Breathe new life into your kitchen with the latest surfaces, finishings and fittings.
The Silestone collection from Cosentino looks like actual marble, but is actually made of 94 per cent natural quartz, that’s stronger and longer-lasting.
Dekton XGloss Natural in Tundra, from Cosentino.
Silestone Eternal Calcatta Gold, from Cosentino.
5131 Calcutta Nuvo, from Caesarstone.
Real marble may be gorgeous to look at but it is very porous and troublesome to maintain: It requires polishing and waxing, and is easily susceptible to chips and cracks. Opt for man-made and highly durable quartz instead. According to the director of The 80’s Studio Andy Tan, quartz, which comprises of binding resins and the natural hard mineral itself, is non-porous and very resilient to stains and scratches. “The design of quartz surfaces has also improved in recent years, from speckles to beautiful grains that resemble real marble,” says akiHAUS Design Studio’s director, Lawrence Puah. “So with quartz surfaces, you get the same luxe look, but with better resistance and at a lower price compared to real marble.”
A unique backsplash dramatically enhances the overall look of the kitchen.
Wood-finished laminates from Kompac Plus give the kitchen a homely vibe.
"Grey grouting is less conspicuous and easier to maintain. Chevron tiles from Hafary."
MAKE A (BACK)SPLASH
From ceramic tiles to glass and stainless steel, your kitchen backsplash acts as a decorative focal point. More importantly, it safeguards your wall from oil splatters and water spills. “The main concern is the joints, because this is where dirt is trapped,” Lawrence notes. “Glass is a good option because the standard size is up to 2.4 m long, often enough to cover an entire stretch of wall without the need for joints. Another good option would be to use the same countertop material as the backsplash, though this is a lot pricier.”
Facelift Design & Interior’s principal designer Amilia Gani recommends Japanese CERARL, a lightweight 3-mm thin laminated fibreglass board that is non-flammable, waterproof, antibacterial and aesthetically pleasing, which thus works great as a substitute for tempered glass and stainless steel.
If you do opt for a tiled backsplash, Amilia suggests opting for neutral grey grouting for easy long term maintenance, instead of stark white. “Nobody likes staring at yellowish grout lines,” she says.
These shiny faucets fuse form and function so that every second spent at the sink is not wasted
The sleek and extendable Metris Select kitchen mixer from Hansgrohe has a nifty on/off button on the spout that provides greater convenience.
Save more water with the beautiful chrome finished Taut kitchen faucet (eco version) from Kohler, that limits water flow to 6.8 litres per minute instead of the usual nine.
Polished silver meets matte black in the Kitania Series pull out kitchen mixer from Tuscani Tapware, which features a flexible nozzle for enhanced versatility.
Have a good storage system. Use bottom drawers for daily items, the cabinet above the counter for items used occasionally and top storage cabinets for rarely used items, according to Amilia.
When it comes to storage, all it takes is some clever design tricks to maximise the space you have, even in a petite kitchen. “Always design the lower cabinets as drawers,” Lawrence advises. “With deep shelves and cabinets, you usually end up with two layers of wares which are not only difficult to access, but you eventually forget what’s in the back. With drawers, you’ll be able to pull them out and see everything.”
He continues, “Design drawers that can accommodate different types of wares, from pots, to plates & bowls, to cutlery. This way you make efficient use of the space, such that even a small kitchen will serve your needs well.” Amilia proposes using shallow drawers for kitchen tools, medium depth ones for pantry items, and deeper drawers for heavier or bulkier items like pots and pans.
If changing cabinet doors to drawers is too troublesome, Andy suggests installing pullout organisers or baskets that help you reach items with ease. He also recommends incorporating a pullout table that cleverly doubles up as extra food prep or dining space.
Maximise countertop space with Ewins’ ATIM extendable table (either pull-out or two-leaf foldaway), which can be mounted within a standard size drawer compartment and modified to suit your needs.
The next125 Le Mans corner base unit from W. Atelier features two pullout shelves that swivel smoothly and quietly out, letting you stow away and retrieve items at the back easily.
"Wood-finished laminates from Kompac Plus give the kitchen a homely vibe."
If your wooden cabinet doors are looking a bit dated or worn out, replace them with the latest high pressure laminates (HPL) that are both practical and stylish. “HPLs are more durable and better resistant to frequent knocks and chips than low pressure laminates, which makes them suitable for high traffic cabinet areas,” Andy advises.
“Laminates are a good alternative to solid wood, both in terms of cost and performance,” Lawrence says. “Made of plastic, paper and ply, they’re relatively impervious compared to veneer, which is porous and more expensive.” He shares that laminates have also come a long way in design, with many now mimicking real natural materials like wood and stone, so you’re bound to find one that best suits your style and taste.
“Ultra matte laminates are the top picks for quality cabinet finishes these days,” Amilia says. The latest ones have innovative anti finger print and anti-grease features, which makes them super easy to clean and also more resistant to grime.
Clockwise: Linen Walk The Line DWN 2662SC high pressure laminate, from EDL Euro; 5027 Classic Caramel high pressure laminate, from Greenlam; 80.50 Saranno Elm, from Kompac Plus; Xtreme Majestic camphor light, from Admira.
Modernise cupboards and drawers by switching out old hardware for these elegant pulls and knobs
Cassadie handle in brass and black, $40.38, from The Design Hunter.
BAGGANÄS knobs in brass, $5.90 for two pieces, from IKEA.
Brass drawer pull, from $59, from LavaVella.
PHOTOS: JOHN PAUL URIZAR/BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU, COSENTINO, ADMIRA, EWINS, W. ATELIER, KOMPAC PLUS