As we continue to stay at home to save lives, many everyday activities have been put on hold. From seeing family, friends and loved ones to going out to work, enjoying social activities and even shopping for a new kitchen, pretty much everything is on pause for now. But if you were thinking about having a new kitchen before lockdown began, there is no reason why you still can’t plan ahead and create that dream design. Not only will it keep you busy as there is so much to consider, from which Miele appliances to choose, to the cabinets, worktops, splashbacks, lighting, flooring and everything else in between, but it also gives you something to look forward to – an end goal once life returns to some sense of normality. With more time on our hands at the moment, this is the perfect opportunity to do lots of research from home – all you need is online access and your imagination!
So to start, think about what does and doesn’t work in your existing kitchen. We’re all spending so much more time in there at the moment that one of the positives to come out of lockdown is that we are really getting to know our homes and how we’d like to change them to make them work better for us and our families. Does the lack of storage annoy you on a daily basis, are the appliances installed too far apart or is the room crying out for extra worksurface and lighting? Maybe there isn’t a decent dining space or somewhere to sit and chat over coffee and a slice of that homemade banana bread. Make a list of what you love and don’t love about your current kitchen and you’re off to a great start.
(Image: Humphrey Munson)
Next, consider what sort of style suits your personality, lifestyle and home. Are you a lover of painted timber cabinets and their modern take on the Shaker look or do you prefer high gloss handleless units for a sleek, streamlined finish? Perhaps industrial is more your thing or a two-toned design with a standout island unit in clashing colours or materials for an instant statement with wow factor. Once you have an idea of the overall look and feel you want to create, you can head online and look for examples of the kind of thing you’re after. Check out Pinterest and Houzz, which have so many ideas and inspiring real-life kitchens, there’s bound to be plenty to get those creative juices flowing. Instagram is another great tool where you can browse thousands of interior designers’ homes as well as interior enthusiasts, who are more than happy to share their secrets, hacks and top tips. You’ll also find appliance ideas, inspiration and recipes on Miele’s Instagram @miele_gb.
Additional sources of visual material include kitchen brochures, many of which you can order online from home. As well as home interest magazines, which could really use our help at the moment to keep them publishing long after lockdown has ended. Next time you head out to the supermarket or shops for your weekly supplies, pop one or two of the latest issues into your trolley then relax at home with your feet up while you feast your eyes on page after page of inspiring readers’ homes, decorating and design ideas. You can create a mood board by taking cuttings from these magazines and brochures and you can add to it with samples and swatches of paint, wallpaper, flooring and fabrics. Most online retailers offer free samples that they can send to you at home or they may charge a small fee. By building up a visual collage of styles, colours, textures and materials that grab you, you’ll soon have a really good picture of what you want your dream kitchen to look like. And this is so helpful for any kitchen designer.
Here are some of our top tips for planning the perfect kitchen:
Set yourself a budget – including 10% contingency for any unforeseen costs – and don’t forget to include a portion of that for the electrics, plumbing, installation, tiling and any additional labour as well as the kitchen itself.
Think about colour schemes. Do you want a block of colour, a two-toned look or a mixed material approach with varying shades and tones.
Handleless cabinets offer a modern feel and a streamlined look and are ideal for smaller spaces. A high gloss finish helps to ‘bounce’ light around the room, which also creates the illusion of light and space.
Timber in-frame doors offer a more classic feel while a painted finish adds a more contemporary effect. On-trend colours for 2020 include forest greens and bold blues. Mixed wood grains are also popular as well as daring hues and muted shades.
Appliances are one of the biggest investments you will make in your new kitchen so buy the best your budget allows. Miele has a fantastic range of built-in designs that will give your space a cutting-edge look while offering the latest in cooking and food preserving technology. Don’t forget the dishwasher and laundry appliances too.
When it comes to those all-important appliances, we asked a kitchen designer who knows his stuff for some food for thought. Graham Robinson is Design Director at Halcyon Interiors in London’s Wigmore Street, and he tells us what kitchen conversations he’s been having with customers during the lockdown…
“For us at Halcyon Interiors, our kitchen design conversations have certainly changed during this lockdown period. And though we have all been working from home, we have still been able to speak with new and existing clients, either the old-fashioned way on the phone or by using a video conferencing app such as Zoom. It does take some time, as we can’t use the showroom to convey things visually, so a little more explanation is required.
It’s true to say that everyone’s kitchens have been truly tested during these last few months. We’ve never used them so much and as we continue to stay at home for the foreseeable, we are preparing and cooking more meals than ever as well as using the kitchen area for work, home schooling, relaxing with the family and even catching up online with family and friends on the laptop or tablet.
For anyone about to embark on a kitchen project, they have had lots of time to reflect and analyse what they currently have, to see what does and does not work. We’ve noticed that priorities are now slightly different. For instance, we have had requests for extra ovens, as customers are doing even more baking and batch cooking, as well as additional food storage in the form of pull-out larders and extra fridge space. With everyone having to cook at home day in, day out, this has driven an increased interest in having additional appliances and storage solutions. Also, we have found that as people have been embracing live cook-along demos, swapping recipes and trying new ingredients and dishes, there has been a renewed interest in cooking in general and a passion for creating some amazing food has been ignited.
One of the most popular topics of conversation with our customers is all about ovens that prove dough and how they can bake evenly using steam for that extra crust. Miele has the perfect appliance for the job with its MoisturePlus. Then we end up talking about how difficult it is to get flour right now. Who would have thought? One of our clients has been baking bread for their neighbours during lockdown using her Miele ovens, baking four at a time with perfectly even results.
Another conversation we regularly have with clients is about steam cooking. I find that customers who already have a steam oven now have the time to really get to know it and use it to its full advantage, which is so encouraging as they are such a healthy way of cooking, retaining food’s vitamins and nutrients to help boost our immune systems.
We have also faced certain food shortages during this time such as flour as I mentioned earlier, eggs and pasta. It’s so important not to waste food, so investing in a fridge with Perfect Fresh to keep food fresh for longer is key while using a vacuum drawer to seal any leftovers and keep them fresh is another great idea. We may have more time than ever on our hands right now, but many of our customers don’t want to stand around waiting for the kettle to boil, so instant boiling water taps are also high on the wish-list.
So while you may not be able to browse around showrooms right now, it is still possible to plan ahead for that dream kitchen design. Your needs may have changed since pre-lockdown too, so use this time to really reflect and think about what you want and how you want to use it.”