Published at Friday, October 12th 2018. by Dominique in Kitchen.
Just as fashion has changed over the years, so have kitchens. Designs for modern kitchens 50 years ago were different to what we see today, with the evolution of more technology. Many influences have come from Europe especially Italy, France and Germany. Some people really like to make a statement with their kitchens and go for very bright colours, or unique appliances and accessories. Others prefer a minimalist look and feel, while others still might like the classic or traditional looks.
On the other hand, the family room, or the social area of the great room is designed in a completely different way. Typically, a beautiful empty room is created and then it is furnished. Instead of lining all the walls with horizontal bands of built-ins (and there are exceptions to this i.e. Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie homes) the wall spaces are interrupted with vertical elements like windows and doors or focal points such as a fireplaces. The walls of the room are separated into vertical segments instead of continuous horizontal bands. At blank wall areas and in the middle of the room, eclectic pieces of furniture create seating arrangements, while the wall-hung artwork and sculptural collectibles on display determine the room's personality. But the wall, floor and ceiling colors and textures permeate between all of these vertical elements acting as the 'glue' that holds the whole design theme together.
When designing with furniture, spaces must be created between each piece that allow the 3-D character (3-D in that furniture is made with at least 3 finished sides) of each piece to be appreciated. These spaces are most important as they allow the design theme of the adjacent room to continue uninterrupted into the kitchen. The spaces allow the wall, ceiling and floor coverings (the architectural finishes) to instantly meld the kitchen and family room into one homogeneous space in a way that is impossible to do with horizontally designed cabinetry. The spaces define the room's personality and allow the furniture to become more eclectic as well, emulating the same design techniques used in the design of the family room. No longer must the kitchen have just one color of wood, or one door style or one countertop material. The spaces allow all of these elements to change more readily. For a clear example, think of an open-plan log home where all the interior walls are exposed logs. A furnished kitchen allows the logs to be seen between each piece, which helps to unify the open-plan room whereas a horizontally designed cabinetry filled kitchen covers up all the logs. In an open-plan loft design where the kitchen is always seen, a furnished kitchen can blend seamlessly into the other casual seating groupings by allowing all the architectural finishes to meander between all the pieces and hold everything together.
Go to shows! I've worked in the kitchen industry for years and yet, nearly every show I go to shows me some new kitchen innovation that I had never previously imagined. Many of the people we speak to talk of having viewed a kitchen showroom, picking a really nice kitchen to have installed, only to see their dream kitchen at the same or lesser price elsewhere. Shopping around and doing your research is important; new innovations appear first at shows, i.e. the Ideal Home Exhibition, 100% Design and the Grand Designs road show. When they do, it takes a while before they are widely publicised and so going to shows is the best way to find out about new kitchen innovations. This is also particularly good, because many exhibitors will sell off their display items for less than the retail price to avoid carting them back to their warehouses and many others provide discounts to people who wish to get quotes from their stands.
The kitchen lighting fixtures over the breakfast table in our kitchen, we found to be an essential part of our kitchen planning, as different types of lighting fixtures for this amazingly useful space were required. We took more time on this part of the room and chose carefully, although it was a little tempting to simply add these later, this has now become such a special place for us. The kitchen lighting fixtures that we installed provide a nice warm glow that fans out evenly, across our table space, yet synchronizes perfectly with the rest of our beautiful kitchen.
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