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.
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.
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.
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,”