Kitchens are proof that luxury is much more than a price tag – it is a feeling.
Kitchen design has been a mainstay of the luxury interior design world for many years, as its very functionality lends itself to craftsmanship and high-end technology. As the heart of the home, this particular room is the subject of much discussion; especially among designers' customers who want to elevate their skills and make their home a creative hub.
This is where we come in. In this article, we go through the necessary components to make a luxury kitchen for the dedicated home-cook. For this magnum opus of luxury modern kitchen design (we hope!), we've enlisted the help of powerful forces in the design world. We have the fabulous deVOL Kitchens, The Main Company and Katto here today to teach us about the top tips and tricks to make the kitchen a place of elegance and powerful cooking. For more professional interiors content, subscribe here.
From the knife to the backsplash: our expert guests
The luxury of kitchen design by deVOL Kitchens
Helen Parker, Creative Director at deVOL Kitchens, is one of our guests today. deVOL was founded in 1989 by Philip deVries and Paul O’Leary. The business started with bespoke furniture and small renovations, and then scaled into a 340-strong team specialised in shaker kitchens, traditional kitchens and accessories.
Bespoke, sustainable and full of personality: The Main Kitchen
The Main Company is a family-run supplier known for its stunning bespoke kitchens and unique furniture designs. Established in 1978 by Chris and Karan Main and later joined by their sons Alex and Tom in 2004, this company prides itself on creating spaces full of personality and unique style. Today we hear from Alex.
The hand-made, sustainable knives of your dreams with Katto
Katto was founded on the premise that people nowadays want to own fewer, better things. Things which last. Things which they're proud to own. Things which make their days (and dinners) better. First starting with knives in 2018, this brand is taking the cabinetry space by storm (without breaking the bank). Co-founder Josh helps us uncover the home-cook essentials here today.
Now that our guests have been introduced, let's talk amazing spaces.
What is luxury modern kitchen design?
Luxury modern kitchen design is characterized by sleek, clean lines, high-end materials, and state-of-the-art appliances. It combines functionality with aesthetic appeal, creating a space that is not only visually stunning but also highly efficient for the home-cook.
What components are necessary to the kitchen of the home cook?
To us, building a home chef-friendly space is all about enabling creativity and function. This means focusing on the pragmatism of a space: natural light to see well, open shelves for quick access, contemporary lines for effective cleaning, etc.
"Designing a kitchen for a home cook is a multifaceted task, as it requires a blend of functionality, organization, and aesthetics." The Main Company posits. On one hand, it's all about pragmatism ("workflow, quality appliances, ample counter space"), and on the other is aesthetics ("the kitchen should reflect the homeowner's style and preferences"). According to Alex a "well-designed kitchen should cater to the specific needs and preferences of the homeowner, providing a space where cooking is a joy and a breeze".
For deVOL Kitchen's Helen Parker, creating one's own dream kitchen or a clients' is about a few simple things. In her succinct words, "a great cooker, lots of prep areas and daily stuff easy to reach" will make the biggest impact on your clients' cooking skills and enjoyment of the space.
Of course, it'd be remiss to forget the fundamentals of the design; the tools we actually use to cook. "I’m a firm believer in investing in the objects that you touch most often." Josh says. "Having beautiful, extremely sharp, wonderfully balanced knives elevates these otherwise mundane happenings into moments of joy."
What details should kitchen and interior designers look out for when designing a kitchen for someone who's passionate about cooking?
Because the devil's in the details, this answer is best delivered by Josh from Katto... "There’s no debating that the process of designing or renovating a kitchen can feel extremely daunting with the volume of decisions and variety of choices leading to ‘analysis paralysis’. Starting from a single object and designing outwards is a simple way to overcome this. And given that knives are the cook’s most important tool, many of our customers begin there."
deVOL Kitchens focuses on the large-scale needs of the home-cook to provide a joyful experience of cooking and living in a space. As Helen aptly points out, "I would like to think a kitchen designer would automatically create functional, useful and beautiful areas within a kitchen for any client but that they would benefit a cook more than someone who isn’t keen." However, there are some things that take a kitchen from OK to next level according to the experts at deVOL...
