While the definitions of freestanding and modular kitchen furniture might be open to interpretation, one thing is certain; this type of furniture will give your room a dramatically different look from a standard scheme. ‘Modular and freestanding furniture allows you to blend different styles to give more of an eclectic mix, which isn't so readily achievable with runs of fitted furniture,' says Bill Schilling of Kaizen Furniture. ‘It can also give a room a sense of space, freedom and visual excitement. If you like this style and your designer has worked closely with you to ensure all your needs for fit are met, there can be no real drawbacks.'
Just as with a fitted kitchen, the design has to be carefully considered, so everything works as one. However, there can be challenges when it comes to incorporating and concealing services, such as gas, water and electrics, as there are fewer places to hide pipes and cables. Often, the design will be tailored to factor them in, with wires disguised within island legs or specially created pieces of furniture. Another option is turning these elements into features in their own right, with exposed copper pipework looking especially striking in an industrial-style salvage kitchen.
While the unfitted or modular look works best in a large room, it can be adapted to work in a compact space with carefully chosen pieces. Freestanding kitchens or wall-hung furniture frees up more floor area for a more spacious feel, while a butcher's block on castors can double up as an island unit, then pushed to the side when not in use.
Look for a range of modular units with many options and plenty of scope. Shown here are the matt black anodised aluminium-framed doors, 6mm metal front panels with copper finishing, water-painted Olivato ash breakfast bar and black lava worktops, Salinas kitchen (above) by Boffi, price on application.
Brought to order
Paring back kitchen furniture to its basic functions will give a minimal feel, but still offer a comfortable place to cook. Bulthaup's b2 range (above) is based on a workshop concept, with an island resembling a workbench. Services are incorporated into pipes contained in a flexible tube beneath the bench, while lidded power outlets are concealed at the edges of the unit. Kitchen tool cabinet with aluminium and maple shelves and appliance cabinet in walnut veneer, with a stainless-steel workbench, price on application.
Make a stand
Visible legs are a key part of the freestanding and modular look. However, rather than minimising their appearance, they can become a pivotal part of the design itself by oversizing and extending them to form structural supports. Shown above is the Moon Gola kitchen in white satin laminate with a 5mm stainless-steel worksurface and fumed oak breakfast bar by Modulnova. Kitchens start at £25,000 from DesignSpaceLondon
Freestanding is a great choice for country and classic looks. Above, the slatted design of the freestanding islands echoes the beautiful tongue-and-groove wall panelling. Handmade bespoke Real Shaker kitchen in tulipwood and birch ply, with rustic oak worktops, from £8,000, deVOL
Proving that small can be beautiful, a well-ordered design will allow you to make the most of the space. Keep the look light and airy with a pale floor and include mirrored elements to reflect light. Designer Collection kitchen in hand-painted Level 1 finish solid timber by Chalon. Kitchens start at £25,000.
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