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Edition 07

Traditional Kitchen Design

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The effort to actualize a kitchen that has personal feel calls for one to ensure that everything coordinates but still retains its own individual character, writes Elizabeth OMONDI.

Traditional kitchens are not necessarily what are commonly referred to as ‘country’. Although the traditional kitchen design is warm and classic, with elements of old European tastes, the colours applied today are different.

Instead of the bright blues and gold used in the past, today’s traditional kitchens incorporate soft, muted colours. Part of its charm is that it brings the outdoors in, so patterns can often include fruit, flower and other natural motifs. This language is open to interpretation and appeals to a cross section of ages and personalities.

Traditional kitchens are actually a combination of various styles that incorporate more detail and ornamentation than the simple clean lines of contemporary kitchen designs..

The focus in traditional kitchen design is to create a warm and homely feeling, given that a family would tend to spend a great deal of time in this type of kitchen.

The need to bring the outdoors in means the space will include natural materials on the floors, in the cabinetry and within the furnishing. These include marble, stone or wood all applied in a handcrafted manner.

In deciding whether or not a traditional kitchen design is suitable for your home, you will need to go through the following process:

  • Consider the way your kitchen’s look will integrate with the rest of your house. An ultra-modern kitchen in a 19th century style farmhouse will stick out like a sore thumb, and vice versa. It is important to keep architectural integrity in mind.
  • Remember that selecting beautiful cabinets is only half the battle. More important is to ensure that you have enough storage for all your pots and plates, plus accessories like tray dividers and pull-out shelves that will make them easy to find.
  • Colour selection: While personality is important, the cabinetry is not the place to go totally wild with colours. Whereas one can use strong colours on appliances and accessories, it is best to select cabinet colours that you and your family can live with for the next 15 years. A more muted approach is a must if resale is an option you would be considering in future.
  • Project the life-cycle of your kitchen; while a lowered countertop seating would be the perfect play space for your kids, in 10 years this space will be worthless. Plan with the future in mind. Ergonomics like raised dishwashers  will keep your kitchen functional as you grow older.

As you plan to acquire a traditional kitchen , ask yourself the following:

  1. What style appeals to you,
  2. What items must you have,
  3. How much can you spend,
  4. What size and shape do you prefer,

As with all kitchen detailing, it is important to remember that the products you will select will ultimately affect your kitchen’s look and functionality.

The architectural style of your house can not be divorced from the language of your kitchen design. By making your home’s interior reflect its exterior, you bring continuity to the whole structure.

Your needs; choose a language that best suits your needs, whether you are looking for a place to cook a big family meal, or if there may be special accessibility concerns for various family members.

Ultimately, it is the cabinet door styles and colour that will have the most impact on your new kitchen’s palette by making the strongest visual statement.

The appliances that you select and where you put them will determine how cook-friendly your kitchen layout is.

Finally, in developing your traditional kitchen, you need to choose complementary countertops, flooring, plumbing fixtures, and architectural details. Don’t try to get everything to match exactly. You can give your kitchen that personal feel by making sure everything coordinates but still retains its own individual character.

Elizabeth is the managing director at Kitchen & Office Interiors located at the Alpha Centre along Mombasa Road in Nairobi