Many remember the mid-century modernisation of the Australian kitchen; when Sunbeam made magic frying pans, the Mixmaster whipped up cakes, Pyrex bowls were the ant’s pants, AGA Cookers were sneered at and ‘Guess whose mum’s got a Whirlpool?’ was every kid’s phrase of praise and familial pride.
The kitchen was an actual room, all on its own. It was a place mums disappeared into and out of which food appeared. Cooking was a chore, unglamorous, and certainly not a spectator sport. In 2019, we see kitchens that talk to you, that you can control from the office, that blend seamlessly into the open architectural spaces of contemporary family life
The most remarkable thing about this year’s designs is that they are, well, understated.
While kitchens as recently as the noughties were spectacular showcases of money, with benchtops crammed with every juicer, blender, mixer and bread maker, as a society we seem to now blush at the suggestion that we spent $6,000 on a fridge.
So coy are we about our culinary largesse that we hide it away, spending loads of money to create walls of superb cabinetry camouflage.
It seems so old fashioned to use the expression cabinet maker – so very 18th century – yet the craft and craftspeople are still at the centre of innovative design.
Blum Kitchens has succeeded in taking even the most humble elements, the drawer and the cupboard, and allowed as cabinet makers to elevate the concept to feature status.
The Aventos over bench cabinet doors that lift (or even bifold lift) rather than swing open allow complete access (visual and physical) so that no corner of valuable kitchen cupboard space is left unused.
Combined with the famed Blum smooth-as-silk hinges, hunting for mum’s martini shaker has never been more fun.
The space issue is equally well dealt with in the company’s drawer systems, which boast practical improvements such as drawers which you can internally configure yourself.
It sounds simple, yet to be able to lead an unjumbled life – to not have to dumpster dive through drawers in order to find the corkscrew/ fondue forks/biro/school excursion permission slip is not to be underestimated.
However, even more impressive is the Blum electrical servo drive system that can be used on drawers, cupboards and cabinets – meaning just a tap or a touch and the device will open, requiring no additional effort on your part no matter the size of the opening. And no handles – not one. And if the permission slip is nowhere to be seen, even the angriest eight-year-old can’t slam a soft close drawer.
Another major player in the kitchen field, Hettich offers a very interesting range of handle furniture for their units – and it supplies a rather genteel French folding door pantry cupboard that once again offers great access and sightlines while not blocking the through traffic in what is most often a space challenged area.
If you have a small cavity space, just looking for a reason to exist, consider the SlideLine M sliding door system – of course this and Blum furniture can be adapted to rooms beyond ‘la cucina’.
You can see the theme minimalism as we move along; no obvious doors, no handles, few accoutrements – but what of the most basic elements – such as stoves and sinks?
For those who despair at the sight of gas cooktops scarred by an unforgiving and long forgotten boeuf bourguignon, the soon-to-be released Smeg Dolce Stil Novo will surely appeal.
Pictured: Maximum Pietra Grey Matt island, benchtops and splashback. Soko Sky Homes by Cottee Parker and Spyre Group