Anyone who’s ever watched any renovating, design or real estate show knows the saying ‘kitchens sell houses,’ as well as they know Scotty Cam likes a beer and Neale Whitaker likes a suit. Over the last decade kitchens have gone from being a practical place to cook, often tucked away in a separate room, to the centre and heart of the home. The fact we’ve spent the last decade obsessing over cooking and design shows could have something to do with that!
These days we all want to be gourmet cooks, who entertain in style as our guests mill around our island bench. We want double ovens, inbuilt coffee machines and butlers pantries to hide all the mess. We also want our kitchen to increase the value of our homes, so when it comes time to design a new one it’s a pretty huge decision. They’re also a big financial investment and one you’ll be living with them for a long time, so you want to get it right.
I have spent the last few months working on the design of our new kitchen, with countless hours spent thinking about how it will look and work for our family. It has been a really fun process working with Alby Turner and Son to create a fabulous Hamptons style kitchen that has both the wow factor and the necessary requirements for a working family home.
One of the stunning kitchens Sophie Doumbiotis and Alby Turner and Son have designed for another client.
My designer, Sophie Doumbiotis, has been a great source of knowledge throughout the process, so I wanted to ask Sophie for some advice to help others who are in the same situation. I sat down with Sophie and Rob Turner, from Alby Turner and Son, and asked them some questions.
Amity: Sophie, when designing a kitchen are there certain ‘rules’ you should follow? For example they mentioned a ‘triangle’ on The Block the other night, but I had never actually heard of that!
Sophie: I think concentrating on work zones is more important nowadays, with the introduction of so many more appliances in today’s kitchen. There are more work areas to consider such as butler pantries, appliance stations and large preparation areas. You want to keep in mind how many people will use the space and how the family uses the space together.
Amity: What are the current trends in kitchen design in Australia?
Sophie: For me it’s the addition of butler pantries and the shaker/Hampton style look. Gloss surfaces are not as popular as they once were, now it’s more about matte, satin and textured finishes. Also, creating a kitchen that looks like a piece of furniture, with concealed appliances behind cabinetry.
The chandelier is a bit OTT, but this kitchen is a stunning example of a Hamptons style kitchen and shows how the joinery can look like beautiful pieces of furniture.
Amity: It’s funny to me that the Hamptons look is so popular now, because when I did that look for The Block All Stars in 2013 it was a big risk because no one had done it on The Block before. Then it was all about glossy white cupboards, with no handles and a minimalist look. I remember one contestant (who I won’t name) laughing when they saw our shaker profile doors, because they thought it was daggy and dated and the judges would hate it. But we got three 10’s for that kitchen! And since then I’ve seen it become more and more popular, with it now being the feature look in many kitchen showrooms.
Rob: At Alby Turner we’ve always been known for doing solid timber and French provincial kitchens, but over the last decade modern kitchens became more popular, so we shifted to that. However, the biggest change we’ve seen was when we put the Hamptons style kitchen on display in the front window of our showroom at the end of 2013. Since then it has easily become our most popular style of kitchen. I believe this is because Adelaide has a lot of beautiful old cottages and bungalows that don’t necessarily suit a modern kitchen, but at the same time people don’t want to go as far as the detail found in a provincial style kitchens. This is where the Hamptons style of kitchen suits perfectly; it suits a modern home equally as well as an old villa or Queenslander – it’s both classical and contemporary.
Amity: Sophie, when we were designing my kitchen together we talked as much about how we would use the kitchen as how it would look. What are some important things for people to keep in mind when designing a kitchen to make sure it’s both user friendly as well as stylish.
Sophie: Traffic flow and family interaction in the kitchen area are important to consider, because every family works in their kitchen differently. Consider the size of your work zones, are they comfortable to work in? Decide on what areas of the kitchen you want to be the focal/standout pieces and style and detail these areas accordingly. Ask yourself whether you’re going to do a lot of entertaining, or will the kitchen cater for other activities such as study or working. What storage is required and what are your appliance requirements? Finally, invest in good internal storage systems.
An example of some of the cool internal storage systems we’ve chosen.
So hopefully these are all things we’ve done! I’m really happy with our final result and think it’s the perfect combination of stylish and practical. So here are the final drawings…..
This view is inside the butlers pantry. It’s pretty huge! The fridge is accessible from both the main part of the kitchen and the butlers pantry.
Things like storage racks for trays and platters are a great addition. We also have an extra sink and dish drawer for washing coffee mugs etc. A bit indulgent, but nice!
The open shelves for pantry items are hidden in the corner, so the mess isn’t viewed from the main part of the kitchen. The drawers are deeper that they look in this pic.
Another of my the kitchens I used as inspiration in our design. I adore the duck egg blue subway tiles.
Can’t wait to hear what you think and hope you love it as much as I do!