Move With The Times

Luxury Home Design

Issue 15.3/June

Words Tatyana Leonov

 

Kitchen design can range from super-suave to, well, bad. Here, Luxury Home Design chats to the experts about smart and beautiful design — and the components that make it so aesthetically pleasing.

Smart design

Smart kitchens are beginning to engage with us through automation. By touching a door or drawer they can open effortlessly, making use of space a lot simpler; inferred switches can control moving benches or appliance cabinets that “pop” out of tall cabinets; walls of joinery can conceal a kitchen, then when the kitchen is needed it can reveal itself for function (great for small spaces). - Simona Castagna, co-founder of Minosa.

Geometry is also having an effect on kitchen design this year, with various heights and depths being introduced not only to create interesting designs, but also to focus on making kitchens more ergonomically practical. This was a feature introduced by German manufacturers years ago, but through the availability and popularity of various kitchen components is becoming more widely used. - Colin Wright, Porcelanosa Studio.

Beautiful design

Design aesthetic should always be driven by the client and how they function within the space. Heights and depths depend on clients’ requirements; extra drawer depths are sometimes needed with varying heights, depending on the desired function. Preparation spaces and set-down spaces for groceries, or informal sitting areas for light meals or social interactions, are becoming very popular. - Simona Castagna, co-founder of Minosa.

Integration

Integration is seen in the increased inclusion of open shelves within kitchen designs — where accessories can be dovetailed into adjoining areas and where social zones are defined. Subtle overhangs, bridges and open spaces are being incorporated into various looks this year. This is a clever design element that maintains benchtop space, yet also increases perceived floor space by allowing the flooring to run through and underneath — particularly useful in smaller open-plan areas. - Colin Wright, Porcelanosa Studio.

Over the past few years we have started to see integration of appliances becoming more and more common. Far from being a trend, integrating appliances is a must. In the past, these appliances have been expensive and out of reach for most people. At Taste we believe that European design is for all and we have exclusively sourced a collection of integrated appliances from our Slovenian partner, Gorenje. We have integrated fridges and dishwashers that are a perfect fit with our state-of-the-art German-manufactured kitchen cabinetry. The greatest benefit of integrated appliances is to the aesthetics of the kitchen. While fridges and appliances tend to dominate the space, with the introduction of integrated appliances, the kitchen immediately becomes a piece of joinery. This allows things such as texture and finishes to be the ‘heroes’ of the space rather than the appliances. - Jenny O’Connell, Taste Living’s head of kitchen products and design.

Over the decades we have seen the emergence of the open-plan kitchen, where walls have come down to bring the kitchen into the home. We are now seeing the kitchen space as a place of meet, socialise and eat — a real centre stage in the modern home. In my opinion, breakfast bars are becoming less popular (unless you are a chef who cooks and talks) and these are being substituted for a more social integrated table or bench space where people can sit face to face and interact better. - Darren Genner, co-founder of Minosa.

Texture

Texture continues to dominate the trends for 2012, and while high-gloss lacquers are still popular, we are now seeing an increased shift towards matt lacquers and a move away from the polyurethane doors that have been dominant for a number of years. Combine this matt texture with open-grain veneers and the result is a practical and luxuriously tactile combination. - Colin Wright, Porcelanosa Studio.

The right texture can liven up a completely white kitchen and give movement to an otherwise static environment. Kitchens are functional spaces that also need to be warm and inviting and natural textural finishes are a great way to do this. Texture in door fronts can be created through using glass, matt and gloss finishes and combining these. My favourite way to add texture is through the use of timber or natural materials, either through timber veneers, solid timber worktops or a new Matex- textured laminate that mimics natural timbers extremely well. Following on from a European trend in recent years, 2012 is the year of textured natural and eco finishes, with an increase in products with earthy and natural elements that are ecologically sound. Many of Taste Living kitchen suppliers are PEFC certified, meaning all the timber used in the kitchens is sourced and manufactured in an environmentally stable way. New to our collection are vintage rough-cut doors. These door fronts have been rough cut and then painted to project the look of recycled finishes. For the budget-conscious client, we also have Matex textured laminate that mimics this look. Another great new finish in our range is the Hacker Ceramic Basalt kitchen, a 3mm ceramic door finish with a stainless-steel edge. - Jenny O’Connell, Taste Living’s head of kitchen products and design.

Fluidity

The best way to bring fluidity into the kitchen is by using the same or similar materials, finishes and colours across kitchen, living and dining areas. Hacker, one of our kitchen brands at Taste, has developed a range designed specifically for this purpose. Named Comfort Elements, these are beautifully designed entertainment and credenza units that can be ordered in the same finishes as the kitchen. - Jenny O’Connell, Taste Living’s head of kitchen products and design.

 

The kitchen of celebrity chef Guy Grossi is a truly unique space with its clean lines, modern style and, of course, the exceptional EcoSmart Fire chosen by architect Nicholas Murray. The kitchen is both aesthetically pleasing and very functional, seeming to present an amalgamation of modern elements. The marble splashback gives the impression of water meandering and coursing along the back wall, while the flames of the unique fireplace offer an opposing force. The earthy browns used for the cupboard doors and floor complement the space that the high white ceiling promotes. All in all, the kitchen is a crisp, all-encompassing room that showcases variety in an exceptionally contemporary manner.

 

The soothing sound of the coffee grinder, the warm steaming milk, the froth, the luscious aroma ... who doesn’t love a coffee in the morning?

 

We use it throughout the day so it pays to get a kitchen sink mixer that fits in with your kitchen design and will work well for years to come

 

Basin basics

Bathrooms are inevitable high-traffic areas so it makes sense to choose a wash basin that balances form with function. We chat to designer Darren Genner, co-founder of Minosa, about how to choose the right one.

Q Where do I start?

A There are a number of collective factors to weigh up before selecting a basin that will suit your space. Some of these include hygienic qualities, maintenance needs, durability, environmental impact, size, mounting, appearance, feel, colour choice and the material the basin is made from.

Q What size wash basin will suit my space?

A Wash basins come in an array of sizes, shapes and forms. Each Minosa wash basin offers the flexibility of being wall- or above- counter mounted. Wall mounting will evoke a sense of floating, with less intrusion on a space, while above-counter mounting can be integrated with storage. Chunkier-style basins, such as Mimmee, are better suited to medium and larger-size bathrooms where their bold sculptural form can be fully appreciated. The clean lines and simplicity of the integrated bench-mounted ScoopED will evoke a minimalist ambience. The Puddle, which has free-flowing waste, is an ideal solution for powder rooms or bathroom situations, where damming of water isn’t required.

Q How can the shape of a wash basin change the look and feel of a bathroom?

A Today’s bathroom provides a tranquil escape from everyday bustle and stress. A beautifully refined wash basin can be a sculptural centrepiece or a discreet wall-mounted element. Different forms can change the mood of a bathroom. Scoop is designed to blend with its surroundings. It juxtaposes modern design with its shallow, subtle concaved surface while exuding a slickness that also caters for classic modern to edgy modern. Consistent with the current trend of integrating bench and bowl, ScoopED creates a very clean look which can be accentuated with tiles or mirror behind. The industrial, trough-style Mimmee has a sharp and crisp appearance and is most at home in more hard-edge bathrooms or where a design statement piece is sought. For those looking for a curved surface, the Puddle’s slight curvaceous organic shape will suit their space, while the Kava basin balances classic style with minimalist, timeless design. The attractive contradiction of classic organic form, combined with a striking hard edge in Minosa’s Ovo, caters to many bathroom styles, however its sensual aesthetic and shallow, simple outline favours contemporary settings.

Q How do I know the wash basin I select won’t cause annoying splash?

A It makes no difference whether a bowl is shallow, flat, deep or large. Preventing splash is all about having a tap with reduced water flow. Extensive research undertaken by Minosa has established that a water flow rate of 4-6L/min is perfectly adequate for performing daily bathing routines (as opposed to the industry average of 20L/min), meaning the water will actually conform to the shape of the bowl rather than repel against it.

Q Do I need a single or double basin?

A To help decide whether you need a single or double basin, consider how many times you actually need to use a basin at the same time as someone else. If it’s the mirror space that’s more keenly contested for use, Minosa’s ScoopED single basin with a larger mirror above or Hung Lift storage cabinet could be an option. Think about how much space you like to have as a work zone or a set-down space. ScoopED offers a choice of locations for the bowl within the bench, allowing one person to shave and the other to apply makeup either side. If a double bowl is a must, Double ScoopED has two lengths: 1600mm or 1800mm.

Q What’s the most environmentally responsible choice?

A Minosa basins in category two Corian® by Du PontTM contain 13 per cent recycled content. The shallow nature of Minosa basins are designed to work in conjunction with Minosa’s water-reduction device, potentially cutting 28,000L of water per basin per year. 

 

Taste Llum bathroom

Offering the perfect balance of nature and design, Taste Living’s Llum bathroom creates a unique atmosphere of modernity, functionality and sensitivity that is flexible enough to fit your lifestyle. The use of natural colours and spherical edges enhances a sense of pure relaxation, clearing the mind.

The Llum mirror is a new generation in reflection, with an innovative design featuring an in-built light and circular magnified mirror that ensures no element is overlooked. The vanity and wall-mounted cabinets offer a style that is both contemporary and succinct, with touches of cyclical shapes contrasted with clean lines.

A fresh take on the traditional rectangular bath is the oval-shaped bathing tub — moulding itself around the natural curves of the human body for superior comfort. As all the pieces of the Llum bathroom are brought together, you will see a convergence of innovation and trend in its most pure state.

 

Shower types

Looking for a shower solution? It’s not as simple as one, two, three. Tim Dawson, brand manager at Raymor, shares his knowledge and advice about the various options shower units.

- Rail shower — offers adjustable height by virtue of a rail attached to the wall. All these models have handsets that can be lifted and used as a hand shower as well — useful for rinsing off children and cleaning the shower cubicle.

- Hand shower — is a fixed-point shower with a moveable hand-held showerhead that can take the water to exactly where it’s required. Also useful for children and for cleaning the shower cubicle.

- Hi-rise shower — a showerhead affixed to a height-adjustable arm from the wall — convenient and easy to clean.

- Overhead shower — is a compact and sturdy showerhead that can either come from the wall or the ceiling, depending on the plumbing installation. There is a variety of arm options to ensure suitable shower height. Other ceiling-mounted designs include water tiles such as the Kohler WaterTile that are installed directly into the ceiling (best suited to standard ceiling heights).

 

Showerheads

Showerheads are available in the conventional, single-function style or the more popular multi- function showerhead, offering different spray patterns such as light shower, more powerful massaging spray, invigorating deluge etc. It should be noted that the highest WELS rating for a shower is 3-star WELS (9L/min) — and even those showers offering a “deluge” water pattern can, depending on the brand, deliver this within the 3-star WELS rating.