We saw a significant rise in the popularity of open plan living spaces last year and this trend has definitely continued into 2017. Only one month in and we have already received a significant number of architects plans displaying this kind of detailing. From extensions to complete ground floor reforms, often with the addition of large banks of bi-fold glass doors opening onto outdoor living spaces, this tendency towards open plan creates new challenges for kitchen designers. We now not only have to consider our clients requirements and aspirations with regards to the kitchen, we also have help them through the process of moving into a new and versatile style of living and personally I am loving this broadening of the design brief.
When designing a kitchen for an open plan living area there are often extra angles to consider when looking at the colours and textures of the kitchen. Perhaps there is a wooden family heirloom in the corner that we need to consider or that old favourite dining table that a client just can’t bear to part with. Colour and texture are crucial in all aspects of interior design so by deciding to open up your kitchen to welcome your sofas and sideboards it is important to get this just right. Whether your room be characterised by minimalism, opulence or classic simplicity, allowing the flow of detail to run through the entire area will bring the whole design together.
Once colours and textures have been chosen, where do we put them? Personally, I like to start with clear zones in my open plan designs. The main area of the kitchen would stay within the boundaries of one or two colours then once we introduce an island which backs onto a living or dining area, this is where is would add the additional accents of other materials. The soft textures of natural veneer or the sophisticated sharpness of metals will trick the eye into thinking living room instead of kitchen. And with the addition of a chunky wooden breakfast bar perhaps, we are now leaning towards thinking dining area.
Flooring is an important one to get right. Whether to use the same material throughout or to create zones within the open plan. Ceramic tiles or vinyl are ideal for the kitchen area, but perhaps a bit cold for the living zone. Careful use of loose rugs can add warmth and a splash of colour. Solid wood flooring is often popular in living / dining areas as it has a warmer feel and modern engineered wooden floors are suitable for underfloor heating which is often specified in these situations. And if you want the look of wood but the durability of ceramic there are some excellent ceramic “wood” tiles available which work well over the whole area.
The kitchen has always been known as the “heart of the home”, and by opening this room up into dining and living areas we feel that rather than detracting from this it should be seen as giving the home a bigger heart, and with good design can create a perfect atmosphere for family life.