Designers' top five kitchen must haves..

We’ve all been wowed by aircraft-hanger size kitchens brimming with every last luxury, but in reality, the really important kitchen ‘must-haves’ are far more achievable, infinitely more practical and just as desirable. We polled the Roundhouse design team to find out their top priorities when planning a perfectly appointed kitchen that looks stunning and is a dream to use.

An ergonomic layout

The importance of establishing an efficient and effective layout that ensures everything is close to hand, where you need it most, comes in at number one. If you get the layout wrong, it’ll potentially annoy you every day! While the traditional ‘working triangle’ concept may be out-dated in modern open view kitchen design, the basic idea of reducing walking distances between key areas is still vital. Plan the position of the sink, cooktop, prep space and refrigeration/larder room in a way that makes it effortless to move between them quickly, without thinking.

Using a bespoke kitchen island or peninsula to steer children and guests away from the main cooking area will also help make the chef’s life easier. Avoid any pinch-points in the layout by allowing at least 90cm-1m wide walkways through the space. In small kitchens, galley layouts are often most effective, while larger kitchen dining designs may lend themselves to a U-shape with island, but there are no hard rules, each home is different. A good kitchen designer will consider the overall architecture of the space, and suggest ways to improve, perhaps by moving a doorway or opening up a wall. ‘Often it only takes a small architectural tweak for the perfect layout to fall into place,’ adds designer Sam Hart.

Durable surfaces

With so many stunning kitchen worktop designs available, it’s easy to let your heart rule your head when choosing modern worktops. However, for heat, stain and scratch resistance, opt for durable over dreamy surfaces in the hardest working areas of your luxury kitchen design. Think porcelain, composite stone or stainless steel, rather than natural stones, which may look stunning but require more care and attention.

The smartest custom kitchens enjoy the best of both worlds, so there’s no need to compromise. ‘There’s a lot to be said about the use of a beautiful stone down the sides of an island, but, where you need to be able to chop and cook without worrying about spills or stains, a durable composite stone is far more practical,’ advises designer Allison Lynch.  

Efficient storage

Focus on kitchen cupboard storage to speed up cooking and clearing away, and enjoy clean, uncluttered surfaces. ‘Efficiently designed storage requires forethought,’ says designer Ben Hawkswell. ‘First you need to position storage where it will be most frequently needed, and then tailor the interiors specific to use and to maximise space inside.’ For example, pantry cupboard drawers with internal dividers will keep contents under control and can enable you to get more in. Kitchen storage racks are great for organising pan lids, baking trays and items that will slide around annoyingly if left unrestrained. A walk-in kitchen pantry cabinet with built in storage cupboards is the ultimate dream, allowing you to gather all the ingredients you need in one journey.

Innovative appliances

Every kitchen deserves decent appliances, but the best kitchens are equipped with top tech that’s designed to make light work of cooking and entertaining. The latest innovations focus on speed, ease and professional chef-worthy results. Top appliances on our designers’ wish lists include steam combination ovens, for their flexibility and flavour retention, induction hobs for speed and economy and warming drawers with slow-cooking, defrosting and bread proving functionality. ‘Thanks to clever technology, like automated recipes and sensor controls, modern appliances make life easy, leaving you more time to enjoy time with friends and family in your new kitchen,’ adds designer, Jane Powell.

A stylish sink area (or two)

A decent dishwasher is a given but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the sink area when planning a modern luxury kitchen design. In fact, it can be wise to go for a large modern kitchen sink or one and a half sink to accommodate those outsized pans that won’t fit in the dishwasher. A smaller sink, perhaps positioned on a marble kitchen island, is handy for prepping, washing hands or accessing water when the main sink is in use.

The best designer kitchen sinks marry form and function. ‘Here, the sink is stone clad around the sides with a base formed from high-grade gunmetal,’ says designer Sam Hart. ‘If we had undermounted a steel sink, the switch in materials would have interrupted the veining, spoiling the line. Moving to metal for the base makes it far more resilient to stains and scratches, and kinder on crockery than stone.’

What should be included in a luxury kitchen?

At Roundhouse Design, a luxury kitchen is all about ease. We always recommend a boiling water tap, ideally one that delivers chilled filtered drinking water. Really posh kitchens have chilled sparkling water on tap, too. They’re brilliant for making drinks, but can also speed up cooking tasks, such as boiling pasta, or disinfecting babies’ bottles. A wine cooler is also a great addition, especially for those who entertain. They can also be used to host soft drinks and juices, freeing up space in the main fridge. Finally, it’s worth investing in modern kitchen lighting schemes, with programmable lighting scenes to control the mood, which will transform the atmosphere from day to night.

Our expert kitchen designers can help you make the best choices for your Roundhouse bespoke kitchen, furniture or wardrobes. Visit any of our seven Roundhouse showrooms; Wigmore St, Clapham, Fulham, Richmond, Cambridge, Guildford & Cheltenham and get planning!