Dear Margaret…I have moved into a 1920s semi, and want to convert the small kitchen, outside loo and breakfast room into a new modern family kitchen space, possibly with doors to the back garden. It will measure 5 metres by 4 metres. I’d like the design to be modern but not ultra-modern, as it is an old house, preferably a painted design. It will need space for informal dining, and for me to work on my laptop, as well as for the kids to do their homework. A boiling water tap and drawer dishwasher are on my wish list, as well as generous fridge and storage facilities! P Birthalls, Loughton
It does indeed make sense to amalgamate these three small but not very functional rooms into one which can be tailored to suit your family’s lifestyle.
My design centres around a large island unit, which fulfils a variety of purposes. It makes the kitchen more sociable as you can prepare food on its surface while facing guests at the barstools, keep an eye on children as they get on with their homework, dine informally with the family, or enjoy a coffee and a chat with friends. It is big enough that there is plenty of space for two or three activities to be going on simultaneously, plus it enjoys views through the window. Meanwhile all the appliances and food-related features of this modern kitchen are located in an ‘L’ formation along two walls, away from this area. The appliances are kept together for convenience.
I contrasted sleek stone worktops with painted cupboards in a monochrome scheme. This black and white combination is a classic, and you can update the look as often as you like with new wallpaper on the feature wall. Patterned paper will make the room feel less utilitarian and more like a living space for you and your children, and it can add a key colour to the room that can be picked up by accessories.
For a soft feel to the kitchen, I depicted a lowered ceiling, which conceals lamps for diffused illumination. Then I chose bold oversized statement pendants above the island to reinforce the modern feel. These stand out because the rest of the lighting is so subtle.
There is plenty of space for food storage, with a full-height larder fridge and a freezer by the door. These are neatly topped by boxing-in, which runs around the kitchen providing a more streamlined feel to the space. They also house downlighters to illuminate the worksurfaces.
The drawer dishwasher that you wanted is a great idea, as each drawer can be run independently as soon as you have enough crockery to fill one. They are sited near the sink, which is adjacent to the hob so that you won’t be walking too far when moving between them. In this area I also positioned the boiling water tap that you requested – another great device for convenience when it comes to cooking!
Modern family kitchen design tips:
- Choose finishes that will withstand wear and tear by children; painted cupboards in this scheme can easily be touched up if they get scratched, while tiles make a durable floor covering.
- If you are assigning many purposes to an island unit, make sure it is big enough to cope without having to constantly clear up the associated paraphernalia of each activity before the new one can begin.