The kitchen has been called the heart of the home for as long as anyone can remember. The utilitarian room is where newly arrived family members gather before being reluctantly ordered out by the self-proclaimed family chef, where children spend the pre-dinner homework hour and where girlfriends gossip into the wee hours of the morning over a tub of ice cream (or is that only in movies?). Whatever it is to a home, the importance of a well-designed kitchen is obvious.
On the flip side, it’s also notoriously difficult to make your own. Less-than-attractive appliances, food preparation utensils and laundry items, although essential, rarely communicate a stylish space.
We turned to the professionals for a dose of designer kitchen ideas and, in the process, discovered the true potential of this home workhorse. Warning: expect kitchens to become your new design obsession.
1. Mirror Love
Greg Natale’s revival of a quintessential Parisian wall treatment in a Melbourne family home (above) brings style heritage to a Natale-signature dark and moody kitchen. Its wall of antique mirror tiles proves a fitting background for a wall-mounted, distressed metal drinks unit which blends in seamlessly for an old-world City of Lights touch. The simplicity of the chocolate-hued cabinetry offers a contemporaneity as does an industrial pendant light of hanging canisters and a minimal brass fruit bowl.
Image Credit: Jean-Louis Deniot
2. Modern-day Masterpiece
As delectable as the treats it showcases, the kitchen of LA designer Kelly Wearstler capitalises on the designer’s confident design attitude and her ability to upgrade any material beyond its usual status. Making even the least likely of materials feel inviting and what would feel clinical when executed by the hands of any other designer, this full metal, industrial-inspired masterpiece exudes a traditional charm (in keeping with its environment) whilst maintaining a serious next-big-thing appeal. The contrasting gold and silver-hued metals of the cabinetry are mirrored by two Kelly Wearstler Marmont barstools and a wood-like wall treatment juxtaposes two salmon pink and aubergine runners.
3. Golden Age
Jean-Louis Deniot’s own Paris kitchen is simply beautiful and beautifully simple. By reimagining unembellished cabinetry in a subtle, hammered metal gold, the Parisian designer achieves effortless glamour. Combined with floor to ceiling mirrored pantry doors, a triple pendant light and beautifully veined marble (which is used in a deliberate mismatched arrangement on the floor), the room really needs nothing else. A lodestar for designing small spaces to say the least.
Image Credit: Steven Miller/Photography: James Baigrie
Image Credit: Interior Desires
4. Contrast Appeal
Having featured in our Best of Black and White Interiors article (and won House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year 2014), this Steven Miller creation continues to inspire us with its semi-gloss Kraftmaid cabinetry, unique take on wood panelling and an intrepid colour scheme. A Phillip Jeffries wall treatment of mica shavings and herringbone patterned tiling glisten against such a dramatic backdrop.
5. The New Cool
Apart from being expertly executed, this Fulham kitchen by London firm Interior Desires scores in the on-trend category as the designers integrate traditional elements with modern flair.
A large-scale riveted hood and Lacanche range cooker represents the traditional whilst modern marble and smoky grey woods inlaid with brass detailing (to match the cooker’s contrasting stainless steel and brass hardware) say contemporary. A trio of radial glass pendants with exposed bulbs gives an industrial edge to the pure white marble breakfast bar they hang above. The result is a look that’s classic and cool at the same time.
Image Credit: Wendy Labrum
Image Credit: Oliver Burns
6. Mixing It Up
Wendy Labrum brings loft and country styles together in this city kitchen. Its classic all-white aesthetic and paned display cabinets are decidedly more refined than the traditional loft look but a slate worktop, stainless steel appliances (including a loft-perfect hood) and a trio of hanging brass pendants strikes the balance. A wall of faceted metro tiles – an easy upkeep favourite – reflects the light, elevating the look even further.
7. Updated Elegance
Giving a fresh look to grand fitted cabinetry, this design by Oliver Burns is the definition of modern kitchen glamour.
Between two sets of French doors nestles the stove, elaborately framed by custom cabinetry painted in a soft dove grey, an antique mirror backsplash and a corbelled crown moulding.
Image Credit: Millier
8. Slick Finish
Taking its colour palette from stainless steel – the eternal kitchen mainstay – this design by Millier offers the ultimate bachelor-pad aesthetic. Everything but quality is pared back. Essentials are tidied away into a neat configuration of handle-less (so as not to ruin the slickness) cupboards, a brushed metal backsplash houses floating cabinetry and all appliances are sunken, flush with the surface. Even the upholstered are perfectly understated. Grey on grey on grey never looked so good.
9. Off-beat Glamour
Again mastering the art of unique material and pattern combinations, Kelly Wearstler marries her signature cerused wenge with a hypnotic wall covering and subtle brass to create glamour in this off-beat kitchen. Glitzy ceiling lights and a brass and marble bar gives it a modern Streamline Moderne appeal. Incorporating her own furniture and decor designs (a pair of flailing bronze legs here, a neat row of those Marmont barstools there) the space is a tribute to Kelly’s iconic style.
