Designing Kitchens for ‘The Wow’!

Sometimes you walk in to a kitchen and it just feels right. What exactly is it that stirs in us that sense of excitement and joy?

The art of creating the wow-factor is about capturing the spirit of the homeowner and the unique essence of the space; a point of difference in what can otherwise be a soulless collection of boxes.

We have all seen the unfortunate error of merely slapping on a colour - it's not pretty - and does nothing for the daily experience of living.

Rather, fundamental design rules and an understanding of who the design is for, should be the starting point. Get the essentials of good design right - its balance, proportions, form and flow continuity - then you can begin uncovering your story, express what you love, and create the perfect Wow-design that belongs in your home.

Here are seven ways to bring that element of wow into your kitchen!


1. Pop with a Creative Splash Back

If you love the bright and bold, a geometric feature like this is sure to be an inspirational focal point in your home. You can achieve similar excitement with mosaic tiles or strategically placed wallpaper.
Be sure however to keep the rest of the kitchen relatively neutral and connected in some way. Here, it's the monochromatic pattern echoed adjacent to the art and a restful metallic grey ventilation cabinet that softens the contrast.


2. Connect with a Sympathetic Style

The best testimony of the ultimate 'wow' response is when you hear your visitors say, "This kitchen feels like it's just always been here". There's a homely comfort, a nostalgia in drawing on the classic and honest style of an English Cottage, Shaker, Cape Cod or a French country aesthetic. And these days, this doesn't mean modern accessories are sacrificed.


3. Delight with a Unique Feature

Speaking of timeless, for this family home full of school-aged children, the iconic kitchen clock is playfully integrated into the cabinetry. It operates both as a teaching tool and a bold reference to meal-times or getting to school on time. Loaded with personality, its crater-moulded hour markings bring an element of chic into the room and evokes a smile.


4. Create Inviting Spaces

It's one thing to have an impressive kitchen, but when the design beckons you to "come on in" and be part of the action, there's a definite moment of 'Wow, I belong here'. This integrated window seat creates such a feeling.
Designed as a continuation of the kitchen's work-top, family can be involved and interacting nearby while meals are being prepared. An outdoor fabric on the squabs ensures the odd spilt milk is not cried over.


5. Look Around You

Inspiration for the elusive wow-factor can sometimes be found in the very environment that surrounds your home. For this home in NZ's native bush, the colour palette of the Kauri tree's golden leaves and charcoal bark inspired a malt-hued kitchen. A richly textural river- tone granite then complements the look, reminiscent of local river beds nearby.


6. Think All Dimensions

Look up. Look down. There's more to an exciting kitchen than mere cabinetry and bench tops. In this generously scaled space, once the cupboards are too high to be practical, a series of display shelves are designed to facilitate personalisation. Integrated up-lights further draw the eye upwards, taking in the whole room. A substantial solid block of American Oak on the island attracts gatherers to its warmth and tactile feel.


7. Reflect Your passion

As owners of several cafés and lovers of the culinary arts, this entertainers' kitchen brings cooking to the centre-stage, ready for the grandé performance. A warm wooden bar top welcomes guests to interact easily with the keen chef while mixers and a third oven are tucked away in the baking scullery beyond. Even a clever slide-out timber chopping block beside the hob has been set into the shiny granite slab. The passions of the homeowner are beautifully manifested, evoking the very wow factor desired.

These are a few ideas to help create inspiration for your own kitchen's story. It is a fun journey, creating a unique home that reflects who you are. And rest easy that your designer is trained and experienced to help you discover your dream kitchen design, being saturated with inspirational ideas and exciting new (and old) combinations that work.

Toni Roberts

Kitchen Architecture Ltd · PO Box 301-103 · Albany · Auckland · New Zealand · Ph 027 487 6383

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