What’s new in kitchen design: benches, vinyl and steel finish

Kitchen makeovers are expensive so clue yourself into the lastest design trends

Subway tiles are out, but turn them on their side and it’s a whole new look with Bricolette by Tonalite, a range of Italian-made ceramic tiles.

Subway tiles are out, but turn them on their side and it’s a whole new look with Bricolette by Tonalite, a range of Italian-made ceramic tiles.



Kitchens are finally embracing colour through the creative use of tiles to add colour, texture and personality. Bricolette by Tonalite is a range of Italian-made ceramic tiles that puts the craft back into kitchen design. Use on walls in a herringbone pattern up to dado rail level and on the plinth part of a breakfast bar in a more traditional pattern where the burnt-orange colour does all the talking. These tiles can be ordered through TileStyle and cost in the region of €66 per square metre, according to the Italian manufacturers but this price is ex shipping and may not include VAT and other costs.

Tonalite.it/en; Tilestyle.ie

Minima design features.
Minima design features.


After years of standing on stylish but hard surfaces, home cooks are hankering after something softer to stand on. Harvey Maria is a vinyl that works with underfloor heating and offers an affordable way to bring the trend for patterned flooring in, in a practical fashion. The company works with several designers to create collections including this Lattice pattern by ceramicist Dee Hardwicke which is part of its signature collection. It is available in six colourways including the pebble grey and costs about €52 per metre, ex delivery. The company also does a checkerboard tile that harks back to the 1950s. It costs about €46.50 per metre and can be ordered direct.


Secret storage.
Secret storage.


White subway or hexagon tiles for splashbacks are so last season as fashion moves to the dark side. Inspired by northern California surf spots, Tides is the new ocean-influenced line of handcrafted porcelain tiles by surfer Luca Osburn for Cle’s Watermark collection. The range namechecks Kelly’s Grove, Jetty, Ocean Beach and the foggy grey of Cronkhite. Per piece the tiles cost about €15 or €730 per square metre, ex shipping. They also look really good behind ranges and cooking hobs.



For too long the focus in the kitchen has been on the design of units with far less emphasis on the appliances that help show off our cooking skills.

By teaming up with Electrolux to include the appliance firm’s new Grand Cuisine in its Brasserie kitchen, bespoke English kitchen company Smallbone of Devizes is changing this thinking.

Swedish company Electrolux collaborated with Magnus Nilsson, the nation’s number one chef and maestro at Fäviken, Sweden’s premier fine-dining restaurant, to cook up a four-piece system for home chefs with gourmet ambitions. It includes a five-flame hob system that adjusts to the size of the pans(€9,700); a convection steam oven with smart screen controls and sensors to maintain uniform humidity during cooking (€23,000); a vacuum sealer to prepare food for on trend cooking method sous vide and also for food preservation (€8,400) and a blast chiller (€14,700), that freezes meals in minutes and can also chill up to 10 bottles of champagne in 30 minutes – ideal for last-minute celebrations. Inspired by the idea of the chef’s table, the appliances are set around a handless island that allows you to show off all your skills to friends while entertaining. While it not available in Ireland until sometime next year, prices are only estimates and exclude VAT, unless you order a kitchen from UK-based Smallbone. McNally Living is already on the ball having partnered with alpha appliance manufacturer Siemens to show what its sous vide oven can do and the results can be viewed at the Sandymount store.

Smallbone.co.uk; Electrolux.ie; Mcnallyliving.ie


Wine fridges were frowned on in the downturn as being way too ostentatious and anyway the cheap n cheerful supermarket bottles didn’t need temperature controls. Now, the below counter wine fridge has become commonplace with many Irish developers installing them into their more upmarket new homes but Smallbone of Devizes understands that a wine wall, a glass-fronted wine fridge writ large as a feature in its own right, has wow factor with oenophiles who can show off their collection without ever having to brag. Prices start at about €53,000 for both the wine wall and kitchen.


Abimis’s large monolithic mirror-finish stainless steel kitchen.
Abimis’s large monolithic mirror-finish stainless steel kitchen.


Most kitchen designs dominate the open plan space they are housed in. The fresh way to think is to conceal the workstations behind flip and fold-back doors to reveal only when needed. New York kitchens have been done in this fashion for years and it allows you to inject more of your interior personality into the open space. Pictured is @home, a smoked oak and stainless steel design by Elmar that is exclusive to upscale furniture shop Minima that features an incredibly elegant island which resembles a dining table to the fore. Prices start from €50,000, ex appliances and VAT. The design as pictured will cost about €75,000 ex appliances and VAT.



The island has become the main focal point in the design of the kitchen archipelago. For it to attract family members to linger, it needs seating that is both good-looking and comfortable to sit at it for any length of time. Danish brand Hay’s upholstered AAS33 is an option your bottom will thank your for. Prices start from about €352 to order from Dublin-based Inreda where there is 15 per cent off on orders made before June 15th. You can also buy online from Nest.

Inreda.ie; Nest.co.uk


Upscale kitchens are less showy, with their best features hidden from view. Drawers within drawers like matryoshka dolls allow you to keep essentials like tea towels on hand but out of sight. This handless two-drawer base unit by Snaidero has hidden drawers secreted within the larger drawers that can be used to house table linen or less-used items like silver flatware or serving spoons. Pictured in arctic white, it is available from Porter and Jones where prices for this kitchen style start from €35,000.

Porterandjones.com; Snaidero.com


If you don’t like to have a sink on show then check out the stylish thinking of Italian design studio Tipic who created the Tuler, a counter that looks like a laboratory bench and is covered in a quartz-composite. Its covered sink only reveals itself when you wave your hand. The base of the sink drops to open up the space. The tap is also motion-sensor operated. When finished the base will rise to once again sit flush with the rest of the counter. While still conceptual a more available option is to go for a fashion forward copper sink (€589) at Kube Interiors, where the matching tap costs €230.

Kubeinteriors.com; Tipic.it


Stainless steel finishes are making a welcome return. Practical as well as working with industrial designs, this is a trend that Italian companies have embraced with open arms. Abimis showed a large monolithic mirror-finish stainless steel kitchen at EuroCucina 2017 while Barazza, also available at Sho, sells a customisable stainless steel design that can include concealed sinks, chopping board, knife and cutlery drying stations that rise from the countertop on demand and fall to tidy away when not in use. With four different finishes and six different edge options prices vary but a modest island top of 120cm by 150cm with moulded sink and tap costs from €5,000.

Sho.ie; Barazza.it; Abimis.it


An extractor can dominate sightlines in your space. Falmac’s new Sophie is a glorious globe that also illuminates hanging over a workspace like a light pendant. The double-jobbing design costs €1,800 at Sho Kitchens.


Bench seating is the new and democratic way to dine in an eat-in kitchen. You can order the cool natural birch ply design that Liz Dolan of Mortar & More did for the refectory-like interior of Dublin restaurant Featherblade. Price for from four-seat set-up is €2275 ex-cushions. Incidentally Dolan first came to fame as business partner to Roisin Lafferty and together they designed the now defunct Eatery 120 in Ranelagh, an eclectic space that was ahead of the curve in terms of its trend-led interior. A set of benches is a more affordable way to update the room. The Toronto bench costs €349 from DFS.

Mortarandmore.com; Featherblade.ie; Dfs.ie


Say goodbye to white and bright kitchens as designers plump for dark door shades like Kungsbacka laminate designs, €40 and €24 each, at Ikea which have been teamed with a marble-look Saljan worktop (€60). The rattan lighting overhead is a really affordable way to add warmth. This Sinnerlig pendant costs €50.


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