One of my favorite design tricks, and a feature that pops up again and again in my kitchen designs, is to treat an end corner as a special area. Most kitchen designs have open sides, where a run of cabinets will start at a wall but then the end opens to a room. Sometimes there is a walkway there, either heading down a hall or into another room. Sometimes there is a window at the end so the cabinets don’t head all the way to the wall. Sometimes the lower cabinets continue along one side while the uppers stop. Whatever the room or cabinet layout, I always try to finish an end with something interesting. And interesting to me usually means open shelves where the owner can make a personal statement. Some examples:
Here we have a glass fronted cabinet that balances one of the same size and design on the other side of the hood, with a little wine cubby alongside, then open shelves at the very end. Open to a window at the side, and with a counter continuing along in front, this configuration adds interest and draws the eye the way another plain glass fronted cabinet would not.
Here a much simpler version. This kitchen has glass fronted doors on all of the upper cabinets, and with a window so close to the end run, plus window trim that would interfere should the cabinets run straight to the wall, I have held the last cabinet away from the wall by just a few centimeters, and added a narrow open shelf. Again it serves to draw the eye, adds interest and allows the owner to display something personal, in this case her collection of antique cookbooks.
Beyond the sink, to the right of what is seen in the photo, is a window on the side wall, next to a door that goes to the garden. In this layout, it was decided to not run overhead cabinets above the sink. The result is a wonderful feeling of openness in a long, narrow kitchen with nothing to interfere with the natural light that streams in. But a regular cabinet, with a flat side at the end run would not only look plain, but feel claustrophobic. A narrow shelf cabinet, open on two sides, solves this nicely. It contributes to the open feel and gives the owner a place to display some of her Italian ceramic dishes.
And here something entirely different! There are almost no upper cabinets in this large kitchen, except a few at the far end of this counter that are small, boxy and discreet, similar to this display box, but with glass doors. To the left and right of these shelves are windows. But the end of the counter still has something different and something interesting. Rather than end the run with a simple squared off counter and cabinet side, I have extended the granite benchtop with an overhang for a chair, and added an elegant curve to the counter to soften the hard, straight lines running throughout the cabinet design. This is a comfy little space to make a phone call, pay the bills, or just have your morning cuppa! BTW, I just love the colours here, and look closely at the splashback design. This is a great kitchen! Check out the rest of the photos here.
A true classic from France, La Cornue has been making high end, fabulous cookers for over 100 years. One of the most sought ofter, luxury stoves in Europe and the US, FL Bone of Auckland has added this to their amazing line of beautiful and hard working stoves from the UK, such as AGA, the standard in olde English homes for centuries
In New Zealand, AGA is sold under the name of the parent company, Falcon, along with the Falcon, Rangemaster, Mercury and Rayburn brands of more affordable, while still hard working, great performers. Available in a dozen finishes, including stainless steel, black, white, ivory, and a range of bright colours for the more daring, these range cookers are a great starting point for a unique kitchen design while offering excellent cooking performance.
And I speak from personal experience. Last year I needed to buy a new cooker. The top end US brands, Viking and Wolf, while available here, are prohibitively expensive. And although I have specified them dozens of times for clients, the heavy duty commercial stainless look is not to my personal taste. So I did a massive amount of research to familiarise myself with locally available brands, like Ilve, Smeg, Award and others. I looked at performance and reliability, compared that to cost – value for the dollar – and the look of the appliance. I am very particular about the performance of my gadgets, big and small, and I cook a lot. I also wanted this to be a lifetime purchase, so I needed to get it right.
My research took me to online user review sites, mostly Australian and UK based, mixed in Consumer’s NZ product testing, with manufacturer claims of performance. And I talked to loads of people, including salespeople, kitchen designers and end users of different brands.
All of my research led to one clear conclusion and I became the proud owner of a Falcon Rangemaster Professional+FX in Ivory. And I love it! It will be the starting point for my new kitchen design and I am sure there will be a lot more said about it in future blog posts. For now, if you are thinking of a new range cooker, get yourself down to FL Bone and check them out. My stove cost less than the mid-line Smeg, much less than any model Ilve and I am very confident from all of my research that it performs better and will last longer.
Who could not love the look of these panels? These are by a company called 3-Form out of the US, and part of their Varia Ecoresin line. Distributed in New Zealand by Carter Holt Harvey, these are translucent resin panels in a variety of design choices. With a huge range, my personal favorite is the Organics collection, which offers not just a natural look, but is truly natural! They suspend real materials in the resin, things like Bear Grass and twigs with names like Thatch and Ting Ting! The one in the photo above is called “Hydrangea Thatch” and yes, those are real flower petals and twigs suspended in clear resin!
There are so many uses for these amazing panels! They add interest while letting the light in. And they can create a look and feel that textured glass cannot. I have used some of the organics as inserts into cabinet doors to create a Japanese style in a couple of bathrooms. For closets and entry doors, there is privacy, but still the light comes through, and these are so much more interesting than frosted glass. For a kitchen, so many different and interesting looks can be achieved with 3-Form inserts in cabinet doors. For a bathroom design, I used Fossil Leaf as a shower door panel in place of glass. The subtle, clear leaf design echoed the leaf imprint in the floor tiles. One of my favorite San Francisco restaurants uses Bamboo Rings as the back wall for their line up of drinks bottles. Back lit, and a perfect compliment to the bamboo floors and panels used throughout, they look so incredibly cool!
Can you tell that I just love these panels? They are so beautiful, so interesting, so unique! With these, we can create a truly individual accent. Add to that, they are so environmentally friendly! These panels are made from a minimum of 40% pre-consumer recycled resin.