Supersize ovens and going green: designers on new kitchen trends
Monochrome colour schemes and distressed metals and woods are returning
The kitchen is morphing into a living space with its component parts designed to look and feel more like furniture than the traditional wrap-around fitted kitchen.
While always the heart of the Irish home the kitchen is no longer a scullery-sized space hidden in the back of the house. It is now the fulcrum of the home, the space around which all life happens.
This status upgrade has affected how much homeowners invest in theirs. Up to 15 years ago the rule of thumb was that the kitchen spend amounted to 10 per cent of the cost of the overall refurbishment, says David Rafter, director at Arena Kitchens. “Nowadays people spend between €20,000 and €100,000 on theirs. This will include countertops but won’t include appliances.” He estimates a third of the spend usually goes on appliances.
Size is what now matters, he says, with supersized appliances and big-capacity ovens one of the big trends at the recent Kitchen Living show in Cologne. Monochrome colour schemes are also making a return to kitchens and distressed metals and woods were other key design stories.
The kitchen is morphing into a living space with its component parts designed to look and feel more like furniture than the traditional wrap-around fitted shapes, says Mary Orr of McNally Kitchens. The engine-room element, the cooking and cleaning aspects, is now hidden behind pocket doors. Gaggenau now offers a unit door that is the same colour as a certain brand of upscale oven and Leicht’s new designs hide the ovens behind pocket doors of the same colour.
Cabinetry has more texture with raised wood grains, oxidised steel doors and textured painted finishes. There’s a move towards induction hobs away from gas as it now offers the same adjustability and has the added safety factor. It also looks sleek.
Lighting too has moved on from the cold, hard colour of task lighting to offer illumination that can go from the cold blue hues needed for prep work to warm ambient colours. This can be dimmed by remote control or by using an app on your phone. The burnished Steel style by Leicht, pictured, includes the solid walnut countertops, bookshelves, tableware and food storage and lighting that can turn from cool to warm with the flick of a remote control. Prices start from about €25,000. mcnallyliving.ie
There’s a lot of engineering to factor into a kitchen, says David Rafter, former designer and director at Arena Kitchens. “A tap is operated at least 50 times a day. Doors have to open and close, appliances have to work, and drawer units need to open about 100,000 times in a lifetime.”
He credits the Germans with inventing the fitted kitchen when they showed the Frankfurt kitchen in late 1920s, changing domestic interior architecture and says German firms Siematic, Boffi and Poggenpol lead the way with their marriage of beautiful design and ease-of-use engineering. Pictured is a Siematic classic kitchen, also called Beaux Art. Prices for it start from €40,000 at Arena. arenakitchens.com
Lure of the larder
The bespoke larder continues to entrance shoppers, says Amanda Plower, designer at Newcastle Design: “The reaction to it is phenomenal. There is an audible intake of breath when shoppers open the doors. Part of it is nostalgia. Part of it is practical, so instead of storing food in three or four different areas of the room food storage is contained within one unit, a larder that adjoins a fridge freezer. The larder has become a working unit, a breakfast station where the coffee machine, toaster and cereals are all stored and, when pressed for time, can be closed to hide any mess. The fitted kitchen with its overwhelming overhead units is being phased out in favour of designs that feel more like furniture, more integrated into the look and feel of the rest of your home. You get a different feel to the kitchen. It no longer looks like a workroom.” newcastledesign.ie
Fitzgerald Kitchens fabricate in Tinahely, Co Wicklow, and have a showroom on Oliver Plunkett Road in Dún Laoghaire. The second-generation business is run by brothers Eamonn and Des, both formal cabinet-makers who, through a series of cost cuts and lean manufacturing implementations, have managed to increase turnover from €1.8 million in boom-era 2006 to €10 million last year. Its average kitchen, an in-frame design with a plywood carcass and dovetail drawers, complete with acrylic countertops and Neff or Siemens appliances costs from about €10,000. “These days customers are far more value-for-money savvy,” Eamonn says. fitzgeraldkitchens.com
Cooking smells away
