Dream Kitchen

Traditional Rendering by Flemington Architects & Building Designers Pickell Architecture
The kitchen above, found on Houzz, is one of the loveliest I’ve ever seen.  It combines three elements I have included in our new kitchen; a wooden floor, white units and a bay window.
Twenty years ago I more or less designed the kitchen below and I find it quite interesting that I am still drawn to a similar look after all this time.
Our kitchen for the past 20 years.

Our kitchen for the past 20 years.

Aesthetics have always taken precedence over practicality for me (I wouldn’t have made a good Engineer…) and although I got the basic ‘triangle’ right, there would  be a few design changes I would make now, although the overall feel and appearance of the room worked for me then and still does.  I did make one change about 5 years ago and that was to knock a hole in the north-facing wall which separated the kitchen from the family room.
Hole knocked through to open kitchen up to the family room and garden.

Hole knocked through to open kitchen up to the family room and garden.

Fortunately we were able to match the granite top and could construct a new, wide countertop. It destroyed the symmetry which had been a feature of the kitchen and  I did lose some cupboard space and had to install a much smaller oven, which has sometimes been a hindrance. But the few disadvantages have been far outweighed by the advantages of being able to be part of the family room conversations, being able to keep up with rugby matches and Wimbledon from my position in front of the hob and having a view across the patio to the end of the garden.  I’ve loved it and would never choose to go back to an entirely separate, closed-off kitchen.
Stained Glass window in my present kitchen.  Something I'll be sad to leave behind.

Stained Glass window in my present kitchen. Something I’ll be sad to leave behind.

There are two aspects of my present kitchen that I wanted to change in the new one.  The first was to have a completely separate scullery section which is a help when you have one open-plan living space, and the second was to have direct access from the garage into the kitchen and we’ve managed to achieve this.  A door leads from the garage into a small laundry area which in turn leads into the scullery.  Good for stormy Highveld summers and for carrying in the groceries.
So, for quite a few months now, behind the scenes of the house-build, I’ve been discussing the kitchen design with Adri from Acube Designs who came highly recommended by Bernard, our architect.  Fortunately I took an instant liking to Adri and when I met Caspar, of Woodpecker  Creations, I took an instant liking to him too.  It makes everything a whole lot easier.
Adri and Caspar confirming measurements.

Adri and Caspar confirming measurements.

Although I had a pretty good idea of the sort of look I wanted to achieve, I also spent a lot of time browsing through various sites on Houzz and I took some inspiration from several photographs I saw there.   Friends made various suggestions too; one being that I should consider ‘two’ kitchens, a ‘front’ open plan one where all the finished products can be set out beautifully and a ‘back’ one where all the heavy-duty work goes on. The other suggestion was that I should have two dishwashers, side by side.  While the idea of two kitchens might be appealing, I have tried to keep very conscious of the fact that the biggest motivation to build this house was to Downsize and Simplify and that also applies to the sort of entertaining I expect to do.
Our present home has a separate, formal dining room and while I really enjoyed having that dedicated space when we moved here, over the past several years I have felt the need of it less and less as our way of eating and style of hosting friends has become more and more casual.
Our present separate diningroom.

Our present dining room.

The brief we gave Bernard for the new house, was to have one comfortable open-plan living area that included the kitchen.  I intend shrinking our antique dining room table down to its smallest size and using it in the library area as a writing and jigsaw puzzle surface.
Piano in the dining room will have to go into storage.

Piano in the dining room will have to go into storage.

A few years ago I became aware of a South African furniture designer and manufacturer called Pierre Cronje.  A lot of his designs refer back to old Cape furniture designs and are slightly rugged without being rough.  I love his style and have chosen one of his tables to take the place of the old mahogany one.   I have been out to his Johannesburg showroom twice in the last week.  I could make a habit of it.
Pierre Cronje
So the new house will not have a dining room as such, but only a table dividing the seating area from the kitchen.  I can see it clearly in my head and I just hope it will turn out in the way I envisage it.
Beach Style Kitchen by Beverly Interior Designers & Decorators Siemasko + Verbridge
Once again, in the photo above, I like the combination of the wooden floors and white units.  We have also included bookshelves in the island in the new kitchen. 
The two photographs below, both from Houzz, got me really excited and I have asked Adri and Caspar to include two similar drawers in our new kitchen.  Although it looks like such an obvious solution for baking trays, I have never seen drawers divided vertically like this before and as baking is one of my hobbies, I am used to the chaos and cacophony of pots and pans toppling over and sometimes disappearing over the back of the drawer, while I struggle to extract the particular cookie tray or muffin pan I need which is invariably underneath everything else.
Traditional Kitchen by Oak Brook Cabinets & Cabinetry Schuler Cabinetry
Transitional Kitchen by Portland Cabinets & Cabinetry Pennville Custom Cabinetry

Below is another beautiful white kitchen and I love the light fittings over the island.  I haven’t settled on ‘island lights’ yet.  In an open plan living space I am cautious about too many hanging fittings, much as I find these really appealing.  I might start off with only down-lights – also visible in this photograph – and make up my mind about pendants when we’ve lived in the space for a while.

Something else I like about the kitchen below are the high, glass-fronted cupboards.  They are useful for taking up space between the tops of the ordinary cupboards and the ceiling and great for displaying crockery or silver that is seldom used.  I’ve borrowed this idea too.

Traditional Kitchen by Millbrook Architects & Building Designers Crisp Architects
Below are more white cabinets on wooden floors.  And more high, glass-fronted cupboards.  There will be similar handles on our cupboards.
Contemporary Kitchen by Cambridge Architects & Building Designers LDa Architecture & Interiors
And below, just for fun, is another gorgeous kitchen with a bay window.  I think I might be addicted to kitchens on Houzz.
Traditional Kitchen by Santa Cruz Media & Bloggers Shannon Malone
Close-up of the lovely bay window.  For now, I plan to put a small couch in our bay window as I think it might be more versatile, and definitely more comfortable on sunny afternoons, but I might still fall prey to the seduction of a built-in window seat.
Traditional Spaces by Santa Cruz Media & Bloggers Shannon Malone
And finally, in the modern kitchen below, I like the windows between the lower cupboards and the upper ones.  We’re going to have three, small opening windows between the lower and upper cupboards.  The boundary garden wall is very close to the windows and I’m planning to hang planters or trellises on it.
Modern Kitchen by Sag Harbor General Contractors S.M. CONTRACTING INC
Below are three diagrams of the new kitchen.  Not all the finishing details are shown in these renderings but you can get a general idea.
Diagram of the new kitchen, from North to South.

Diagram of the new kitchen, from North to South.

In the picture above, you can see the door leading to the scullery.

East wall of the kitchen.

East wall of the kitchen.

In the drawing above, you can see the long, narrow window on the left and the 3 small windows between the lower and upper cupboards.  The long window is in line with the kitchen island from the north/south diagram.

Kitchen East Wall

Kitchen East Wall

The cupboards have ‘Shaker panel’ doors with cup handles and will be Ivory White in colour.  Now we can only wait and see.