What will your kitchen look like?
Or rather – what will your kitchen say about you?
When building your dream home, the kitchen is usually the part of the build that people spend the most money on. It’s where you and your family will eat, meet and hang out. So, it makes sense to get it right!
Landmark Homes North Shore/Rodney’s Senior Designer, Wendy King, has helped design hundreds of New Zealand kitchens throughout her career.
She says New Zealand kitchens have come a long way since she first began designing homes 26 years ago. Back then, the most “hip” addition to a kitchen was a dishwasher. Nobody had one – and everyone wanted one.
“Now it’s unthinkable not to have a dishwasher in your kitchen!” she said.
Designing a kitchen is now a rather complex affair. Functionality is the most important factor.
Every year, Wendy comes up with the kitchen designs for Landmark North Shore/Rodney’s show homes. “I don’t remember the last time I didn’t do an island kitchen,” she says. “They used to be all U-shaped. Now, the first thing out of everyone’s mouth is, ‘I want an island!’”
The great thing about an island kitchen is that it works for almost any lifestyle. It makes the kitchen space multifunctional; a meeting space as well as a workspace. Friends or family can join in as you prepare a meal, and kids can do their homework at the breakfast bar. The island design also means you can enter the kitchen from two ways, which is great for a busy family.
The Kitchen Design Process for a Custom-Built Kitchen
While a ready-to-build plan is helpful for busy homeowners, a custom-built kitchen takes the dream to a whole new level. The beauty of being able to design a kitchen from scratch means that the kitchen is made to fit the owner, rather than the owner fit their kitchen.
Wendy says her first step is to figure out what the clients will be doing in the kitchen. While budget is obviously a factor, so too is the type of cook they are. Some people might want to do a lot of cooking, and some not at all. Some might have loads of appliances, and some might want to keep things simple.
Not all clients have a set idea of how their kitchen should look. Some might come along with an idea of what colours they’d like, or they might talk about a kitchen they’ve had before.
While Wendy has seen many trends come and go, some continue to be running favourites. Island kitchens are a perfect example.
Then there’s the scullery or pantry to consider. Clients now request anything from a simple storage space to a walk-in ‘butler’s pantry’. Unlike the standard food storage cupboard, a butler’s pantry is more like a separate room attached to the kitchen. As well as the extra storage space, food prep and clean-up can be done out of sight of guests. Perfect for people who love to cook and entertain, but also need a space to “be as messy as they like”.
Wendy’s currently designing a kitchen in which the butler’s pantry is as big – if not bigger – than the kitchen itself. It will even contain a second hob; perfect for the homeowner who considers themselves somewhat of a ‘master chef’.
Fitting It All Together
One of the most important features of a kitchen is of course its appliances – and appliances have obviously come a long way since the advent of the dishwasher. Many of Wendy’s designs now have to factor in space for the fridge, bar fridge, coffee makers, hobs, juicers, range hoods… and if the client wants two wall ovens side by side, there has to be enough wall.
Style has varied over the years. The traditional wooden design is still very popular, as is simple black and white. Granite, on the other hand, is no longer in demand, having been replaced by more practical materials such as composite stone. The huge variety of tile designs available now means that kitchen splashbacks have changed from glass to tile. Clients love being able to create their own look with different colours and designs.
And a kitchen’s just not a kitchen without a tap! Some clients want their kitchen tap on the wall, some in the centre of the island. Some fancy a large brass pull-out tap, while others prefer something more subtle. Then there’s the colour to consider: anything from gun metal to black to chrome.
More Efficient Living
The most recent trend is to combine the kitchen and laundry space. Wendy now designs many kitchens in which the washing machine is incorporated into the butler pantry. It makes sense, after all, to be doing your laundry at the same time as cooking the evening meal.
Of course, there’s an even newer trend: moving the whole business outside. The demand for outdoor kitchens is now gaining momentum, with Wendy currently creating her third. And we’re not talking your classic Kiwi BBQ and outdoor table: modern outdoor kitchens contain everything from a basic pizza oven to full kitchen facilities – and the kitchen sink.