The technological advancements in extractor design have really changed the overall look of a kitchen, says David Dempsey of Noel Dempsey Kitchens. “You no longer need to factor in bulky overhead units to accommodate the extractor. Now designs are below counter and it allows for a sleek, streamlined look in either island or countertops. You can also install nice pendant lights overhead and the hob no longer has to be set against a wall. They can be vented externally in a new build or extension or in a retrofit situation active filters eradicate up to 99 per cent of cooking smells.” noeldempsey.com
In terms of trends, one that stands out and works in both contemporary or classic kitchen design is the move towards natural shades of green, from dark brassicas such as cabbage and kale to the softer shades of herbs such as sage and rosemary, says Colm McLaughlin of the Design Yard, whose kitchen prices average from €30,000 upwards. Paint colours he suggests trying include Backwoods by Benjamin Moore, Pale Wedgewood by Little Greene and Colortrend’s Gris Vert. In addition to bespoke cabinetry there is also a focus on bespoke handmade taps and door handles. French brand Armac Martin is using rubbed and matt-finished bronze and ionised zinc, and stainless steel is making a return. The accompanying image comes from publisher Gestalten’s Kitchen Living and is a design by Paris-based design agency Atelier Sagritta, photographed by Gaimime Melino. thedesignyard.com; gestalten.com
With more integration between the kitchen and living spaces, flooring manufacturers are beginning to offer a more customisable design underfoot, says Anne Mac Elmeel of Ballymount-based Tilestyle. Pictured is a porcelain Italian tile that has an encaustic feel which would work in either contemporary or period homes. Designed and made by Italian firm Ceramica Sant’Agostino, these tiles can take the abuse the heavy-duty areas of the kitchen receive, like the high traffic of feet around an island. Priced at €105.90 per square metre the tiles are framed by a second tile, this time a wood-effect style that costs about €87 per square metre. The surround is set flush with the other tiles but bridged by a 1 cm cork frame that allows each of the materials to expand and contract. tilestyle.ie
Stonesurfaces in Edgesworthtown, Co Longford, is one of the go-to places for kitchen professionals, with many of the country’s top designers calling in their services. But the company is also open to the public. Some of its most popular current worktops are Calacatta Apuana, a green-white marble that works really well with this season’s new green shades and costs from about €750 per square metre; Calacatta Classic, a composite quartz by Silstone, from about €695 per square metre; and Dekton’s Entzo Natural, a glass resin counter that is heat- and shock-resistant and tough enough to cut and chop on – although your chefs’ knives may not thank you for such cavalier usage. It costs from about €550 per square metre.
Miller Brothers in Rathnew, Co Wicklow, is another supplier that delivers beautiful designer worktop finishes, while Stone Solutions in Camolin, Co Wexford, offers good stone and quartz options. stonesurfaces.ie; millerbrothers.ie; stonesolutions.ie
Tap into new thinking
Blanco’s new Evol-S kitchen tap is a good new tool for anyone who likes to cook says Seá1n Drumm of Showtime Kitchens. If a recipie requires 500ml of water then it measures out exactly that amount. It is really innovative from an eco-energy point of view and if you let it run it will turn itself off after a while when it figures out that you’ve forgotten to do so. It also comes with a pull-out spray for easy filling of larger pots and for rinsing. The hardware comes in two finishes, chrome and brushed steel, with prices for the former starting from €783. showtimekitchens.ie
If you need more work space, bring in free-standing furniture, suggests Karol O’Keeffe of Neptune by Global Village. “Sideboards, console tables and pot tables can be added to an existing kitchen to make your prep space bigger. They also break up the look of purely fitted cabinets.” Neptune’s Henley five-foot sideboard (€1,960) is seen here in a Chichester kitchen with Sheldrake extending dining table (from €1,240) and Wardley chairs (€350 each). Bi-fold doors give you better access to cupboards too. Neptune’s Suffolk bi-fold countertop in old rose pink costs from €2,040 and its seven drawer base is from €3,340. neptune.com
Ireland’s five top-selling ovens
1: Zanussi model ZVPF4130X – oven and hob pack, €449. Manual oven and ceramic 60cm hob.
2: Neff model B57CR22N0B – a slide-and-hide pyrolytic-cleaning, multifunction single oven, €1,049.
3: Electrolux model EOA5454AAK – multifunction oven with steam cooking feature, €444.
4: Zanussi model ZOB35471BK – fan oven with digital timer, €299.
5: Zanussi model ZOP37982XK – multifunction pyrolytic cleaning single oven, €484.
Information supplied by Harvey Norman.