Maggie’s Kitchen A-Z

A is for attitude. Designing any room in your home is a rewarding experience but it does take time. A little extra thought is required designing a kitchen because there is rather a lot to consider. So, as your fitness instructor might say to you, it’s time to dig deep…
B is for beauty. Put simply, I always try to design kitchens that are just lovely rooms to be in. It’s the heart of the home, so try to give it as much beauty, as well as practicality, as possible.
C is for clear the decks. Edit your crockery, gadgets and kitchen paraphernalia. This is a good time for a purge. Most of us are guilty of having too much stuff, and the thrift shops are only too happy to receive our cast offs.
D is for dishwasher. I am a great fan of slim-line dishwashers. Only 45/50cm wide, they take up less space and don’t take as long to fill. For a family of four, a full-size dishwasher can take days to fill, by which time you have run out of crockery. Most households can easily live with a smaller model.
E is for ergonomics. It’s a bit of a cliché I know, but it really does help if you have sorted out where everything goes. From the sink, dishwasher, hob, oven and fridge, right down to the cutlery drawer and toaster, it all makes a difference to how well the space works from a practical point of view.

F is for flooring. Tile, laminate, rubber, cork, wood: any of these floorings are good options depending on the look and feel that you are after. I have even put sisal area rugs in a kitchen to soften the look, and it worked beautifully.
G is for green issues. Organise your recycling and kitchen compost in a way that is neat, tidy, and easy for the whole family to use. Personally, I like it all hidden away, but there are also some great freestanding all-in-one recycling and waste bins on the market if you prefer that look.

H is for handmade. This is a look that is quite fashionable at the moment. We are all looking to the past for inspiration, and handmade kitchens work well for this aesthetic. Needless to say, a handmade kitchen can be built exactly to your individual taste, and is a good way to go if the space is awkward and requiring a custom-made solution.
I is for induction hob. You might consider investing in one of these. Energy efficient and safe around children, these are fast becoming very popular with young families.
J is for jollity. Just remember not to get too serious. There are all sorts of ways to make this room your own, so have some fun with the design and make it all yours.

K is for kettle. If you are squeezed for space, buy a kettle that sits on the hob instead of an electric one so that it doesn’t take up precious counter space. You will often see this in American kitchens. It’s also a great look if you can find an unusual kettle.
L is for lighting. Try to make it easy on the eye for people when they come and see you in your kitchen. A mixture of spot, pendant and directional lighting is usually preferable. That way you can alter the light levels and mood at the flick of a switch.
M is for music. Be it I-pod dock, Sonos, or a good old-fashioned radio, make sure you have considered the sound system of choice. Cooking is never a chore when you have some good company.
N is for notice board. As long as you don’t mind the slightly messy look, these can be great fun to see in a family kitchen. Whether it’s party invitations, thank you letters, children’s masterpieces, theatre or concert tickets or sports day announcements, it’s a lovely way to display fond memories.

O is for oven. Think about buying a combination microwave|oven. It works well as a second oven, or even as the only one – it depends how much cooking you do – and especially useful if space is an issue.
P is for pots and pans. Remember to budget for some new kitchenware. Most times your old stuff can look very sad indeed in your new kitchen. The crockery, pots and pans and utensils are all part of the overall design.
Q is for quirky. Even if you have a traditional country kitchen, an element of the quirky personalises your space. Display something you love that puts a smile on your face.
R is for rustic. At the moment a lot of us like to include a rustic touch to our interiors. It adds character and makes the space look less “done”. I particularly love antiqued glass for backsplashes. It can even go with modern units and look fabulous.
S is for space. Create negative space for people to move around – especially so that they are not in the way while the chef is at work. I once had a client who wanted me to design a clear pathway through the kitchen to the garden for a wheelbarrow. If that’s your thing, make it so…
T is for table. Make sure that your dining table always looks great. I like to have a range of table linen easily available to suit different occasions. I also love a great looking bowl or jug (preferably with fresh flowers added) to decorate the table when it’s not being used for homework.
U is for units. There is such a variety of kitchen units to choose from. If you are planning a whole new kitchen, it’s a good idea to talk to a designer about the new layout and all the design options available. All the thought and discussion right at the beginning of the process is well worth the time and will also help you to keep within budget.
V is for vases. Have an assortment of sizes and shapes for different types of arrangements and flowers. Fresh flowers are the ultimate in everyday luxury.

W is for window coverings. This is a fantastic way to bring colour and pattern to a room. Don’t be afraid to add roman blinds and curtains to the space. They can always be dry cleaned if you’re worried about them getting dirty, and they really do add warmth and character.
X is for excellence (I know, I’m cheating!). Remember that quality always pays off in the long run. That goes for goods as well as tradesmen. Do not be tempted to go the cheap route if you are compromising the quality. You will regret it at leisure.

Y is for yellow. I am a bit of a fan of yellow. Whether it is through kitchen accessories or fresh flowers, a splash of yellow in the home at any time of year reminds us to be happy.
Z is for zzz. I know, all this talk about kitchens is exhausting, so if you need a helping hand to guide you through the process, I know a great interior designer…