Kitchens and bathrooms are the biggest home value adders and set the design tone for the rest of your house.
The key is to make them both functional and beautiful and a reflection of your own personal design style.
With so many home owners now saying the kitchen is the hub of their home and where family and friends congregate, it’s so important to spend time designing the best kitchen you can afford on your budget.
I always advise people that the key with kitchens is to get the layout right – benchtops and cabinetry can be refreshed at the ten year mark but changing a poor kitchen layout is what will cost you big bucks.
With multiple family members now using the kitchen at the same time, the 5 Zone kitchen layout is king. It is a way of defining the 5 key work areas in a kitchen – the two storage zones for food items and items like plates and cups (which should be near the dishwasher), the cleaning zone (sink and rubbish area) and the cooking and preparation zones.
Paying attention to the principles of the 5 Zone layout will mean the end result will be a highly functioning kitchen that every member of the family can enjoy (even at the same time!). Once the layout is locked in, consider clever storage solutions like pull-out pantries, blind corner systems, drawer dividers and integrated rubbish systems.
We’re really spoilt for choice these days when it comes to kitchen surfaces, colours and materials and the great thing is that manufacturers are producing materials for kitchens that not only look beautiful, but are also super durable. As to the finishing touches – pay attention to tapware and cabinetry handle choices – these can make or break a kitchen.
I designed six very different bathrooms for G.J. Gardner Homes, but what they all have in common is a sense of space and functionality – they are practical, uncluttered and feature long-lasting finishes, like easy clean surfaces. As is the case with the kitchen, as long as you get your bathroom floor plan right first up, it’s actually quite easy and cost effective to change benchtops and tapware in the future.
When designing your bathroom, think about the overall aesthetic of your house and bring those same colours and textures in to your bathroom surfaces. Storage is critical in busy bathrooms so consider how you can incorporate under-bench storage, face-level storage such as shaving cabinets and shelves and clever storage solutions in dead zones such as behind and above the toilet.
The best advice I can give when it comes to bathroom fittings is to pay attention to the shape and finish of your fittings – they will look best if they are all the same shape and finish.