Inspired ideas for the kitchen

Private Property South Africa
Genevieve Putter

Ask any real-estate agent the sure-fire way to up the value of your home, and you’ll get a unanimous response: redo the kitchen. Here are some ideas from kitchens that command attention.

Miles of tiles

The large volume of space in the communal kitchen of Biscuit Film Works, a film- production company in los Angeles designed by shubin and Donaldson Architects, is made all the more eye- catching thanks to the decorative tiling that covers the inner envelope of the kitchen. Stretching across the floor and up the back wall and used in conjunction with timber cladding and stainless-steel cabinetry, the effect is at both homely and original. for hand-painted cement tiles well suited to hard-working spaces like a kitchen, head to Moroccan Warehouse (021 461 8318). Hadeda ( stocks a wide range of decorative Talvera tiles, similar in style but of Mexican origin.

  • Theme: Modular and compact

The move toward integrated living spaces has become practical with technological advances that make it possible to produce beautiful but durable finishes that multitask across the home

Colin Lee, Bulthaup

In the frame

New York design agency Workstead ( completed the overhaul of this Brooklyn apartment guided by the principle of creating a free-flowing open- plan living, dining and kitchen zone within a limited space. Aside from the extensive use of timber, the standout feature here is the wooden floating boxes, which have been employed more as display units than for storage (everyday appliances and utensils are kept in the ample below-the-counter cupboards). Framing your treasured pieces – be they crystalware or ceramics, recipe books or even ornaments – in this way elevates the kitchen into an inspiring realm beyond the purely functional. A specialist joiner will be able to make (and install) similar display units to your kitchen’s specific dimensions. Try Andy de Klerk at Cabinetworks (

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Colour me compact

The Board kitchen designed by Pietro Arosio for Italian kitchen-design company Snaidero Cucine (, which has a showroom in Rosebank, Johannesburg, taps into two major trends: a big focus on colour (in this case, eye-catching petrol blue), and modular, compact design suited to small spaces. Here, the main attraction is a central workstation that is ergonomically designed to include a sink, a prep area, a stovetop and a zone for eating or serving food. The surrounding storage units can be extended or moved around to accommodate the limitations of space, especially useful if you want to take your kitchen with you when you move house one day.

Bright idea

The countertops in this kitchen are made from Corian, a hard-wearing, bacteria- free composite imported locally through Dupont (

  • Theme: Touch and feel

Talking trends

We grill colin lee of kitchen design company Bulthaup on what’s cooking on the design scene:

"The general trend is towards open-plan living, with the kitchen taking its rightful place at the heart of every home. Kitchen spaces need to flow seamlessly into the living spaces without an obvious change in appearance from one area to the next. A blending of the fabrics of kitchen and living areas means that cooking areas no longer Scream, “kitchen!” In such obvious ways. This, plus a similar integration of appliances, has meant that the home is no longer seen as a series of rooms but rather one seamless living space.

I am most excited by the use of new materials in kitchens. Touch is such an important factor in determining your experience with regards to any design, and kitchens are creative spaces that are all about touch and feel. These days, we’re more adventurous about mixing old and new aesthetics and are less afraid of juxtaposing different finishes, be they aluminium, stone, laminate or wood.

Key to good kitchen design is the integration of aesthetics and functionality. Our internal drawer system, for instance, reinvents basic functionality, while our new e-touch technology for fridges allows for a handle-free facade. On the appliance front, it’s the same. Guaranteed, it’s only a matter of time before we have an all-in-one steam oven, fan oven and microwave.

In South africa, lifestyles are centred around family and friends. A lot of entertaining is done at home, around a kitchen area that flows into a bar, dining or living room and ultimately outside. With their larger open areas, south African homes give Bulthaup products space to breathe, while in Europe, living space is often a limiting factor."

Cool contrasts

Ramón Casadó of Bulthaup kitchens has used a monochrome palette for this Stellenbosch kitchen, yet his choice of textures and mix of finishes add warmth. Structure Oak (black grey) was used for cupboard fronts and the breakfast-bar worktop, while Laminate (alpine white) was used for cupboard fronts and the sink worktop. Contrasting timber accents come through in the floor (walnut) by Bestwood flooring and the grainy white oak bar stools and chairs by Carl Hansen & Son. The elegant dining table by gregor Jenkin, designer lighting and a cupboard featuring the owner’s art complete the look, with interior design by Lanie van Reenen Interiors.

These days, we’re less afraid of juxtaposing different finishes, be they aluminium, stone, laminate or wood

Colin Lee, Bulthaup

Central station

Adding impetus to the notion of the kitchen as the heart of the home, this Zeus kitchen from womag ( features an attractive white Silestone-top central workstation – the heart within the heart, so to speak. Ideal for hardworking kitchens, silestone, which comprises over 90% engineered quartz, is the next step in countertop evolution as it has built-in antibacterial properties. We love the freshness the white station adds to this kitchen – and the fact that it looks like it’s hovering above the dark wooden floor makes it even more of a talking point.

Kitchens 1-2-3

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John Dammermann, marketing director of Easylife Kitchens (, lays out his three-point plan of action for remodelling a kitchen:

  • Choose your supplier: first get quotes (at least three), then choose a kitchen maker who is a member of the Kitchen Specialist Association (KSA) – this to protect your deposit and to ensure the work carried out is in line with industry standards (
  • Draw up a time line: any alteration has its inconveniences so planning is key.
  • Make decisions early: deciding upfront on your fittings and finishes will help you plan (and stick to) a budget.

Knock Knock…

Recently launched in SA and part of the Generation 6000 range of dishwashers is Miele’s new Knock2Open. The awardwinning appliance maker has considered the popularity of clean-lined, clutter-free kitchens in the design of this fully integrated machine, which has no handles or finger grooves, instead it opens automatically (and silently) when you merely tap it twice on the door.

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