"Things like brass rails, pot racks, prep tables and a really good pantry would be high up on the list. I also think everyone needs a kitchen table, but for the keen cook, having friends and family around you as you cook and socialise is absolutely paramount to a happy cook and a happy family. The biggest joy of cooking is sharing the time, the food and the experience with other people."
The Main Company has a structured approach to the art of kitchen design. "Designing a kitchen for someone truly passionate about cooking is a rewarding yet intricate task" Alex says. To configure the heart of your home (or your clients'), he recommends you think of the following:
- "Understanding the cook's needs: Start by having a detailed conversation with the homeowner to understand their specific cooking habits and needs. What types of cuisines do they prepare most often? Do they require special appliances or equipment? The more you know, the better you can tailor the kitchen to their preferences."
- "Specialized zones: Designate specific areas for various culinary tasks. Include a baking station, a coffee bar, and perhaps a wine or beverage centre if these align with the homeowner's interests."
- "Tech integration: Incorporate technology that enhances the cooking experience. The demand for smart appliances in the kitchen is growing these days."
- "Storage for ingredients: Consider including a dedicated space for storing ingredients like a walk-in pantry or a pull-out storage system for bulk goods and spices for ease of flow while cooking. We have designed bespoke walk-in pantries for several of our clients for this very reason."
- "Waste management: Integrate a well-thought-out waste management system, including recycling and composting bins, to keep the kitchen eco-friendly and easy to navigate while clients are cooking up lovely meals."
How would you define the luxury modern kitchen of 2023?
For the home cook of the 21st century, there is so much to explore beyond the classic white kitchen or farmhouse style space. In our opinion, luxury is all about quality, durability, and a commitment to usability. No point in committing to a calacatta marble kitchen island, when its porosity gives it a limited time limit and a propensity to staining. Timelessness in luxury spaces is, for us, a total necessity.
To The Main Company, the luxury modern kitchen of 2023 combines "cutting-edge technology, high-quality materials, and exquisite design to create a space that is not only functional but also a true work of art". For example, Alex points to "smart technology integration, high-end appliances, luxurious materials like marble, quartz, and exotic woods, innovative lighting including ambient, task, and accent lighting" as ways designers can bring a space to life.
deVOL Kitchens' Helen Parker believes deVOL Kitchens' "space and light the biggest luxury in a kitchen", closely followed by “natural materials that get better with time." To her, a luxury modern kitchen design must have "Smooth, soft marble on floors and worktops, impeccably made cupboards and a very grand and efficient range cooker and fridge."
How can sustainability be a key component of a luxury, modern kitchen design?
Sustainability is a necessary component of a luxury kitchen. Not only do you ensure a reduced carbon footprint with sustainable choices, but you also minimise waste, optimise budget, and ensure inter-generational liveability. We always suggest considering this aspect when designing; no matter the room or scope of the project.
For Katto, sustainability is at their core of their kitchen and cooking philosophy. "Everything we do - every choice we make - is focussed around making fewer, better things." Josh explains. "We use only the best Japanese steel and only the most sustainable, FSC Certified timber. We then apply expert craftsmanship in our Sheffield-based workshop, making and finishing each knife by hand." The careful focus doesn't stop there: sustainability is a 360 approach. "As a direct-to-consumer business customer service is a huge focus for us. We painstakingly wrap every knife in brown paper and string, and offer a free postal sharpening service to all customers."
Alex from The Main Company has some checklist items for designers working on sustainable kitchens. You can incorporate eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient appliances, low-flow faucets and water-saving dishwashers, integrated recycling stations, natural light and sustainable practices (e.g. eco-conscious contractors).
deVOL Kitchens' Helen, beautifully articulates the interwoven nature of sustainability and luxury. "Sustainability is about buying things of quality and provenance and knowing they will last you a lifetime. Luxury is never having to worry about things breaking, things going wrong and things needing replacing, these are true luxuries. Avoiding trends and fashion and allowing yourself to be guided by quality and locally made products is sometimes more expensive so perhaps seen as a luxury, but it’s that lifetime of use that in the end creates sustainability."