Archive for Kitchens

Kitchen Renovation Project

I’m currently involved in the re-design of a kitchen in a late 70’s bungalow. The objective of the project is to drag the kitchen into the 21st century. It’s currently a dark musty room which is functional rather than pleasurable and is peripheral to the owners use of the house.
Facing northeast it’s cold and dark and the current floorplan has created a disjointed workspace, complicated by the fact that the room is also a passageway. The current cabinets are a chipboard construction faced with vinyl and the countertop is a similar construction. Unfortunately the chipboard has become musty (with some fungal growth on the wall facing surfaces.

So the first task for this project is to rip it all out!

The second task is to determine how the owner wants to use the kitchen in the future and what the scope and design brief are.

Kitchen Floorplan

The size of the room you are using for your kitchen may dictate the floorplan for your kitchen. Floorplan design is an important factor in the process of designing a kitchen. If your building a new house you can pretty much determine the kitchen floorplan, if you are renovating you may be constrained by the existing shape and size of the kitchen. Before you begin the process of deciding what countertops, units, flooring, lighting and appliances you going to buy you need to consider what is going to work within the chosen kitchen space.

The floorplan you chose should aim to optimise the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the space and shape of your kitchen.

Common floorplans include:

1. Inline
Inline Kitchen Floorplan
The Inline Kitchen Floorplan is very effective for small narrow kitchens where space is at a premium. The core work areas are in a line and it’s important to consider the distance between the extremities (in the plan above the distance between the sink and the cooker). Also consider the distance between your key storage areas such as Fridge, Larder and Utensil storage.

2. Galley
Galley Kitchen Floorplan
The Galley Kitchen Floorplan is one of the most efficient floorplans in terms of layout of key activity areas. It is a layout favoured by many professional kitchens as you only have to turn around to access an alternative workspace. It’s also an important floorpan for houses with narrow kitchens. Some of the considerations with a Galley Floorplan is that you need to allow enough space for appliances and unit doors to open out from both sides of the Galley. The issue of width can also be a problem if the room is also a passageway with entrances at both ends. The issue is that now people may need to be able to pass one and other comfortably as well as catering for the opening of appliances and doors. The minimum width should be approximately 1.2m.

3. L shaped
L Shaped Floorplan
This is an ideal layout if you want to have a kitchen / dining area as the kitchen only takes up one corner with plenty of room for a breakfast table and chairs.

4. U Shaped
U Shaped Kitchen Floorplan
The U Shaped Kitchen Floorplan is efficient as it can be a more expansive version of the Galley Kitchen where all areas are easily accessible. However in a larger room you have to be careful to consider the distances between the key work areas.

5. Island
An Island can be introduced into some of the other floorplans (space permitting) and can very effectively allow you to reduce the distance between work areas in a large kitchen. Islands can be used to site a worktop/breakfast bar, a cooking island or a sink. Thus you can mix and match your areas to suit the layout of the rest of the kitchen.

Kitchen Design

Your Kitchen is the heart of your home and therefore deserves pride of place when it comes to design.

Your kitchen is both a functional area and a place in which you spend a lot of time, this means that both the functional layout and the decor require thought prior to the build phase.

Functional Design – The functional design is an aspect of kitchen design which is often neglected. The key things you need to consider is the layout of the core components: Cooker, Worktop, Sink and Fridge. (Ignoring appliances that have nothing to do with cooking and should probably be in a utility area – Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher etc). The height of your sink and your worktop should be tailored to your own height. Most Kitchens and simply fitted for the “Average” person – this means they are not at the optimal height for most owners! This can lead to back pain and joint strain for the enthusiastic cook.

Laying out your units –  It sounds laborious but it helps to do some time and motion studies before you install your kitchen. What I mean is this, if you are a big coffee addict and have a state of the art espresso machine you will regularly have to:

1. Find the coffee
2. Go to the Coffee Machine and fill with coffee
3. Go to the sink and get water
4. Fill the Coffee Machine with water
5. Go to the press and get a mug
6. Take the mug to the Coffee Machine and fill with coffee
7. Go to the fridge for milk
8. Enjoy!

