WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
If you could change anything in your home, what would it be? For me, it would be my kitchen, and I recently had the opportunity to design my ultimate dream kitchen, whilst also learning some fundamentals about kitchen design.
Our family kitchen is absolutely the heart of my home. It's the room my family congregate in, the meeting room of the house; chatting, cooking, laughing and living. So of course, it has to have the perfect combination of functionality, warmth, practicality and it needs to be welcoming to everyone that comes to our home. To make it welcoming, there are three things that I must have; a display tea towel, a gorgeous smelling candle and always, always fresh flowers. So when planning my dream kitchen with Laminex, I took them my short list of must-haves and let loose!
Influenced by the latest design trends from around the globe, Laminex has recently launched twelve individual interior looks - without a doubt my style is Classic. The Classic look to me is quite calm - it has a beautiful neutral base palette and timeless feel. The tones are all soft whites and creams, while the use of marble, tiles and wood adds texture. I don't stray too far from white and stone, because starting with a neutral palette allows me to add in my personal details later on, as well an enables fun and madness to be added in with the change in seasons. The Classic style is loved by many because it stays true to the core of design; if you love architectural detail and a warm and inviting palette of soft furnishings, then this will draw you in like no other.
I recently collaborated with Laminex for a special project, which involved building a digital version of my dream kitchen. From choosing the finishes to my 2 Pac cabinetry to the stone bench tops, I was guided by a fantastic team who listened and guided me through the design process. Now I am pretty experienced when it comes to creating and decorating spaces, especially kitchens, but the advice and suggestions offered to me by the Laminex design team pushed our kitchen design beyond my expectations. They took my simple ideas to another level while keeping the look, style and feel intrinsically my own. In the interactive layout, I was fortunate enough to be able to add my own touches like a bowl of lemons and a collection of herbs that reflected my style and gave me more of an idea of what the space would look like when lived in.
When designing a new space, work out what's important for you so that everything can be put into place at the planning stage. What bench height works for you? What kind of storage do you need? Drawers or cupboards? If you are after glass windows on your cupboards, do you have a collection of items that look beautiful as well as being easy to display? Make sure the everyday things are close at hand and the items that are not necessarily the prettiest but essential (like plastic containers, drink bottles, lunch boxes etc.) are easily accessed in drawers.
For me, I love the simplicity of clean lines, an open bench space and the ability to have lots of storage so I can display my collections.
Eight classic tips when planning you kitchen::
Everyday use items need consideration. Do you want your kettle, toaster and mixer on display or hidden behind doors? If you are going to use them in the same spot they live, can the doors retract back to give you ample prep space? Keeping them out of sight makes for a tidier kitchen.
Having enough bench space is critical. If you love cooking, it's important to have plenty of space available to spread out. Try and keep this as clutter free as possible. Including an island bench in your kitchen design allows you that bit of extra space for preparing food.
I love to have my everyday items that I use in the kitchen like oil, salt and fresh herbs all close by too. A kitchen has to be practical, but it must be beautiful too. Pots of fresh herbs and bowls of lemons achieve this and add colour.
Make space to display your collections. I like to have stacks of my display wooden boards shown on my bench as I think they give a lived in feeling to the kitchen. This can also be done with pots of cooking utensils on display or a collection of all white jugs to add interest. Whenever I add something new to my kitchen, I stand back to see if it will work or not. Don't feel that once something has been put there it needs to stay.
A spacious pantry is also valuable to have, and it's tricky to get right. This is an area that needs great planning! Make sure you have enough shelves at the right high for you to put jars of flour, sugar etc. You need height for boxes of cereal and pasta but also enough shelving to accommodate practical things like light bulbs. Work out where and how it will all fit and buy the appropriate containers so it looks gorgeous from the start.
Your dishwasher, sink and bin all should be close together, so when stacking the dishwasher you can scrape into the bin and rinse all without having to move. This kind of thinking helps in the long run as it is something you do every day.
The storage of your cleaning goods should be in arms reach of your sink. They need to be easy to get at along with garbage bags and glad wrap. If you need to section drawers or cupboards off for this then do so - this is all about making things easier for you from the start.
Remember to keep a log of all paint colours, finishes and other materials used so that if you need to touch up or fix a problem in the kitchen all the information is together. I include this in the manuals for my oven, microwave and other electrical goods so that it's easy to find.