May 09 2017
In the world of interiors, I find that contemporary is a term which means different things to different people. In its clearest sense, you can expect smooth, and often glossy, facades and a strong emphasis on clean lines and sharp angles. Abstract forms, striking profiles and minimalism are currently typical of the contemporary movement too. But the thing with contemporary design is that, by nature, it is ever-changing. It is defined by being ‘of the now’; it lives as we live, taking on influences at every moment and evolving at a constant rate.
At Sims Hilditch, we interpret contemporary design in a more selective way. As designers, we draw inspiration from current-era interiors and trends, but instead, we care more for developing our signature aesthetic in a way that is in tune with contemporary lifestyle, contemporary thought and contemporary technologies. Every single one of our kitchen projects, has a strong element of contemporaneity to it.
If we focus purely on contemporary design within a kitchen context, one of the questions I am often posed is that of incorporating storage into a less-is-more design aesthetic. Our clients who desire a ‘sleeker’ aesthetic in their kitchen often long for a way to maximise their storage space but with an approach that is subtle. It has to look effortless and to bring a feeling of calm, balance and organisation. Contemporary storage at its peak provides a treasure trove of potential without anybody knowing what is truly going on, other than yourself.
These are some of my go-to storage saviours and design considerations in a contemporary kitchen. They absolutely never let me down.
Absolutely every home adores a pantry, and they can be achieved in a way that is the very opposite to cute and country. Our specialist team of kitchen designers work with lifestyle brand Neptune - their double-door, Shaker-inspired Suffolk larder is a real favourite. It is quite cavernous inside but the cabinet face is so minimal in comparison. The juxtaposition works wonderfully. Of course it is not just the design that nods to a contemporary vision, but the usage too. You might perhaps like to use a larder for something other than a dry food store, such as a breakfast station with a kettle, toaster and coffee machine at the base level, pantry jars of muesli and porridge oats one layer up, and then a gorgeous display of earthenware breakfast crockery at the top. Or, use it as the most incredible bar cabinet, filled with intriguing spirits and an impressive glassware collection. Contemporary design is about the unexpected, the daring, and the fun too.
Drawers are so much cleverer than a lot of cabinets. They are a prime example of functional storage that looks super smart. If the space I am working with has the room, I like to introduce the widest drawer stack as that has such visual impact and is a sheer joy to use because it is just so vast. It is worth remarking that contemporary design favours linear layouts, and so quite frequently, I will end a run of cabinetry without including any sort of return. It opens up the possibility of having drawers at either end of the run instead of a corner carousel cabinet.
Contemporary lifestyles work best in a multi-functioning kitchen; they should perform as living spaces. Islands have been a part of kitchen design for many years now, but their storage potential should never be overlooked. In one recent project – The Old Farmhouse – we created two islands with a channel running between them and ample storage that was integrated into the structure. One was used for food preparation, while the other was used for cooking, giving each island a clear sense of purpose.
Simple, unadorned, suspended oak shelving looks very cool indeed. It can be a fabulous storage alternative to include alongside countertop cabinetry, or as the only above-counter storage option for the ultra-sleek home. In our Primrose Hill Townhouse project, we featured two beautiful plank formations between two mirrored pieces of full-height cabinetry. The symmetry, the cleanliness in character, the colours and the pared-back design was so perfectly contemporary, and it opened up a wealth of storage space which the client chose to fill to the brim in a much more country-like way – which was precisely the brief.
At first, storage may feel like a troublesome area in the realm of contemporary kitchen spaces. But upon reflection, it is in fact a way to stay one step ahead. Contemporary design will continue to shift its focus as time passes us by and new trends make their way onto our landscape, but with storage at the heart of your kitchen, you have allowed yourself versatility, freedom to reconfigure and redefine, and room to grow. Storage is the creator of options. It helps your kitchen to be age defying, and that coupled with the our measured approach of classic meets cutting edge design ethos, is surely a perfectly paved pathway to timelessness…
Find our latest kitchen projects online at: www.neptunebysimshilditch.com