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Top 10 new and inspiring kitchen features

The kitchen is the hardest working room and the heart of any home. The latest trend is to show off your stuff on floating shelves with that sleek, minimalistic look that makes even small kitchens look bigger.


1.    Amazing interplay between lighting and surfaces

Inspiring Kitchens 1Photo: HGTV

“There’s a lot of interesting things going on in here,” one of my art teachers used to say about every piece of art I ever produced. I’m pretty sure it was the most positive thing he could think of to say. But in the kitchen shown above, there really are a lot of interesting things going on. Especially in the way the different types of lighting play on the different types of surfaces – the downlights bringing out the strength of the woodgrain, for example, and the underlighting sparkling on the pebbled splashback and gleaming off the copper benchtops, and even the patterned shadows thrown by the pendant lamps on the ceiling.   


2.    Innovative surfaces


Inspiring Kitchens 2
Photo: NZ House and Garden

While we love natural surfaces such as the woodgrain in the previous photo, there’s a lot to be said for the greater versatility and functionality of manmade surfaces. Want a high gloss and in-your-face colours? Try the new Formica AR+ range, available in 20 extroverted colours including Wasabi as in the pic above. We challenge you to tell the difference between Formica 180fx’s replication of natural stones such as Cararra marble, and the real thing. And NZ House and Garden reckons that the new colours of Caesarstone, a durable engineered surface that mimics stones such as granite, sound good enough to eat – Shitake (mushroom), Wild Rice (mid brown), Cocoa Fudge (warm brown) and Crème Brule (soft creams). Yummy!



3.    Flooring that can take the knocks

Inspiring Kitchens 3
Photo: Karndean Flooring

The kitchen is the hardest working room and the heart of any home. As a result, many kitchen designers have shied away from natural flooring materials that could suffer from excess wear and damage from drops or water leakage. But more and more manufacturers such as Karndean are coming out with flooring alternatives that look natural and natural but are as tough as nails.



4.    Open shelving

Inspiring Kitchens 4

It used to be that kitchen stuff had to be hidden away in clunky overhead cabinets. But the latest trend is to show off your stuff on floating shelves with that sleek, minimalistic look that makes even small kitchens look bigger.



5.    Drawers and cupboards that open with a touch of a finger … or knee


Inspiring Kitchens 5
Photo: Blum

Got your hands full? Now all you need is a single touch – you can even use your knee, hip or toe – and hey presto, your waste pull-out opens automatically. If you have a Blum Servo-drive Uno, that is. Surfaces stay clean and the waste goes in the bin. Easy.


 Inspiring Kitchens 6

Blum even offers lift systems for large and heavy overhead doors.



6.    Clever and versatile storage space


Inspiring Kitchens 7 

Find the cabinets which are most suited to your personal requirements. Clever cabinet solutions aid efficient work flows in the kitchen. The space available can be optimally utilised. In terms of practicality, items which are needed for the same kitchen tasks can be stored together. Everything is thus conveniently to hand. Select the relevant cabinet and discover the most varied range of practical solutions for your kitchen.



7.    Benchtops designed to be exactly the right height for you


 Inspiring Kitchens 8

Photo: Blum

Inspiring Kitchens 9



How do you know what the right height for your benchtop is? The distance between the work top and your elbows should be 10–15 cm, according to Blum, the kitchen storage makers. This woman’s benchtop is about right. As you can see from the diagram at left, the base of the cabinet under the benchtop should also be adjusted to provide sufficient usable storage space.





8.    Industrial Chic


Inspiring Kitchens 10
Photo: Home magazine

I was fortunate to have Paul Dibble and John Reynolds as my teachers for Form 6 Art. Mr Dibble went on to become one of New Zealand’s foremost sculptors and the creator of the New Zealand War Memorial in Hyde Park, London. Mr Reynolds went on to become one of New Zealand’s leading artists, an Arts Foundation Laureate and two-time Walters Prize nominee. I don’t know what Mr Dibble’s kitchen looks like, but I recently discovered in Home magazine the industrial chic kitchen in Mr Reynolds’ recently renovated Ponsonby villa. He evidently designed the amazing glass splashback himself.



9.    Innovation from New Zealand manufacturers


Inspiring kitchens 11
Photo: Fisher & Paykel

We’re used to thinking that European appliance makers rule the roost when it comes to innovation and style, but our very own Fisher & Paykel is no slouch when it comes to competing with their European counterparts. This year the company received further international recognition for its innovation in design with another two iF Design Awards for its Gas Flush on Steel cooktop (pictured above) and The Kitchen Tools website for architects and designers.



10.     Black and white


Inspiring kitchens 12
Photo: Pzazz Building

This is one of ours. Note the stark contrast between the black and white colour scheme, the chef’s gas range and oven, the carefully thought-out workspace, and the superb workmanship!

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