By Tomas P Hinton, Founder and Head Designer of Tomas Kitchen Living
When it comes to laying out an open-plan Living Kitchen space, it’s vital to get the balance between the different zones just right. When presented with architectural plans and a big empty space, it can seem daunting – especially if your builder is breathing down your neck because he really needs to know (by 2pm) where the ducting for your BORA vented induction hob is going!
That’s just an example of course, but if you can get everything planned in advance, so much the better. What is that annoying expression about ‘getting all your ducks in row’ ?!! OK, so where to begin, you may well ask…
Each designer will have their own approach, but for me I tend to draw up plans with the end users at the other end of the desk (or a zoom link) looking at a shared screen, so we can bat ideas back and forth. I call this collaborative process liveDESIGN and it has been successfully deployed for over 14 years now.
From my point of view, it takes out all the guess work and avoids wasting time designing something that may contain an element that isn’t required. For me, this strong and direct communication is the vital key to unlocking the optimum layout for a truly great kitchen and associated living spaces.
Whether I’m working with clients at our beautiful showrooms in North London, St Albans or Cambridge, the principles of good design are always the same, yet each client and space is different and so is each solution – this makes my job really interesting!
Deciding the size of the actual kitchen will often be determined by the amount of space the dining table requires. So one of the first questions I might ask is about the table – is it an existing one to be used, if so how big is it and does it extend. If not we may start a conversation about our Danish Furniture (Carl Hansen & Son, GUBI, Fritz Hansen) or own Turner Tables (made in a huge range of sizes at our dedicated production centre at Tomas Cambridge). It’s a bit embarrassing, as I always feel like I’m ‘up-selling’ something at this point – and we’ve not even started discussing the kitchen yet, but it is very relevant (and our tables are superb by the way) .
What is important is to allow enough space for everything to balance. Don’t make the kitchen too big (because you’re worried about not having enough storage) and then squash up the dining table. Better to have the kitchen more compact and storage solutions elsewhere in the space. This could be in the form of a family heirloom, something antique/vintage or even (dare I say it) something from the CASE Collection – that’s our exquisite range of free-standing cabinets.
This is what I mean about getting the balance just right. I prefer to have a wonderful room with a wonderful kitchen in it – rather than having a massive kitchen than wipes out the room (if that makes sense)?
There’s so much more to discuss – in addition to the actual nitty-gritty of laying out the working kitchen and spec’ing up the appliances (Siemens, Miele, Bora, Fisher & Paykel, Liebherr) , countertops (Caesarstone, Corian, Dekton, Silestone), taps (Abode, Blanco, Quooker, MGS)… we need to think about the space as one entity. This means floor finishes (Kahrs, Large Format Porcelain), wall colours, soft furnishings (Kvadrat Ready-Made) all have to be considered at the same time as choosing the colours for the actual kitchen. Lighting is another vital component and another topic for another day!