A bespoke kitchen for a bespoke property

February 2016
We recently delivered a design presentation for a bespoke kitchen destined for the substantial redevelopment project we are working on in Barnes.
We have an extensive history of designing bespoke and custom kitchens to compliment our interior schemes. Nowadays the kitchen is the hub of most properties and we always strive to create functional and beautiful joinery to reflect the needs of the families who use it and compliment the character of the house.
A family-friendly feature we often try to incorporate is a banquette with dining table like this. It allows for flexibility in numbers and sometimes additional storage under the seats. When you have a table that is required to sit upwards of 8 people a forest of dining chair legs can be too much for the eye – however beautiful they are! We love the challenge of coming up with new ideas for functional ways to make using the kitchen ever more efficient while ensuring a fun and enjoyable design aesthetic.
We thought we’d include some key points and considerations we address early on in the design process to ultimately ensure a happy and functional kitchen:
The golden rule of the magic working triangle between sink, fridge and oven – it’s there for a reason and when possible should be the main practical consideration for any design.
Space vs Storage:
How much storage space and work space does one realistically require? (Probably a lot more than you would think). It’s key to find the right balance between these two based on how the kitchen will be used then make allowances early on. The space vs storage ratio will help determine the options available when planning the rest of the kitchen elements.
Designers know the cliché of how lighting can make or break a room and this is ever important in kitchens where a real variety of tasks are undertaken. Again, it’s all about determining how the kitchen will be used and striking a balance; a balance between task lighting, ambient lighting and mood/feature lighting. The choice of lighting needs to be layered together in a complimentary way to keep a coherent feel and tie the scheme together. In recent years Robinson van Noort have tried to move away from the ‘shot gun’ LV lighting in ceilings, preferring mood and ambient light in most areas. Keeping ceiling light to a minimum only used to highlight architectural details. However, in a kitchen you need a good level of overall general lighting. No one wants to be using sharp knives in a badly lit space! LV lighting is almost always used in combination with pendant lights above work surfaces and under wall cabinets. This requires some planning regarding circuits. What comes on when, and on which circuit, dimming ability etc. It’s often the most complicated area and well worth spending time on.
Choosing materials is a highly important aspect of kitchen design. As designers we need to consider durability, tactility, strength, thermal and liquid resistance and ease of cleaning – not just colour and texture. Such factors are crucial to influencing our choices types of floors, work surfaces, cabinets, drawers and units. Together these well informed choices provide safety, high performance, longevity and confidence in using for our clients. For this project we are proposing honed granite. This gives the durability of granite without the shine. There is a lot of work surface in this kitchen and we felt the normal polished stone would be too much and preferred the drier feel this stone gives when set against the dark coloured high gloss cabinets, giving a pleasing contrast.
The Extractor Fan:
In a kitchen there is often nothing more unsightly than a stainless steel block hanging from the ceiling in the heart of the kitchen space. Nearly all traditional extractor fans are dust magnets and do a fine job of blocking views and preventing a unified open kitchen space. There are lots of different ways to hide and conceal extractor fans but solutions like suspended ceilings and pop-up systems but we suggest investing the extra money in a system which can be fitted in to a cupboard or wall unit (for floor the ceiling units to hide the ductwork) or investing in a recirculation hood with charcoal filters. Recirculation hoods recycle and purify the air with an integrated filter system therefore do not require any ductwork.
Waste Bins:
In a similar case to the extractor fan the humble and reliable waste bin is not a design icon and does not look good occupying the corner of the kitchen. Usually an after-thought, freestanding ones have more capacity but having a smaller one incorporated into standard or custom sized units will do much more for the organisation and tidiness of the kitchen. A lot of companies now have surprisingly clever integrated waste bin solutions including provisions for recycling. However, positioning needs to be strategic. The exact location is of course a personal choice but it goes without saying they are best placed in the end of the kitchen which is nearest to the door out to the garden or driveway if possible.