Anyone thinking of a new kitchen renovation needs to consider the importance of design. We interviewed Andreas Theodorou, (Kitchen Designer Cheltenham showroom), who has been designing kitchens for over 14 years to pick his brain for tips on the kitchen design process.
Where do you start in designing a new kitchen?
I commence with asking the customer a series of questions to ascertain their needs. For example, “why are they renovating their kitchen”, “what do they like and dislike in their existing kitchen” etc. They might say they don’t have enough storage, don’t like the benchtops, cupboards are old and falling apart. The initial discussion is all about solutions for their new kitchen this is critical to listen and identify their needs.
The next important stage – “what is your budget”. Throughout the design process this is top of mind so the design can match the budget. I find this is often the hardest question for the customers to answer, however it is important to meet their expectations. No use in designing a state of the art, luxury, expensive kitchen if it is a rental property and not their main daily place of residence. The kitchen purchase is a long term benefit so the budget needs to reflect this.
What is important for customers in kitchens?
Definitely quality and design. A kitchen is one of the most important decisions for any homeowner. It is the heart of the home and where a lot of time is spent – critical to get it right. The quality of the components need to stand up to rigorous daily workouts and the quality needs to last for the test of time. The design on the other hand needs to be right for the family needs. The kitchen will be in the home for 10 years or more and the design needs to reflect the needs now and in the future as the family grows. I couldn’t design kitchens if I didn’t believe in the quality of the products I was recommending.
What is the most difficult aspect to design in a kitchen?
Working around tight, small spaces can prove tricky to design. I thrive on this challenge and often produce a kitchen design that is more efficient, you can create some very clever designs in small spaces.
The new age kitchen appliances are state of the art, what advice would you give to a customer that loves cooking?
Induction cooktops are becoming more and more popular however the customer needs to consider the additional cost involved with induction. I am still partial to the IAG built in “pizza style” ovens where you can cook up a storm for family and friends celebrations.
Do you feel there is a trend to bring back the family table into the kitchen?
For some time now island benches with stools surrounding have been a trend and will continue in the future. However, due to the busy lifestyles of families the family meal time has become a time where you can catch up and touch base and is becoming increasingly important. This needs to be identified and incorporated into the design of kitchens so the family table is placed close proximity to the kitchen for ease of meal times.
What has been the best part of your job?
Helping customers achieve their needs and watching the transformation from a non functioning space to a kitchen that works for them. I remember one job that insisted on a workspace in the kitchen area where their kids could do their homework on the computer while the parent was cooking, it worked really well. The client could then oversee their child’s computer use along with cooking the family meal. Really my job is like an architect and one that can change people’s lives for the better – this gives me a buzz!
Lastly, any tips?
Research and design. This is a high involvement, long term benefit for the whole family so it is important to research designs, materials and companies who supply good quality that will last. Research prices and you will find they vary extensively – you don’t want to look back in 5 years and say “I wish I had more storage” or “the kitchen flow just doesn’t work”. The design by a reputable, experienced designer backed by quality materials is the key to your perfect kitchen.