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Julia Kendell from Kendell + Co, interior designer for the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show (22-24 September, ExCeL), says:

The demands we make on our kitchens have grown considerably over the 35 years I’ve been a kitchen design specialist. The theory designed in the 1920s that the ‘kitchen work triangle’ is the most ergonomic work environment possible is long outdated, as it relates to a time when women were expected to spend 12 hours a day without the help of any time-saving appliances. Thankfully, today, kitchens are prioritised on homeowners’ wishlist and are designed to be larger and accommodate a seating and dining area, mostly open- plan, and a host of sophisticated appliances. They now need to multifunction as an entertainment space, a work-from-home and homework space, but also an area where you can relax and recuperate. Although the brief is onerous, if the layout is planned with efficiency in mind, a kitchen can be all these things and more. Here’s how:

1. Embed routines into your design
Before embarking on a kitchen design, I recommend that you spend time considering how you and your family move around and utilise your current kitchen. Looking carefully at your routines should provide answers as to how to best lay the space out. Do you have different breakfast requirements but need to use the counter at the same time? Is the dishwasher getting in your way? Does it take too long to access the bin? All these can be streamlined so you can enjoy the kitchen to the maximum.

2. Don’t negotiate the kitchen island

An island is a non-negotiable feature lately, as it can be large enough to cook on, to prep and serve food and also entertain and relax family and guests. It's a place where the host can chat with friends while preparing food and having a drink.

Something most people regret is having a sink on an island, as it is the grubbiest element of the kitchen, and you really don’t want to draw attention to it. A hob is a good choice instead and doesn't create much disruption as it can be installed flush into the worksurface. You no longer require a clunky ceiling extractor thanks to the latest technology in downdraft ventilation and removing smells by recirculation.


3. Tea and coffee galore

If space allows and you enjoy sipping a cup of coffee or tea, a new addition I recommend is a dedicated pocket-door or bi-fold cabinet. These can work as a ‘bar’ or a ‘coffee’ area with worksurface, sockets for machines, drawers for coffee capsules and shelves for mugs and espresso cups. If you’re a fan of homemade cookies, bread, muffins and so on, you can opt for a baking cabinet which incorporates your mixer and all other equipment and ingredients at the ready. To avoid clashes in the main prep area and promote the independence of the younger family members, we recently designed a children’s cabinet with a healthy snack drawer, a built-under fridge and a juicer.

4. Make room for a pantry party

Are you making the most of your pantry zone? Used to keep everything in sight but also in one place, a walk- in or integrated pantry into the cabinetry is another ‘must-have’. It can be turned into a self-contained area which transcends convenience if you equip a prep space with the latest appliances, a wine fridge and a small sink for quick rinses. This is a much better solution than wall cupboards, where items expire without you even noticing as you can never reach them. Open shelving can also be used creatively to display a glass jar collection of dried foods or plants, pictures and pottery.


5. Break it down

An open-plan kitchen can reveal too much of your dirty pans and dishes, so if you entertain often consider introducing a ‘wash-up area’, which makes use of glass screens to widen the space and partition an ‘ante- room’ for all the preps. The concept derives from ‘broken-plan living’, where with flexibility you can break the room down into zones that are still visually connected. For less sound transmissions and a cosier environment, have a look at sliding pocket doors, vertical slatted screens and open-backed floor-to-ceiling shelving.

It’s possible to blend an utilitarian style with design extravaganzas to achieve your ultimate kitchen. Select carefully the materials, appliances and the room’s layout and prioritise dedicated zones to infuse the space with purpose and comfort and elevate your culinary experience.

For more inspiration on how to design your kitchen and one-on-one consultations with Julia, attend the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show (22-24 Sept, ExCeL).


Link to free tickets here

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