Image Credit: Nina Farmer
10. Breath of Fresh Air
For this airy, light-filled kitchen, Boston-based designer Nina Farmer kept cabinet motifs and hardware simple for a modern but familiar twist. Its fresh take – thanks to a white colour palette and silver appliances – is complimented by a customised Saarinen Tulip dining table and informal B&B Italia chairs. “This is were my clients eat the majority of the time so it needed to be a really functional space,” explains Nina, “We upholstered the chairs and banquette in a heavy duty vinyl to withstand the wear and tear of two small boys. We also added drawers to hold toys to entertain them while they wait for supper to be served.”
11. Black Magic
Can all black everything ever be a bad choice? Not likely. South African designer John Jacob turned to the eternally stylish hue for this kitchen rendition which features a broad stripe runner rug and interesting textured cabinetry. A wooden pot rack and panelled ceiling bring tradition into a modern scheme.
Image Credit: Michael Aiduss
12. Reimagined Country
Michael Aiduss transforms the humble tongue and groove with a slick of new-classic taupe grey paint, ceramic metro tiles and a fresh white marble countertop in this modern country kitchen. The panelled space is punctuated with Sub Zero appliances, antique serveware and display cases. A petite recess to the back is the ideal home for a butler’s pantry, offering extra storage space and adding extra depth to the room.
See the design here in our round up of modern country style.
13. A Meeting Of Styles
A repurposed vintage hood is an interesting accompaniment to a vibrant blue marble in this Moscow project by Russian designer Oleg Klodt. The designer unites the two contrasting aesthetics by way of elegant white cabinetry with simple hardware and mouldings.
Image Credit: Landry Design Group/Photographer: Erhard Pfeiffer
Equal parts charm and dignity characterises this inviting space. In an apparent ode to the Dutch heritage of his country, designer John Jacob recalls an iconic export of the Netherlands. Evoking that classic colour palette of dainty delftware pottery, the muted vintage indigo cabinetry contrasts the purity of the white ceiling and door and fire surrounds. A large wood-topped island overhung with wooden baskets and garlic bunches is the quintessential country addition whilst its glass-fronted display cabinets make the most of a special dinnerware service.
15. Rustic Renaissance
Location wasn’t going to prevent Landry Design Group from bringing a prestigious California-based clients a slice of the Continent. Harking to tranquil European village life (as immortalised in movies such as A Good Year and Under The Tuscan Sun), the firm created a family friendly kitchen which exudes a refined rustic appeal. Tying in with the property’s use of reclaimed materials, the kitchen’s aesthetic is characterised by an extensive use of raw blonde woods, hanging lanterns, tiled backsplash and barrel vaulted stone ceiling.
Image Credit: Greg Natale
Showcasing Oleg Klodt’s signature style, this elegant kitchen offers everything the modern classicist would ever need. A smart colour palette, handsome lines and a subtly grand light fixture makes for a beautiful trifecta. The space is carefully accessorised with a ceramic jar and glass vase. Restraint is key in this space.
17. Architectural Elements
This minimalist Greg Natale kitchen is notably architectural in its design, forgoing decor and, in its place, spotlighting the beauty of simplicity. Capitalising on its materials, the designer makes a statement of the cabinet doors’ custom chevron woodwork (in an intense shade of black – one of Greg’s favourite colours) and grey-veined marble which he chose to use for its walls, floor and bespoke worktop-cum-breakfast bar. Though oversized, the faceted, geometric chandeliers don’t overpower because of their slight frame.
Image Credit: 1508 London
Image Credit: Christopher Peacock
This kitchen by 1508 London operates on a strict less is more mindset. “Throughout, the narrative of the space is influenced by the harmony of restored Georgian features and contemporary insertions,” Creative Director Louise Wicksteed describes, “The original plasterwork in the form of the cornicing and ceiling rose allowed for striking juxtapositions with elements such as the lighting and the onyx-hued island providing a further edge and grounding for the scheme.” The light-filled room makes the most of its large foot print by punctuating the space with a monolithic island which houses the flush electric stovetop, provides additional preparation space and doubles as a breakfast bar.
19. Cook’s Kitchen
One of luxury kitchen manufacturer Christopher Peacock’s most famous designs, this creation makes a return to scullery kitchens – a staple of grand Victorian manors. Channeling the look’s most notable elements, the design features a pot rack lit by two industrial pendant lights, a wood burning range cooker and modernised industrial counter stools. Even the hardware has been carefully thought out with its duo of latch pull and cup pull handles which adorn its crisp white cabinetry.
Image Credit: Helen Green
This design by Helen Green Design proves that country style can be modernised to charming effect. Ticking stripe blinds echo the kitchen’s painted panelled walls whilst the wrought iron chandelier, which hangs over a pale wood dining arrangement, ties in the heavy-duty stove. Bar stools are upholstered in a rich brown leather and shelves are lined with antique milk pales. Fresh foliage and new blooms are a must.
Image Credit: Robert Stilin
20. Loft Living
The loft look is a style all of its own with its penchant for raw finishes, industrial lines and silver metals (which shouldn’t be too glossy). The reinforced glass cabinets of this kitchen by Robert Stilin evoke thoughts of the divider screens so often used in open-plan spaces to create individual zones and accentuate its wrought iron support beams. These are supplemented by a variety of cupboards (operated by pull handles) which capitalise on the limited space – a pro loft hack.