EDITION: June - August 2019

Hepburn Designs - Creating the Kitchen of your Dreams

By Deirdre Hardiman
The kitchen is the heart and soul of your home. It is the place where the family gathers and guests converge, so it needs to function on many levels. I have designed hundreds of kitchens in my career as an interior designer, and am delighted to share with you some of the things I have learned along the way.

The creation of a kitchen that is both beautiful and functional is a direct result of careful planning. Kitchen showrooms can be dazzling, so be careful not to get caught up in what is trendy, yet don’t be too cautious and end up with something boring. Before visiting kitchen companies it’s good to spend time looking through interior decorating magazines, websites or blogs. By taking note of the things that you especially like, a general style that suits you will start to become evident. Of course it is important to consider the architecture of your home and how your new kitchen will fit into that space. Storage is one of the most critical elements in any kitchen renovation, but it is often overlooked as clients get carried away with the ‘look’ of the room. When planning your kitchen you want to consider every drawer and counter so that you know where you will be putting your cutlery, tea cups, dry goods, spices, pots and pans etc., etc.. These items should be easily accessible for their respective tasks.

“Perfect lighting transforms your kitchen”

Lighting can transform the look and feel of your kitchen, so it’s essential to include this in the planning stage. Downward ceiling lights are generally the best, but mood and task lighting also have their places. Under-cabinet lighting is very effective for both mood lighting and task lighting. Try placing lights above the cabinets as well to create an interesting effect on your ceiling. I always hang pendant lights over islands and tables, and dimmer switches are very useful as they allow you to change the mood in an instant.

Collect samples of all the finishes you have chosen – flooring, cabinet doors, worktops, paint colours, window and chair fabrics. Put them all together to see if the various elements work in harmony with each other. As a practical matter, it is wise to select and order all of the items required before you start your renovation project. Get a firm delivery date for each item so that the work can progress smoothly. Kitchen companies generally only draw the layout of the kitchen units and leave out the dining and seating areas. An interior designer will ensure that the kitchen and the rest of your home is designed holistically so that it truly becomes the kitchen and home of your dreams in both form and function.

In summary, the finishes you need to select for your kitchen are:
1. The door style and colour. You could also consider doing the island in a different colour or the top and bottom cabinets in different colours.
2. Handless kitchen or choose the handles.
3. Worktops (you could consider a different worktop for islands, breakfast bars or around the sink).
4. Appliances including the sink and tap.
5. Lighting for both the cabinets and the general kitchen area.
6. Flooring.
7. Wall colour, tiles or an alternative finish for the splash back.
8. Internal storage solutions such as pull out bins, magic corners, cutlery inserts, internal drawers, spice holders etc. etc.
9. Barstools, dining table and chairs.

“Good planning creates the kitchen of your dreams”

Whether you are going for a high end kitchen or a more budget-friendly option, taking the time to plan your kitchen well (on your own or with the help of a designer) will be rewarded with years of enjoyment in the kitchen of your dreams.