OK this is laboring the point, but for tasks you do frequently it is important to ensure that related work places layed out adjacent to one and other. A Cornell University study back in the 1950s established the notion of the ‘work triangle’ based on many tasks requiring going to the fridge, cooker and sink. Your tasks may be different, for example going to the freezer, microwave oven and dishwasher but the principle of thinking through your tasks remains equally important.

Ideal Kitchen Worktop Height

Your countertops, particularly the work top where you are going to do most of you food preparation should be designed around the height of the primary user. The standard kitchen countertop is built at 90cm but this will not suit everyone.

Basically as a rule of thumb the work top should be a few centimetres below elbow height for the main kitchen user. Industry guidelines indicate that if you are 125cm tall, the ideal worktop height is 65cm, whereas if you are 200cm tall, you’d be most comfortable with a 120cm height. The rest of us, starting at the 65cm worktop height, should add around 3cm to the worktop for every 5cm of height over 125cm, rounding up or down to a standard height as necessary.
Bear in mind that there are a couple of issues with this:

1. If you are an extremly tall or short person a kitchen customised to your optimal height may effect the resale value of the house.
2. In a kitchen with several family users it may be difficult to find a worktop height that suits everyone.

It may be worth considering multiple work areas, using plinths of different heights in kitchens with mulitple users.

Kitchen Countertops

Choosing the correct countertop for your kitchen is essential. The countertop is the area of your kitchen that will get the most wear and tear, so it’s worth thinking about the surface that you choose. There are a wide range of materials available for kitchen countertops including:

Quartz Stone
Stainless Steel


Granite is one of the most popular choices for the modern Kitchen countertop. Granite is a natural stone which is first quarried from the earth and then brought to our facility and polished and cut to suit your requirements. The stone is very durable and when polished correctly can give a really beautiful finish to your dream kitchen.
As it is a natural product it’s colouration is never completely uniform, which adds to the character of the surface. The colour of each piece of granite depends on the mineral composition of the rock it was quarried from. We source the best granite from all over the world to give a wide selection of hues and colours.
With our state of the art stone finishing facility we can cut sink openings, draining grooves and bevel the stone to suit your kitchen. Please consult one of our stone specialists to understand the full range of features available in a Granite surface.

Quartz Stone

Quartz stone is the perfect material for the modern kitchen countertop. It is a beautifull yet tough surface and is resistant to almost all the scratches, impacts and stains of typical household living. Quartz stone is made from the toughest of stones, quartz, and is a non-porus, material so it is doesn’t absorb bacteria and it never needs to be sealed or resealed. Furthermore unlike traditional stone surfaces it is resistant to household chemicals and is not susceptable to chipping or cracking.

Quartz Stone kitchens are available in a wide range of colour options and is therefore an ideal choice for the upmarket custom kitchen design.


Corian is ideal for the dream Kitchen Counter Top. It has been used extensively in commercial and domestic designs for over 30 year – so it has a proven track record. Corian is a man made surface which was invented by DuPont 30 years ago. It’s main advantage in Kitchen design is that it allows for great flexibility in the design of the beautiful surfaces. We have exensive experience in the engineering of complex Corian solutions and would be delighted to discuss your plans with you. It is available in a wide range of colour palettes to suit the tastes of any interior design.

Stainless Steel Kitchens

Stainless steel surfaces are the preferred surface in commercial kitchens, primarily because of there durability. In a commercial kitchen where rigourous cleaning routines are part of the hygene regimen, stainless steel preparation sufaces make a lot of sense.

More recently there has been an move to encorporate stainless steel countertops into domestic kitchens. The clean lines of the stainless combined with more advanced fabrication techniques has meant that more adventurous and glamourous kitchens are now possible using this material. Gone are the associations with industrial kitchens as seen at the local hospital – it’s most likely to make an appearance in an architect designed kitchen with a high quality finish and a mixed material surface, including wooden details and butcher blocks.


Your kitchen is the heart of your home. We hope to help you select the best for your new kitchen. With expertise in Kitchen counter surfaces to appliances and units, will help you design and realise your dream kitchen.