Planning a new kitchen is one of our biggest investments – financially and emotionally. A well thought-out kitchen should address the changing needs of a modern family, which frequently means offering efficient cooking space, a dining area and somewhere that is effectively the hub of the home.
Over the past few years, kitchen style has become increasingly glossy and streamlined. But, for 2014, there is more of a leaning towards a ‘warmed-up’ feel, with exposed bricks, reclaimed woods and natural elements being used to give a rough-hewn yet luxury feel to modern-day kitchens. Jennifer Shaw, owner of kitchen specialist Kitchenology has seen first-hand the increase in the ‘tasteful rustic’ look:
“Natural materials – especially woods – are making a comeback,” she reveals. “They give more of a homely feel compared to using super-slick finishes all in the same colour, which has been very popular up to late. I’ve noticed people are beginning to mix wood surfaces with their high gloss units. It makes for a warmer feel in the kitchen. Another trend is the new ceramicfronted kitchens, such as the German AlnoStar Cera range, which we supply. It’s a new way of using a natural material and is proving really popular.”
The growing penchant for concrete flooring, open shelving and stainless steel units evokes an industrial feel – think New York warehouse apartment of the 1980s – but this time with an added luxe factor. The trend reflects our growing appetite for an eco-friendly environment and by using various finishes, perhaps mixed in with a few choice vintage accessories, you can achieve a wonderful ‘layered’ design and eclectic effect.
‘Reclaimed woods, industrial surfaces and finishes that have character work well against super-tech appliances’
It is the contrast that is the key factor to this look. By blending hardwearing flooring, characterful woods and a twinkling chandelier, for example, you can achieve an individual kitchen which is practical yet bang up-to-date. At Nicholas Anthony, the Cambridge-based luxury kitchen company, managing director Tony Nicholas agrees that authenticity and originality is key for 2014.
“Clients want something different and unique for their house, but they also want a style which will not date,” he says. “Reclaimed woods, industrial surfaces and finishes that have character work well against super-tech appliances and you can easily make each kitchen bespoke. Nicholas Anthony prides itself on offering great-looking kitchens that fuse form and function,” he comments.
For those looking for a quick update, consider simply changing one element of your room for a dramatic effect. Revamp flooring, for instance, by choosing the new ‘worn’ finishes. Flooring experts Urbane Living have a wide selection of carefully sourced timber floorboards, such as the Worn Engineered Oak Flooring, which comes in wonderfully wide boards. Each board is crafted by hand and has a lightly distressed appearance, as if it has been naturally aged.
At Cambridge-based Granite Transformations, meanwhile, you can re-imagine your kitchen surfaces without the upheaval of tearing out the old, with its ‘top that fits on top’ philosophy. As well as its many granite options, it supplies a choice of characterful quartz agglomerate surfaces, made from a hard mineral rock that originates from sandstone, and which displays the natural features and tones of quartzite.
Perhaps fitting this trend most are the striking rough-cut front edge worktops available at luxury kitchen designers Rencraft. “We are seeing lots of interest in creating a more stripped-back raw look,” says John Stephens, director of Rencraft. He continues, “This rustic look fits nicely with our rough-cut edge worktops, giving an industrial yet homely feel. They give a unique contrast to the smooth surface of cabinetry and can be complemented with simple brick splashbacks and wire accessories.”
Next up: We explore the trend for New Metals…