Five top tips for a perfect kitchen refurb

In a small survey we carried out last month, 48 per cent of people said they had been planning a kitchen refurbishment project since lockdown. It’s no surprise really. I know my family have been spending a lot more time in our kitchen over the last few months. Now more than ever, this area really is the heart of the home. So investing in it can be really worthwhile and, if done correctly, will add value to your home and enhance your quality of life.

Ed Rhatigan of kitchen-makers Rhatigan & Hick has great advice on what to consider to set yourself up for a successful kitchen makeover.

Another example of a linear kitchen arrangement
Another example of a linear kitchen arrangement

Layout 

When it comes to designing the best kitchen layout, a simple, linear arrangement tends to function better than the more traditional wraparound L-shaped and U-shaped versions.

“Years ago everyone wanted the kitchen table right in the middle of the kitchen and now everyone wants the island there,” says Rhatigan. When accommodating an island in a kitchen design, “your larder and fridge can be at one end, keeping your food storage together. Your cooking zone can be located halfway down with your hob and your ovens together. And your wet area can be located at the end of the run or on the island.”

Avoid corner units if at all possible, he recommends. “Turning corners costs you space and can actually upset the whole flow of the kitchen.” If you’re tight on space but love the idea of an island, a good alternative is to go with a peninsula-type unit instead. “Run a bank of cabinets along the back wall and instead of having a freestanding island connect the peninsula unit to one wall,” he suggests.

A larder will typically give 30 per cent more storage than traditional kitchen cupboards
A larder will typically give 30 per cent more storage than traditional kitchen cupboards

Larder presses

Larder presses have become really popular in recent years. “Larders are the oldest and simplest form of storage,” explains Rhatigan. “They were what would have been in kitchens in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.”

When it comes to the best use of space in a kitchen, “larder presses are almost a must,” says Rhatigan. A larder that is between 1 and 1.2metres in width will typically give you 30 per cent more storage space than traditional kitchen cupboards. This kind of storage will also do away with the need to store food in less efficient wall units or base presses.

Larder presses can be used to store small appliances such as coffee machines and toasters, which frees up counter space elsewhere in the kitchen. “When you’re efficient with storage, your kitchen doesn’t need to be too big,” says Rhatigan.

Greys, navy and greens are very popular for kitchens. Pair these with a bright countertop for a lovely contrast
Greys, navy and greens are very popular for kitchens. Pair these with a bright countertop for a lovely contrast

Counter tops

There are a lot of options for counter tops, but your choice will depend on your budget and how durable you need the countertop to be. “Our preference for countertops would be quartz,”

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Harry refunds house refurb bill from Netflix deal

Prince Harry has paid back £2.4 million ($3.2 million) of British taxpayers’ money used to renovate his home at Windsor Castle, using cash from his recent Netflix deal, his spokesman said on Monday.

The Duke of Sussex, as he is formally known, and his wife, American former actress Meghan Markle, retired from royal duties earlier this year in a quest for “financial independence”.

In doing so, the couple said they were giving up their taxpayer-funded income, and promised to reimburse the public money used to renovate their Frogmore House home.

Harry’s spokesman said: “A contribution has been made to the Sovereign Grant by the Duke of Sussex.”

The money “fully covered” the renovation costs of the house, which belongs to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and will remain his and the duchess’ UK residence, he added.

Harry and Meghan spend much of their time in her native US.

Britain’s domestic Press Association news agency said the payment was made possible because of a deal the couple signed with Netflix, the streaming giant, announced last week.

No financial terms were disclosed but it was reported to be a multi-million-dollar deal over several years.

They promised to produce content that “informs but also gives hope”, as well as make “inspirational family programming” and “powerful storytelling through a truthful and relatable lens”.

The Sovereign Grant, which amounted to £82 million ($108 million, 91 million euros) in 2018-19, is paid to the queen to cover her and family members’ official duties.

It also goes towards the upkeep of royal palaces.

Frogmore Cottage, a 19th-century Grade II listed building on the sprawling Windsor Castle estate, was transformed from five separate homes into a single property. 

The couple moved there from Harry’s late mother Diana, princess of Wales’ former home at Kensington Palace, in west London, before the birth of their son, Archie, in April 2019.

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