Ever heard of the Golden Triangle? It’s a much-loved architectural guide developed in America during the 1940s which says you should be able to form a small triangle getting from your fridge to your stove to your sink.
Whether you stick to this traditional guide or break the rules to go your own way, you must consider your own cooking style and what is going to allow maximum ease of movement and flow when preparing a meal.
Bottlenecks, such as large islands which place sinks and stoves at opposite ends of the kitchen, may seem a good idea – until you need to wash your hands while trying not to scorch your hollandaise.
Kitchens are high-traffic, high-mess areas, prone to grease, water and the tell-tale signs of messy hands. Before you settle on that Arctic White high-gloss cabinetry and polished brass draw handles, stop and ask yourself, ‘how will this look in a month/year/five years’ time?’.
If you love to clean and do minimal messy business in your kitchen, then you can afford to choose more high-maintenance finishes which require a scrupulous eye and elbow grease to keep them looking beautiful. But if your kitchen is a place for experimentation and creativity, consider finishes that won’t show a trail of ingredients at the end of the day. We might suggest wood grain or textured cabinetry and brushed metal handles.
This principle also applies to your flooring. When someone drops their toast, is it going to splatter across glossy white tiles or virtually disappear into reclaimed timber floorboards?
Black. White. Pantone colour of the Year? Of all the decisions you’re going to make, the colour of your kitchen is something you can’t afford to get wrong.
Yes, most people opt for a white kitchen, but increasingly they are also going dark – and that’s for good reason. Neutral colour schemes allow for seasonal changes and flips in accessories – far cheaper than pulling out a canary yellow splashback.
If you want a pop of colour you can simply bring out a Le Creuset casserole dish as a focal point or arrange a new Bison vase in a corner. But if you really are brave enough to choose something out-of-the-ordinary, make sure it’s not a passing phase. One day you may wake up hating it.
Where will your kitchen sit in relation to the rest of your house? And who do you want around you while you cook?
Open-plan living is de rigueur these days but consider how much connection you actually want to the rest of the house—do you want to be watching TV with the kids while doing dinner prep or do you need some separation from the chaos? More importantly, do you want every visitor to your home to come in and be greeted by last night’s dishes?
Butler’s pantries are a godsend for those who want to hide the messy bits away. Alternatively, positioning your kitchen a little way away from your lounge room, but still connected to the dining room, may reduce noise and interruption levels.
Of all the decisions you’ll make over your new kitchen, few will be as fraught as the decision over which benchtop to settle on. Marble, wood, engineered stone, porcelain, stainless steel, polished concrete, granite or any number of new high-tech products each have pros and cons.
Price is certainly one consideration (marble will set you back the most) but so is upkeep. Do you have what it takes to keep stainless steel sparkling? Are you going to leave hot pots on your wooden countertop? If you want robust surfaces, then concrete and granite will be your friends. But nothing says statement kitchen like a gleaming slab of something special.
Your benchtops will not only be the place you perform all kitchen duties but will tell the world what sort of a house you own.