Contemporary kitchen design

Contemporary kitchen design

Contemporary kitchen design is at the heart of what we do. Our kitchen showroom in Cheltenham has many examples of handle-less contemporary design. When applying the term contemporary to kitchen design we think of quiet minimal spaces with clean lines and uncomplicated decoration.  The benefits of a contemporary kitchen design are many, they are easier to keep clean, appear uncluttered on the eye and have high levels of functionality for the user.

How to create the best kitchen living space

How to create the best kitchen living space

Here at Contour we are often asked to design open plan kitchen living spaces for our customers.  This is a space that incorporates the living room, dining room and kitchen.  It has become a popular choice with families, customers who like to entertain and clients looking for a more sociable way of living.  So, how do you go about creating one room that ticks all the boxes?

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The best open plan kitchen living spaces are multifunctional and offer different zones in which to cook, eat, relax and integrate with friends and family.  When we design a kitchen living area, the first thing we ask our clients to do is think about how they want the space to work for them.  

For example if entertaining is high on the priority then a significant area needs to be designated to dining.  Perhaps the focus is a space where the family can gather, in which case, soft seating and a relaxation area will take precedence.  Maybe a homework zone or office space is important giving parents the ability to multitask.  The kitchen zone has to have function, flow and elegance as it will constantly be on show.  Once you have prioritised the way you want to use the space, the size and shape of the different zones will become clearer.

Utilisation of space is unique to each individual customer and has a direct baring on potential focal points of the room.  Thinking carefully about how you want your space to work will deliver clearer design decisions when considering elements such as lighting, flooring and soft furnishings.

A good kitchen designer can really help with some of the more technical elements of positioning like ensuring the provision for services such as gas and water are in the best place.  Having said that, the technical advance of many built-in appliances has given a new freedom to the designer and it really is possible to position the kitchen almost anywhere.  Different types of storage is crucial in an open plan kitchen and can make or break the overall scheme.  The ability to hide kitchen utensils, pans and crockery away when the cooking is done and the emphasis shifts to relaxation or entertainment is important, however adding stylish shelving is both practical and offers a visual bridge between zones.   

Incorporating different types of lighting will also make a successful kitchen living zone.  Combining mood lighting, accent and task lighting will make transitioning through different areas of the space more natural.  It will also help create different atmospheres as light levels change through the year. Positioning your kitchen living space overlooking the garden can provide a stunning backdrop and all important natural light.

It is also important to consider the overall scheme of the space.  The very best open plan kitchen living spaces do have clear zones, but also use furniture and furnishings cleverly to blend and merge borders.  Contrasting surfaces and homely furnishing elements are the individual details which turn a kitchen living space into a harmonious living environment and one that reflects your sense of style.  From luxurious to contemporary, cosy or bold and bright, it is really down your individual taste.

Come and talk to our design team about your your project.  Our consultations are free and our highly trained designers work with you to create a bespoke kitchen design.  To speak to a designer please click here.

Six things you need to know about Induction hobs

Six things you need to know about Induction hobs

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Induction cooking is becoming more widespread and with many clients choosing this method of cooking over gas powered hobs, here are some things you should consider when choosing a cook top.

1. Induction is one of the most efficient cooking methods available, combining speed and accurate control.  Induction hobs have a strong electromagnets positioned underneath the surface of the glass.  When a ferrous ( Iron) metal pan is placed on the hob, a circuit is created allowing a rapid and even transfer of heat to the contents of the pan.  Speed is one of the most noticeable advantages when using an induction hob.  For example, a pan of water will reach boiling point almost twice as fast as a gas hob. 

2. Many models contain a flex zone, this means the cooking area can be tailored to your needs making it easier to use oversize pans such as fish kettles, woks and casserole dishes.  This can be the whole of the hob or a designated area that can take a variety of pan sizes.  On certain models several pans can be placed anywhere on the flex zone and used at the same time making Sunday lunch or Christmas dinner a breeze.

3. Venting hobs are becoming more and more popular.  A venting hob is one that has powerful integrated extraction.  Usually placed centrally down the middle of the hob, this space saving, easy to clean technology means that cooking vapors and grease are extracted at the source resulting in greater efficiency.  More of our clients are choosing a venting hobs over the traditional wall, ceiling or downdraft extractors.

Another advantage of a venting hob is the flexibility provided when considering its positioning.  More traditional forms of extraction require the hob to be placed in front of a wall however, because a venting hob can be positioned almost anywhere in the kitchen, the designer can maximise the space and offer the client more layout options.

4. Cleaning an induction hob is quick and simple as it consists of one piece of glass.  Also, as there aren’t any heavy cast iron pan supports to remove, it is far easier to clean grease marks and spills.  The cooktop gets hot but won’t scald like a gas flame and any areas of glass around the cooking zones remain cool to the touch meaning spills tend not to get burnt to the surface.

Many of the extraction components of venting hobs are compatible for cleaning in the dishwasher making the cook zone a far more hygienic area.

5. Induction hobs offer excellent control as the cooking zones heat up remarkably quickly which is a major benefit for most busy households.  These hobs are also very responsive and will cool down rapidly if the temperature is decreased.  When a pan is removed from the cook zone, the circuit is broken and the heat will quickly dissipate.

6. Many models have in-built safety features and smart technology meaning the hob can recognise the smooth flat base of a pan.  This prevents things like metal spoons or utensils being heated by accident.  When in use, only the base of the pan heats up meaning that far more precise amounts of energy are used, making induction cooking cost effective and efficient.

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Here at Contour we have a range of Induction, flex induction and venting induction hobs from premium suppliers including Gaggenau, Bora, Siemens and Neff.  If you would like a demonstration of our products, please get in touch and talk to one of our team.