For those, like me, who love to make food for family and friends while relaxing in and enjoying the space, it is important to have a big enough kitchen to comfortably hold all the requisite cookery items as well as any guests or family who may be around. My ideal kitchen thus entails a central island, so I can entertain while putting the finishing touches on my culinary creations. The room also needs to have ample cupboard space and a good-sized work space around the cooker or range to prep food and keep it within easy reach. Finally, I like to have the dining table in view so when I get up between dishes to bring out the next course, the conversation can continue. Those are my essentials. After that, I get into the more ‘nice to have’ aspects: a view from the kitchen out to the garden; the ability to leave the garden doors open so I can hear the children playing; a fireplace to create a cosy nook in winter.
What are your must-haves? Essentials do, of course, vary, depending on space, individual or family priorities, and how people live their lives. I strongly believe rooms are best conceived from the inside out – so first considering what elements are most important to have in a room – the functional, lifestyle essentials, what you need to make that room ‘work’ – rather than thinking about how you can fill the space up. Therefore, if you are considering renovating your kitchen, take time to first identify those key elements. You can then move on to think about what else you might like to include in the room and how you would like to decorate it: wall colours, artwork and furniture, for example.
These more decorative elements are what can help make the space feel really special, to create an inviting space that imbues your style. Artwork, for instance, gives a sense of who you are, adding flair, and can create an interesting conversation point. Furniture is another item that can give an interesting feel to the room. I often like putting in furniture that might usually be more associated with the living room; when in a kitchen, however, it can add a cosy, warm ambience. I love, for example, the suede Series 430 dining chairs from the Conran Shop. And a fun touch I added in my last project was colourful knobs from Haute Deco which livened up the cupboards.
There are amazing designers out there like Tom Howley and Plain English Design who make gorgeous bespoke kitchens – use them! Beautifully designed worktops and cabinets can create an instant feel of luxury. To make sure your kitchen doesn’t end up looking too perfect, however, and, as I talked about, to give it your own flair, leave areas where you can put in an antique cupboard, for example, or an heirloom table – anything that softens the touch and makes your luxury kitchen that little bit perfectly imperfect.