Kitchens in Ireland come in many forms. While most kitchens will have common elements, such as sink, oven, hob and fridge, how those elements combine with cabinetry, materials and colour can vary widely.
Many of us consider modern and contemporary kitchens to be one and the same, however, this is not the case. Modern design refers to a specific time period, from the 1920s to the 1950s. Typically a modern kitchen will have simple details, sleek and streamlined layouts and is intended to showcase craftsmanship and quality.
This ‘mid-century modern’ movement was in many ways a push back against the ornament, fuss and frivolity that was part of a previous era. In a modern kitchen, there is no fuss, no unnecessary curves and a refined material palette. Flat doors are the norm and shiny stainless steel is considered essential.
Contemporary Kitchens in Ireland
A contemporary kitchen is somewhat more challenging to define. Contemporary design is changing all the time as it reflects the design style of today. It pulls on numerous other styles and periods and tends to be quite eclectic.
In the design work we do, we find persistent themes that arise in today’s contemporary design – open plan living; kitchen as living space; kitchen as furniture; a celebration of colour; practicality as No. 1. In contemporary design today, we see a rejection of cold, stark spaces which often characterise the modern design. Instead, there is a celebration of comfort and individuality.
In contemporary kitchen design, we get a chance to explore the ever-expanding range of materials and colours. There are no rules with contemporary design, it changes all the time. When anything goes, we think that it’s important to get proportion and detail right, to respect the architecture of the space and really listen to the client’s needs. If we do this, it means the final design will stand the test of time and really serve the humans who live with and use it.
If you’re considering a contemporary kitchen design that embraces mid-century modern principles, we’ve written a 6 point checklist to help you along.
Embrace minimal design
Minimal design doesn’t mean you have to throw out everything you only use once a year but it does mean fuss and ornament are off the table. Minimal design prioritises smart storage, eliminates clutter from countertops and uses a refined palette of materials.
Get the space planning right first
Knowing what style of kitchen you want influences layout and space kitchen planning. For example, a contemporary kitchen won’t have a traditional feature mantle over an Aga or range cooker. It could easily have open shelving and island cooking with a venting hob, which combines cooking & extraction in one. Once style has been established, we can create a design that works. From the perfect design, we can move onto materials.
Consider your palette of materials
Every material you intend to use matters in a contemporary design. Typically this approach focuses on fewer materials than a more traditional design and so getting the mix right matters as there is less margin for error. When choosing the material for your doors, whether or not you will have handles, what countertop material to use we recommend bringing in a sample of your flooring, internal doors and wall colour to your final design appointment. This allows us to give you the best advice with every material considered.
While contemporary designs are pared back and muted, they don’t have to be completely lacking in personality. You don’t need to fill every space with cabinetry. Think about including a favourite piece of art, a piece of equipment or crockery that you love and use every day, colourful cookbooks or a place for fresh flowers.
Consider a boiling water tap
Boiling water taps are a brilliant way to eliminate clutter from your countertops. They provide boiling water instantly, speed up cooking and are a stylish addition to a kitchen. We love Quooker taps which come in a range of tank sizes, finishes and styles. All of our design team have a Quooker tap in our own kitchens (we really are genuine fans!) and we’d be happy to share our experience with you.