Life Home & Garden

Wednesday 18 July 2018

How do we cosy up our kitchen?

Add personality by displaying a few kitchen favourites. Seen here, Neptune’s Chichester kitchen in snow, Neptune.com
Add personality by displaying a few kitchen favourites. Seen here, Neptune’s Chichester kitchen in snow, Neptune.com

Architect's Clinic: Ghinlon Wang

Query: We have recently bought a new house, and look forward to making it our home. We especially love the spacious, bright kitchen, but feel it's a bit cold and impersonal. How can we make it more homely?

Answer: Your question raises an important issue regarding contemporary architecture: how to create designs with a sense of place, and with a strong cultural and individual identity? What makes a design truly Irish? And does it respond to my personal needs and wants?

To make a kitchen more homely, space must be personalised, responding to individual needs, heritage and values. The use of racks, rails and hooks offers an effective and beautiful way to achieve this, allowing you to display your kitchen tools in all their worn glory, from mother's cast-iron pan to your favourite Alessi wine opener.

This discourse calls for both aesthetic and practical considerations. We learn from professional kitchens the advantages of having everything readily accessible, within arm's reach.

Choosing optimal locations for the placement of racks, rails and hooks will allow you to weave together the more disparate parts of the kitchen, improving workflow and adding to its visual appeal, helping define that set of personal qualities that make the kitchen your own.

Displaying treasured items is a great way to add personality to a kitchen but carefully choose what to keep on full display. Only utensils and wares of frequent, near everyday use, should pass the test.

Spice racks and other such dust-gathering vessels can be happily housed in a cabinet nearest the hob.

A linear arrangement of pots and pans on a wall over a fireplace is both evocative and a daily source of inspiration.

I advise against storing pots and pans over a kitchen island. It proves visually disruptive to the overall space and impractical, struggling to be both easily accessible and out of harm's way.

Wall-mounted rails and hooks located in proximity of a cooker are best suited for the arrangement of ladles, spoons, tongs and whisks. A medley of non-stick, steel, and wooden utensils adds visual richness and complexity to the kitchen design.

A wire rack, tiered and nestled nicely near a stove, provides a single point platform to store and display stacks of pots and pans, flanked by chopping boards, serving trays, dishes, and more.

It offers a practical and attractive alternative to the high and low reaches called for by wall and base cabinets.

Personal identity is a fundamental consideration manifested in great works of architecture. The kitchen should work for you. It should reflect and respond to your personal idiosyncrasies.

Having your wares easily accessible and on display will allow you to make a kitchen space your own.

  • If you are considering changes to your home, work with a registered architect. Check on riai.ie, the registration body for architects in Ireland.
  • Ghinlon Wang, is a registered architect of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland. https://www.ghinlon.space

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