Eye of the Beholder

If you ask me, a good kitchen is all about simplicity. By that, I mean that the necessities should be foregrounded over the latest bells and whistles that no one actually wants or needs. This is all in the eye of the beholder, of course – one man’s fluff is another’s top priority. It all depends what the kitchen is used for, and when, and by whom.

I mean, LED lights in the underside of a bench might actually be quite important to you, if you’re regularly using your kitchen for evening cocktail parties. In most cases, though, they’re going to be a distraction from things that could actually be useful. By the same token, space-saving, glide-out pan hanging systems might be just the ticket for those among us who like to cook, but a complete waste of money for someone who only uses their kitchen for cocktails. 

I wasn’t always such an advocate of the ‘made-to-measure’ approach. Most of the kitchen design companies around Melbourne tend to be either all-out custom, or completely generic, and it just seemed easier to opt for the latter. I mean, when it comes down to it, everyone has basically the same set of needs from their kitchen – or so I thought. I’ve come to realise that everyone has different priorities when it comes to this seemingly straightforward area of the home. 

Furthermore, I’ve realised that there’s no such thing as an ‘essential’ feature, at least not in objective terms – not even when it comes to seemingly non-negotiable inclusions, like an oven or ample bench space. I’m serious. It seems that some people would actively prefer a little hole-in-the-wall for their bar fridge and snack cabinet, maybe with a single hot plate, than a whole room dedicated to food storage and preparation. Bizarre, I know, but there you have it. 

This is not a question of whether one way of designing a kitchen is better than another. It’s about not being bound by convention, and instead using it as a jumping-off point to give people a space they’ll actually want to use.