Integrated Dining & Living Spaces are a Key Trend, writes Nicole Mayne, Domain Geelong
If you’re looking to design a new house this year, there’s a key trend to be aware of – a mingling of your kitchen and living spaces. Geelong cabinetmakers are increasingly helping clients to come up with innovative ways to maximise the flow between their kitchen, dining and lounge areas.
Peter Hammond, a member of Independent Cabinet Makers Geelong and owner of Windsor Kitchens, says the latest technology coming out of Europe is changing the way people think about the hub of their home.
“The big thing in Europe is integrating kitchens into living areas,” Peter says.
“There are things like an island bench that drops down to table height and becomes a dining table. There’s also a sink with a piece of stone help in place (level with the bench) and you push a button and it drops down to be a skin.”
Such space-saving technologies are perfect for apartments. Peter has already installed these sinks in two Melbourne properties.
A few years ago, new Australian Kitchens featured glossy white finishes with touches of aluminum. These days, the trend is for matte cabinetry and Peter doesn’t see that changing anytime soon. The popularity of darker colours was also highlighted at ICM’s first kitchen, bathroom and interior design trends workshop held recently in Geelong.
“As far as products and materials are concerned, everything is still very much a natural look, with matte finishes, timber veneers and pre-finished surfaces,” Peter says.
“We are also seeing the use of metals. We are doing one at the moment with brass underneath the benchtop.”
He says the recent Australian Woodworking Industry Suppliers’ Association exhibition showed off innovations such as ultra-smooth finishes on cupboard doors and drawers.
“For example, darker surfaces show fingerprints so there are new products that don’t show them, “ he says.
Set in Stone
Europeans can’t get enough of porcelain on benchtops, Peter says. But he says Australians still prefer reconstituted stone.
“We only have a population of about 20 million people but we use more reconstituted stone than America,” he says.
Geelong cabinetmakers have started using more porcelain in the past six to eight months. One of the advantages of porcelain is that it can be used outside in barbecue areas as the stone won’t fade.
Join the Club
Traditional timber joinery is enjoying a revival as people look for architectural pieces to lift their houses. In many cases, joinery has become furniture, doing away with the need for freestanding entertainment units or bookshelves.
“They don’t just want a box, they want something different. They want one shelf integrated into another shelf, Peter says. “That is where we are also educating cabinetmakers about what people are expecting.”
ICM Geelong is a collaboration of Geelong cabinetmakers who have joined forces to showcase their skills and quality products.
Peter says they have all invested heavily in computer technology and produce custom-designed joinery.
“We do everything from flat packs, to architecture work to apartments and $3 million houses in Torquay,” he says of Windsor Kitchens.
Article as appeared in Domain Geelong March 9 – 15, 2017