Contemporary kitchens are all about melding the modern and the traditional to create smart spaces with personality, says Christina Salzano
We all love a bit of hi-tech but when it comes to the heart of the home, natural looks are what’s hot. For a long time white, sleek, futuristic kitchens were all the rage. But there’s been a steady move in recent years to injecting colour and the much welcome introduction of texture. These, alongside with the rise of maximalism and individuality, mean our kitchens have been getting some well-deserved attention. There’s an array of materials and styles available and manufacturers are working with raw materials, real wood, stone and glass – referencing the past with a contemporary twist.
The Inside Story
Currently enjoying a renaissance and stealing the limelight from sophisticated tech is the humble larder. A well organised larder is the latest Pinterest ‘home porn’ we are coveting – in part thanks to the Marie Kondo effect. With kitchens now multifunctional spaces, clever storage is a must. From breakfast stations and the good old walk-in pantry to wallto- floor units with pocket doors – incorporating smart storage means an uncluttered kitchen.
Black To Basics
As all-white kitchens take a back seat, dark kitchens have come to the fore. Black is now the new black and is fast becoming a fixture in many modern kitchens. Add drama with black cabinetry or opt for black appliances, fixtures and fittings. Don’t be afraid to double up on the dark side. As well as going darker, kitchen colours are moving towards natural shades, so greens are increasingly popular. Also emerging are earthy neutral shades – a tentative next step from metallic finishes. So too in taps and handles, where tarnished metals such as copper and brass along with pewter are the new kids on the block.
As modern living demands clever, concealed storage and kitchens are made up of banks of tall units, the feeling of space is created by dispensing with upper cabinets. Instead install open shelving where you can add colour, texture and personality with curated collections. Glass fronted cabinets and glass shelves offer a sophisticated element to kitchens and a lightness that wood just can’t match. Metal shelves, meanwhile, offer an industrial edge to sleeker kitchens. Popular at the moment is a shallow shelf where the splashback ends offering a place to hold plants or herbs, utensils or even artwork.
Top Of The Blocks
The move away from stark white continues with worktops, with darker shades offering warmth and depth. Muted earthy colours are making an appearance here, too. The demand for sustainability and provenance is clear with hand-crafted pieces taking centre stage across the home and also in the kitchen. Concrete finishes are popular as the industrial vibe endures. The poured concrete look is sought after but there are materials such as Dekton or quartz that offer a similar effect but with less maintenance.
If you want to add some pops of colour or a bit of action in the kitchen then the splashback is the ideal place. We are seeing plenty of patterned and graphic tiles. Splashbacks that are continuations of the worktop material offer a sleek look and can be extended up the wall for a dramatic effect.
There’s a nod to the past, not only in terms of 70s’ earthy colours but also the incorporation of vintage accessories – harking back to the homely vibe we all seek in times of uncertainty.
From anti-fingerprint technology on cabinetry to smart appliances, tech is becoming invisible and that’s just the way we like it.
Wake Up And Smell The Coffee
How about a coffee machine that brews your cup of Joe ready for when you wake up? Thanks to a smartphone app you can customise your coffee using Illy’s Y5 coffee machine, which also orders new coffee pods when you are running low.
Y5 iperEspresso Espresso & Coffee Machine , £183.50, www.illy.com
Powerful extraction is a must in the modern multifunctional spaces. From glass ceiling-mounted models (making them almost invisible) to downdraft extractors that sit behind the stove then drop back into the worktop after use, to those integrated into the hob – the latest hoods are hidden. There have been strides in noise reduction and hoods are getting smarter all the time. Miele recently launched the Con@ctivity 2.0, a cooker hood that can communicate with the hob beneath, adjusting its extraction to what’s cooking.
DA 7198 W cooker hood, £1,749, www.miele.co.uk
Heston Eat Your Heart Out
For the serious amateur chef a vacuuming drawer seals flavour into food and fits into your existing space. A Miele Vacuum packing drawer will set you back £2,375
From The Experts
Patterned tiles are popular in kitchens at the moment – it’s an easy way to add a splash of colour and their busy design can help temporarily hide spills & crumbs.
The London Tile Co
Keeping with the trend in kitchen extensions, it is about moving away from the monochrome and learning to layer. Combine concrete, wood and even textured tiles. When adding new materials consider all surfaces. Incorporate textured feature walls/bulk heads and zoned flooring.
There is a shift towards the more traditional kitchens and softer greens that complement the copper and brass accessories we see. A smart wine fridge, which can keep both reds and whites at the optimum temperature, developed with tinted glass to prevent sun damage is our recommended appliance of 2019.
The alcove style bank of kitchen cabinets with an island has been the go-to design for 2019. This creates a feature wall that gives an amazing wow factor.
0137 230 3500
Multifunctional and hidden storage are a must- have in both compact and larger kitchens. Options include well designed bespoke larders to pantry cabinets. We have noticed an increase in darker and more vibrant colours in the kitchen. Navy continues to remain popular.
Lane & Wenden Ltd
We have been designing a lot of kitchens with two different colour doors, for example, the largest part of the kitchen in white, with a feature colour island or pan drawer unit. We have found that brass handles are on trend now as are fitted boiling water taps. Traditional Painted Shaker is making a big come back. The split between traditional shaker and modern handle-less kitchens is about 50/50.