‘new kitchen’ to your ‘Dear Santa’ letter, then Robert Burnett, head of design at Holloways of Ludlow Cabinet Makers, is here to help. He may not have a red Santa suit, but Holloways has just won Kitchen Design of the Year at the recent K&B Awards, and Robert has some top tips on what to think about when embarking on a new kitchen project. Consider these points and you’ll end up with a kitchen that even Nigella would coo over…

Consider the kitchen design first within a renovation project. Expanding existing kitchen spaces through extensions and side returns remains popular, resulting in larger and lighter kitchens that often connect with the garden. But you should start the kitchen design process early, before any building work starts, so the designer still has the flexibility to make alterations to the space if required.

Choose the most effective storage. To ensure kitchen surfaces remain clear this should be a priority. Think about walk-in larder cupboards with lots of easily accessible shelves, tambour units for keeping blenders and mixers hidden away, and a permanently connected toaster on a pull-out shelf so it can be pushed away after use. If you have the space, two integrated dishwashers in a kitchen ensures that dirty crockery always has a home – even if one dishwasher is full or running.

Mix contemporary and traditional design. For open-plan spaces, thin worktop materials such as Corian, steel or stone will help create a streamlined look in your kitchen and you can get as imaginative as you like with veneers and lacquers for cabinets. If you want to follow the trend, classic, hand-painted, ‘in-frame’ kitchens appear to be making a comeback in many urban period properties.

Include a ‘working kitchen’ space. For a completely clutter-free look, a specific area for food preparation and clearing up, which can be easily closed off from view, is a bonus; perhaps even with the use of sliding doors. Space permitting, the 'working kitchen' may even include the installation of a fully functional second oven, so you can preserve the appearance of the ‘main’ kitchen when you're entertaining.

Review prep areas. It’s important for designers to create lots of clear uncluttered worktop space for the main preparation area of a kitchen. For example, we always consider having a clear place in which to place a chopping board – these are best kept in a drawer close to the sink, beneath the worktop so they can be pulled out when required.

It’s also useful to have vital ingredients, blender, mixers and smaller accessories, such as knives, close to hand. Having at least one sink to wash fruit, vegetables and other ingredients is also a consideration when planning the preparation areas in a new kitchen design.

The main preparation space should be near to the central cooking area since food usually moves from the preparation space to the oven or hob, and often back again.

Opt for the best appliances. Steam ovens are becoming increasingly popular and are regularly installed with a standard built-in oven. Boiling water taps are becoming more and more ubiquitous, reducing the need for a kettle on a work-surface.

Light the way. It’s important to get good task lighting on kitchen preparation surfaces. Under cabinet lighting or lighting beneath shelving is usually the best way to achieve this. LED spotlights are an ideal choice as they can offer up to 30,000hrs of light from a bulb. Pendant lighting can look great over an island or peninsula, and helps to bring the lighting closer to the worktop.

For great furniture, lighting and kitchenwares, shop at ACHICA 

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor