THE NOW KITCHEN

INTERIOR DESIGNER GEORGIE OATES OF RED CHAIR INTERIORS GIVES THE LOW-DOWN ON THE LATEST KITCHEN DESIGN TIPS, SO YOU TOO CAN BE THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS.

Personally, I am excited about how kitchen styles are moving into this industrial luxe vibe full of textural variation. We all want a beautiful kitchen that reflects our styles, personality and needs, but firstly it must stand up to its practical function. I believe there is a fine balance between having a showpiece that is also the heart of the home. So as long as it has soul, it is functional and it’s a happy place you want to hang, then I’m in!

Are you the next Master Chef, thriving on culinary challenges, the hostess with the mostess entertaining the masses, or someone who merely cooks for the hungry family just to keep the wolf from the door? Either way, the kitchen is where it happens. The day begins, with the breakfast cyclone madness, it ends with full tummies before lights out and it is where many hours are spent in between. It’s the most used space in the house and no wonder it is considered the heartbeat of the home!


Over the last 40-50 years the kitchen has slowly morphed into the new living room. It’s not only where food is prepared, but also its hub central where family and friends naturally want to hang out. I bet you have many memories of when you’ve sat around the kitchen table or island bench ‘til the wee hours of the morning laughing and swapping stories. Over the years, its open plan design has adhered to our social lifestyle; the modern kitchen is now built with comfort, efficiency and creativity. The 60s saw advancement in technology, lime green and PVC. The 70s were about self-expression, colourful appliances, and interesting colour schemes. The 80s, well, over the top and intense! Fast-forwarding nearly 30 years and what do we see for 2019?

MOOD SWING: Life is hectic enough, so we are seeing subdued, simple and soulful. “Scandi” is taking a back seat with matte surfaces that are pared back and industrial in a sleek way, mingled with materials such as metallic accents either found in cabinetry, metal trims and hardware. We will also see the timbers darken for elegance and added drama, a perfect harmony when mixed with light or coloured cabinetry and other textural elements.

COLOUR: Hello to black, navy and even khaki or Hunter green. Don’t worry, white is still there but not in its entirety, rather mixed with darker surfaces or splashes of colour for added interest. The calmness of pastel apricot pink will start to creep into cabinetry colour adding a softer palette option and co-incidentally the punchier cousin named “Living Coral” is the Pantone colour of 2019. Its pinky orange is bright and optimistic and is gorgeous against a dark moody pallete or even as an added accent to an existing white kitchen.

TEXTURES: Introduced in many ways! We are still seeing honed surfaces, such as concrete and marble for benchtops but also mid century modern terrazzo and oversized porcelain tiles becoming popular aswell. Splashbacks are being showcased as feature walls cladded in large format tiles or stone, reaching to ceiling heights, adding a featured backdrop to custom timber lined open shelving. Stainless steel appliances are becoming matte in gunmetal and black. Hardware and taps are the same, with a shift from highly polished chrome into warmer metal accents of black, bronze, brushed nickel, gunmetal and brown copper.

GLASS: There has been an obvious increase in the use of glass indoors, for internal doors, room dividers and in bathroom wet areas. Well, there’s no exception when it comes to kitchens. Fluted or Reeded glass is back in all its retro glory, planting its creasy composition firmly onto cabinetry doors, pantry dividers, skylights, glass shelves and pendant lighting. It is an ideal surface to break up the solidness of giant cabinetry and creates an intriguing texture and depth with the way it bends the light and obscurely hides the contents behind it. Framed by matte black cabinetry or steel – BANG!

CONCEALED AND CUSTOM: Kitchens are the next disappearing act – not seen not heard! Appliances are becoming concealed and hidden to create function behind the feature. Cooktops are sleek so they seem to disappear into the benchtop and bespoke cabinetry is designed to hide the mechanical workings of the kitchen. There is the increase in smart appliances and fully integrated technology. We will see Island benches having a dual purpose with preparation at one end and dining at the other. Even modular kitchens will increase with the rise of rental demand. Cabinets and workbenches will be mobile and flexible to the needs of the tenant. Sounds futuristic? It’s very much already happening!

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*This article was originally written for DOWNTOWN MAGAZINE.

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