As the centre of activity – where people gather, socialize, and spend most of their quality time – the kitchen is a homeowner’s biggest asset, both for lifestyle and resale value. Today, much attention is being placed on how a room is laid out, the design, and its functionality. But, creating the ultimate kitchen can be a costly venture. With that in mind, it is always good to think long-term and create a design that is current, but timeless.
Here are some simple tips on how to construct a dream kitchen that will look good today and years from now.
Dollars and sense
It makes the most sense to put money into items that are used often and have a strong visual impact. Think countertops, cabinets, appliances, and islands, which are foundation pieces of a kitchen. To keep a classic look, these should always be simple and clean in design.
One of the most popular materials on the market today is quartz countertops. Durable and scratch resistant, with a natural stone look, quartz is the best option for a well-used kitchen. White countertops that replicate real marble will always be on trend, and quartz manufacturers now offer a range of selections that look like the real thing. Natural veining adds pattern and texture, where needed, but also helps conceal wear and tear on the counter’s surface.
In most kitchens, cabinetry should last approximately 15 years but with today’s advancements in hardware, materials, and millwork, it’s lasting twice as long. This is due in large part to using quality products such as plywood, wood drawers, and soft close hardware (this mechanism will slow down the wear and tear of cabinets), which are less likely to break down over time.
For a classic look, white cabinets are an easy way to transition into modern and traditional spaces. Use timeless designs such as shaker Maple or slab MDF – painted white. And consider oak. Yes, it’s back, but not the old cathedral looking doors with flat grain. Today, we are seeing oak in slab or modified shaker, with a flat or quarter-sawn grain, white washed or natural with a matte finish (absolutely no gloss!).
Stainless steel is still one of the best options for appliances. While other colours may come onto the scene, stainless steel’s popularity continues to increase every year. In short, it is always a safe bet. There is also an increased demand in commercial grade appliances that offer all of the latest technology. High functioning and energy efficient, these innovative pieces of equipment are ideal for any at home chef, who wants restaurant style appliances at their fingertips.
Some of the newest kitchen equipment hitting the mark: steam ovens, urban cultivators giving access to fresh herbs 24/7, and fridges with BioFresh technology, which keeps produce at optimal humidity and temperatures.
Regardless of a kitchen’s size, islands are a great addition. As a place for gathering, entertaining, and keeping the cook connected to guests, it also adds a multi-purpose element for prepping, cooking, clean-up, and storage. We are seeing more and more islands with sinks, dishwashers, wine fridges, and induction cooktops.
With a kitchen that has a more classic and clean look, adding in design trends is as simple as incorporating splashes of colour and texture through wall paint, hardware, fixtures, etc. These smaller investment items can add personality to a space but can easily be changed out in the future.
Not to be overlooked, the backsplash can also have a big visual impact in the kitchen. When considering what to use, go one of two ways. Make a statement using colour, mosaics, and patterns or use clean subway tiles or solid slabs of quartz/stone to create a neutral backdrop. For added punch, place coloured appliances like a fire engine red KitchenAid mixer on the counter, and transition out over time.
It’s all in the design plan
Before even considering any of the above options, it’s important to note that any type of kitchen project, whether it’s a remodel or new construction, should always begin with a proper design plan. With so many things to contemplate, an interior designer that specializes in kitchens will ensure all of the elements come together seamlessly. The end result – a functional, yet stylish space, uniquely tailored to suit the needs of the homeowner, and classic enough to stand the test of time.
Jamie Banfield is principal of Jamie Banfield Design, a full service awarding winning interior design firm in Vancouver.