If the size, shape or style of the kitchen in your home doesnt bear any resemblance to the one in your dreams, its time to call in the experts. Sometimes, a talented kitchen designer will be able to suggest structural tweaks that create a better space, but for anything that extends beyond the units and layout, you may well benefit from extra help.
The most successful kitchens with a fabulous island, seamless transition into the garden and beautifully coordinated soft seating are now rarely the work of just one design talent. Theyre usually created by a crack team of kitchen designer, architect and interior designer working in tandem to open up ceilings, knock down walls and coordinate surfaces, colours and finishing touches. Creating more space or natural light tops the wishlist of major changes, closely followed by the desire for a more sociable or multifunctional scheme, then increased storage, improved flow and design cohesion.
Unless your project is relatively simple, it makes sense to at least talk to a kitchen designer, architect and/or interior designer about your options. Going beyond mere fabric coordination, interior designers excel at creating an inviting atmosphere, establishing focal points and softening the kitchens hard surfaces.
Creating colour schemes that will work across the entire room and beyond is an art
that many struggle to pull off. A skilled interior designer will create moodboards that reflect your style and taste, and recommend colours and patterns that you might not have considered. They are also great at introducing different textures and materials that will soften the space and make it feel more homely and welcoming.
FINDING THE RIGHT PERSON
When you are inviting any professional to make significant alterations to your home, its always reassuring if they come highly recommended. Ask friends and family, post on social networks or introduce yourself to the owners of properties in the area who are having similar work done. Your kitchen designer, who will be familiar with local architects and interior designers, can also advise on potential candidates. If a particular practice has caused endless headaches on a previous install, or has a reputation for running over schedule, your kitchen designer probably wont hold back.
The architect and interior design industries are both supported by professional bodies that can provide a shortlist of members in your area. Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) offers the peace of mind that its accredited practices comply with strict criteria regarding insurance, health and safety, and quality management systems. British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) is similarly scrupulous about its members, who must follow a stringent code of conduct.
Your initial meeting with an interior designer is the time to establish if they get your desired style. Though any good interior designer will be flexible, they often have a signature look that their customers buy into, or they might have a stronger skill-set in either traditional or contemporary design. Seek a designer that can translate your ideas you want to come away from a meeting feeling inspired rather than anxious.
'Add accessories to make your kitchen welcoming. I began collecting old tea towels from charity shops a while ago and I'm thinking of framing some to hang in my new kitchen. Another idea is to transform kitchen chairs with vivid gloss paint and a retro-geometric print made up into seat cushions.'
'Go for something with a real wow factor, such as thick concrete work surfaces, a glass splashback lit from behind with fibre optics, or a statement extractor. If choosing granite, lay it with the reverse side up, as this has a dull finish which is far more attractive.'