16 January 2018
By portermathewsblog


7 Ways to Stop Hating Your Small KitchenImage Source: A Beautiful Mess


So what if size isn’t on your kitchen’s side? You know the old “fake it ’til you make it” saying? Well, it applies to kitchen design, too! So, if your cook space’s dimensions have got you down, try these easy, foolproof tricks to make your kitchen feel and look bigger than it actually is.

Install a Vertical Backsplash

Install a Vertical BacksplashImage Source: Annie Schlechter for Domino

Want to visually increase your room’s dimensions? Simply turn subway tile on its head. Laying out the tiles vertically (rather than horizontally) draws the eye upward, making a kitchen ceiling appear taller than it actually is.

2. Open the Room Up With Open Shelving

Open the Room Up With Open ShelvingImage Source: Jeremy Liebman for Domino

Too many upper cabinets can make a tiny kitchen look top-heavy. Try removing a few and replace them with open shelving instead. Not only will your kitchen instantly open up, but you can show off prized cookware and accessories, too.

3. Lengthen With a Runner

Lengthen With a Runner
Image Source: House*Tweaking

For a quick and inexpensive way to make a kitchen look longer, simply add a graphic runner. Occasionally changing out the runner will give your kitchen a new look with little effort.

4. Save Space With Stools

Save Space With StoolsImage Source: domino

No room for a spacious kitchen table and chairs? Choose a narrow dining table with stools or benches that can tuck under the table. This set-up allows for better traffic flow while avoiding over-crowding your kitchen.

5. Get Your Shine On

Get Your Shine OnImage Source: domino

Even if you are shine-inclined, subtly reflective materials can help a kitchen feels larger by bouncing around natural light. Our faves: lacquered cabinets and reflective backsplash tiles.


6. Work With What You Have

Work With What You HaveImage Source: domino

Studio living can be tricky, especially since your living and sleeping quarters are limited to one room. This kitchen makes the most of the space with open shelving, a gallery wall, and even a TV! With clever arranging, you can cook and have your cable too!


7. Think Up

Think UpImage Source: hoto by Ditte Isager. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2010.

Short on space? Think up! Pot racks are a great way to free up limited cabinet and counter space. If you’re on a budget, consider this affordable option.



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20 November 2017
By portermathewsblog

Jane Hone via

If there’s one room in your house that needs to be functional, surely it’s the kitchen. So what’s the secret to ensuring that your kitchen works in the most functional way?

Architects and designers agree that if there were one magic ingredient to kitchen design, it would be the “kitchen work triangle”.

For the uninitiated, the work triangle is a design principle in which the three most utilised components of a kitchen—usually the fridge, stovetop and sink—are within easy reach of each other, traditionally in the shape of a triangle. The idea is that you only need to take minimal steps to move between each point.

Ema House. Architect: Evelyn McNamara Architects.Ema House. Architect: Evelyn McNamara Architects. Photo: Jeremy Toth

“The maximum steps are two to three,” says interior designer Fiona Lynch, who has designed hundreds of kitchens, all with some form of work triangle. “Any more than that and you’re going to get a workout while cooking – but it’s probably not good if you’re trying not to burn something!”

Interior designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb agrees. “Kitchens that are planned with the sink, stove and fridge in a triangular formation are generally more efficient and ergonomic to use”.

“You definitely work faster in a well-planned kitchen.”

Hahei House. Architect: Studio2 Architects.Hahei House. Architect: Studio2 Architects. Photo: Simon Wilson

It’s a concept that was first developed in the 1940s by design researchers from the University of Illinois, who gave very specific guidelines on how the work triangle was to function.

There should be between four and seven feet (1.22 and 2.13 metres) between the refrigerator and sink, they said, four to six feet between the sink and stovetop, and four to nine feet between the stove and fridge. There was also to be as little foot traffic crossing the triangle as possible.

Of course, kitchens today are not the same as the standard kitchen of the 1940s. We are seeing more open-plan designs, for example, rather than a separate kitchen, which actually makes the work triangle even more important.

Seddon House. Designers: Red Door Project Photographer.Seddon House. Designers: Red Door Project Photographer. Photo: Shannon McGrath

“People are wanting very large kitchens,” says Lynch. “Often the most functional kitchens are quite small. Some houses seem to be getting bigger, but [you need to make sure] that the triangle still works.”

On the other hand, there are more people living in small inner-city apartments. Gomes-McNabb says that in these spaces, the components might be arranged in a linear style. However, the basic idea of these three points remains.

Architect Brad Swartz suggests making sure the spice rack is within easy reach of the stovetop, and refers to a decent amount of bench space as the “fourth element” of good kitchen design.

Imo's Modular Kitchen. Designers: IMO KXN.Imo’s Modular Kitchen. Designers: IMO KXN. Photo: Toaki Okano

“I’ll typically push the cooktop to one side and the sink to the other side so you can then have a good space between for preparing food,” he says. “Also, a slightly deeper-than-standard bench top is really nice. A standard bench top is 600mm deep, but if you do one that is 650 or 700, you can do two sets of plates, front and back.”

Nick James of Architecture Architecture adds that the bench height should be tailored to homeowners for maximum cooking efficiency and that using island benches in work triangles isn’t for everyone.

“People either love it or hate it because the dishes end up piling up on the island bench,” he says.

Sayes Stock House. Architect: Sayes Studio.Architect Chloe Naughton points out that there should be ample space on which to place hot or heavy dishes and that kitchen designers should be careful when it comes to galley-style kitchens.

“The distance between either side of the kitchen is key to the triangle working successfully,” she says. “If the space between is too large, it seems to interrupt the flow of the kitchen.”

The good news is that once you’ve got the flow of the kitchen down pat, you can set about making the place look beautiful.

“If you get the kitchen design right, you can go to town on the aesthetics,” says James.

Sayes Stock House. Architect: Sayes Studio. Photo: Simon Wilson


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20 November 2017
By portermathewsblog

Kate Shaw via

When it comes to dream kitchens, there are two elements that feature highly on Australians’ must-have lists – a generous island bench, and bi-fold windows to connect the kitchen space with a family-friendly outdoor area. Why not take the concept one step further and install a kitchen servery – combining a kitchen island and alfresco dining in one? Take a look at these great spaces and be inspired to add some cafe-style cool to your home. Even better, if you’ve got the window, the benchtop is weekend-DIY friendly.

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