Creating a contemporary kitchen

Private Property South Africa
Michelle Snaddon

Find out what works best in contemporary kitchens, with tips ideas and advice from top kitchen designers.

Tempting as it is to over-style or design a kitchen, it’s often simplicity that wins the way. Take your lead from global trends and read magazines and research online before making a decision on your new kitchen. Paring down and investing in quality appliances and finishes is always more sustainable because they’ll last longer and give you great pleasure, but keep your lifestyle needs in mind too. Kitchens have been an extension of the living area for a long time now, but natural light and a connection with the outdoors is equally important now too.

  • Lifestyle kitchen

"Most kitchens try too hard: if you love cooking, you’ll love a great workspace that looks out onto your living areas," says Jo Brom of Village Timber, who designed and installed this kitchen. "This one is so simple and relies very strongly on the galley kitchen layout, but it works." It’s streamlined and everything has its place.

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"Ideally your kitchen should be built to last a lifetime using the best materials possible," Jo advises, "because longevity validates the cost of installation. We’re extremely fortunate to get stainless steel at a good rate here so we used the best quality throughout for the countertop and kickbacks, all done by Solo Stainless Steel ( We used the same stainless steel on the tops and kickplates so they’re extremely durable."

The light glass splashback is finished in a lighter colour than the wall to create depth and warmth to the otherwise industrial look. Supawood cupboards are in a satin-finish slate grey, a favourite to offset stainless steel and Tasmanian Oak floors. The glass cupboards also soften the space and are fitted with Luminstra built-in light fittings from Osram for task lighting. Uplighting above kitchen cornice runs across the top of glass doors and casts a beautiful light as it goes up the wall, especially at night. appliances are all from tafelberg furnishers ( Jo also does flooring and specialist kitchen refurbishments in solid wood.

Jo Brom, Village Timber, 082 332 9953,, jo@

Design feature

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The sink is completely waterproof because it’s fully integrated into the countertop, which was custom-built by Solar Stainless Steel. It also has a custom rubbish shoot. It does scratch and needs to be oiled but is almost indestructible otherwise. Integrated handle doors are special here too: laser cut, rebated stainless steel doors – with an integrated handle or lip for fingers to grip – complete the industrial look. this means that the entire Supawood door is fully lined with stainless steel.

Longevity validates the cost of installation.

-Jo Brom

Best blow-the-budget gadget

"The only gadget we installed was the built-in and very sturdy storage pantry and pull-out Kesser Bum – which is why this kitchen didn’t need loads of cupboards. Fully extended, it can easily be accessed from both sides. A bank of 900mm-wide drawers pull out from under the hob for easy access to pots."

Expert tip: Don’t skimp on hinges and handles. We often use Blum soft-close hinges and drawer runners from eclipse, which are super for maintaining your kitchen, because the more controlled the drawers and cupboards are, the longer the units will last - Jo Brom.


The replacement kettle and electricity saver: a Quooker (, the on-demand boiling water tap (small one on the right), which is linked to a heavily insulated three-litre tank. The cold tap is the clever KWc eve tap with a pull-out aerator and an LED light ring on the end so that you can see what you’re doing even if lights are turned down for ambience. The basin is a Stark stainless steel undermount SK50. The streamlined hob is an Atag IG9271 ( but other hob choices would include Miele or Siemens, and the Plane 90cm hood is a Euroline Falmec, all available from Espresso.

  • Compact luxury

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Espresso (offices in Cape Town and London) were asked to work with Fossey Arora who did the interior design and architecture for this inner- city apartment refurbishment. The emphasis was to be on clean lines, top appliances and chunky worktops as they wanted to create an oasis of calm in the busy metropolis. Espresso’s role was to extend the ideas and possibilities using the Italian kitchen furniture from Euromobil (this is a filo tabula e25 kitchen,

"As the demolition work started it quickly became clear that we would need to contend with a riser incorporating the main pipework for the block with a gas meter, a geyser, and waste, gas and plumbing pipes, all of which needed to be seamlessly and invisibly incorporated."

Gloss white lacquer was chosen to add glamour and give the illusion of space, although matt kitchens are still the trend. the base units are in Grey Oak. Task lighting was installed under the units, giving the marble a green tinge for added interest, as well as downlighters in the ceiling. Euromobil cupboards have a complete handle-less system of grooves cut into undersides of wall units and the tops of base units and, as Andrew points out, "you’ll see that there is no filler at the top of the cupboards as we like the space shadow gap."

Andrew Hamilton Barr, Espresso Design, 073 130 5446 or 021 422 5283. Project Interior design and architecture fossey arora ( and espresso design (

Light fantastic

The windows were extended down to the floor for additional light and fitted with white wooden shutters to soften the light in the room (american Shutters, americanshutters., or Plantation Shutters, plantationshutters. Note the third window on the right: it comes right down to the counter top, adding warmth and light directly into the preparation area.

Design Advice

"This 70mm-thick Statuario marble was sourced directly from Stonemasons. This is a very expensive choice but it looks stunning. An alternative would be to use Caesarstone ( or simulated marble from Vico Stone (," explains Andrew, but he points out that "the cost of fabricating it is high if done properly – each of those corner joints is a corner mitre. Building up the edges is what’s costly, besides the specific marble in this particular instance."

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