How do you work out what style suits your kitchen?
The actual style has to come from the rest of the house. Because we live in open-plan living where your kitchen opens up to your dining and living, you have to work within the style of the building.
If you think your house doesn’t have a style, the kitchen can be the starting point and create the style for the rest of the house.
A sleek, refined industrial looks works really well in a 1950s or 1970s kitchen. When you think you’ve got no style, you can create it.
What’s the most important thing you can do to add value to your kitchen?
To add value to your kitchen you’ve got to have really good appliances. Brand names are always good and everybody wants stone for their benchtop.
So if you have a laminate benchtop in your kitchen you’re really not adding value to it.
Is your kitchen likely to lose value if you follow trends?
Trends are very tricky because they actually define a decade. If you’re going to stay in a house for a good ten years, it’s only going to date by 10 years. And then most people update, anyway.
If you’re doing black-painted cupboards they can be replaced. They can be re-sprayed and you can get the doors changed so it just depends how often you think you want to update.
If you want to go with a trend like Hamptons, it will never date. If you’re going for something with an Art Deco look it’s never going to date or go out of style. So you can have a black kitchen with say, an art décor or a sleek industrial look, and it’s not going to date.
Trend colours like sage green and blush pink will date your kitchen in a year more than anything else.
Can you make a flat pack kitchen look expensive?
The great thing is that flatpack is all about the carcass and getting the layout right. To make it look expensive, use great handles. If you use cheap handles, they feel cheap because you’re touching them all the time. And if they go out of date in two or three years’ time, they are really easy to change. And of course, stone benchtops and tiles can make your kitchen look expensive.
So basically, a flatpack kitchen with stone benchtops, great handles and great tiles will make it look expensive.
I’m loving the look of hand-pressed tiles right now because they look imperfect and handcrafted, which I think looks expensive.
Tell us about new trends in kitchen and bathroom makeovers.
Island benches are becoming a real feature in the kitchen, specifically in contrast colours to the wall cabinetry and bench surface. The butler’s pantry is the new wish list item and will become as popular as the master ensuite. Smart technology is increasingly popular. Appliances today give users the ability to program the cooking to turn on or off and smart phones can now turn the lights on when we arrive in the driveway prior to opening the front door.
A lot of our readers with families have trouble with marble benchtops. Can you suggest a family-friendly finish or material that looks luxurious?
Marble is porous and that’s why it’s really high maintenance. So when you go with a stone benchtop like Granite Transformations, it’s non-porous and low-maintenance. There are new designs that have a marble finish so you can get that high-end look. It's great because you don't have to transform your kitchen as it can be fitted directly on top of your existing benchtop, with little or no demolition and drama.