Rumour has it that the famous French architect Le Corbusier asked to live with his clients for a week before he designed their home. Where the family members gathered, how much time they spent in common areas and how they ate their meals – all influenced his design.
The words ‘kitchen design’ and lifestyle are thrown together a lot. And while lifestyle is the cornerstone around which a kitchen should be built, it takes a lot of thinking and planning to design one that’s a perfect fit. Here are 3 areas to focus on.
The setting or orientation
Before you set out to buy a new kitchen think about its connection to your lifestyle. Here are some questions to ask:
- How much time do you spend in the kitchen?
- Do the children spend time in the kitchen while you are cooking/cleaning?
- What does the kitchen overlook?
- Is the current kitchen closed off and you’d really like an open plan kitchen so you can interact with the rest of the family?
Why is this important? Every family uses spaces differently. Work out what your life centres around and where the kitchen fits into the scheme of things. For instance:
- We’ve seen that parents who have toddlers and pre-schoolers love having a kitchen that overlooks the backyard. Why? Because it is easier to keep an eye on the little ones while cooking. If you can add in large glass sliding doors between the kitchen/dining area and the deck – that’s the perfect layout to entertain large groups as well.
- For families with older children, chances are that the informal living area with the big TV is the way to go. Orient the kitchen in a way that you can join the conversation, watch the show and not be isolated.
- Are you a keen kitchen gardener, growing fresh herbs and veggies? Is it possible to give the kitchen easy access to garden beds – for you to see and smell what’s ready to be picked for tonight’s dinner.
A good kitchen design incorporates what’s emotionally important to family members. Keeps them connected. Provides easy flow. Creates a happy space.
The kitchen layout
Orientation sorted, now the layout.
- Do you want to watch TV as you do the dishes? If yes, then the sink needs to be on the kitchen island.
- Prefer to watch TV as you stir the pot? Opt for a U-shaped kitchen which will give you more options to position the cooktop.
- Do you entertain a lot? A large island benchtop (with no sink or cooktop to clutter it) is a great idea. It’s the perfect place to lay out a buffet, for friends to perch on and have a drink while you cook.
- Is there an aspect of the backyard or garden that you love? The big Jacaranda? Or a newly installed water feature? Have your dining area face it – that way whether you are enjoying a family meal or a solitary cup of tea, you’ve got a view you love.
Choosing kitchen components: Getting scale right
With the two major decisions out of the way, you can now concentrate on what you would ideally like in your new kitchen. Some decisions driven by your lifestyle:
- Are you a serious, gourmet cook? Get the best cooking and baking appliances your budget will allow. The new generation extra-wide freestanding and integrated cooktops will give you several configuration options – standard burners with grills, simmer plates and wok burners. Go for the dual oven combo so you can have savoury and sweet baking at the same time. Health conscious? A steam oven – bit pricey – but can be an asset.
- Serious cooks also need a big, well organised pantry, so make sure your kitchen designer has sketched one in.
- Do you use a wide array of small electrical gadgets – blenders, juicers, toasters etc. Have a dedicated storage area for them. Our designers at Zesta Kitchens have designed perfect appliance storage options for many customers.
- Are you a large family? Your kitchen will comprise large pots, skillets and platters. Ensure you have a sink that can hold it all.
A lot of this may seem like minor detail, but will matter when you start to use the kitchen. If everything is scaled appropriately, the kitchen operates efficiently and is a joy to work in.
You might have special circumstances not covered in this post. Talk to your kitchen designer who will incorporate any special needs. For instance, if wheelchair access is needed in the kitchen, you may need to allow for wider aisles.
We’ve been designing kitchens for over 50 years. The best kitchens are ones where the planning has been meticulous. It’s something our designers have extensive experience with. They will ensure that the big aspects of your lifestyle are built into the design in a practical way. If you are considering a new kitchen in 2018, walk into one of our kitchen showrooms to book an appointment or give us a call.