I had a small spot of free time this weekend (which is not normal) and finally got around to taking a few pictures of our new place. And since I promised to post one of our new kitchen, here it is. The kitchen is approximately 4 metres wide by 6 metres long. As you can see, it is all white with black and white hexagonal floor tiles and an island in the middle.
Some of you emailed and left comments asking what S and I consider essential in a well-equipped kitchen. Honestly, all a good kitchen really needs is counter space, pretty good storage space, a hob (gas or induction) with at least 4 zones, good exhaust, an oven, a fridge, and sufficient power points to run a variety of tools and appliances. With these, a good cook should be able to whip up any number of delicious meals.
Obviously, S and I did more than just build an adequate kitchen. We figured that after years of moving into pre-kitted out and pre-planned apartments, and basically adapting to the kitchens we were stuck with, we couldn’t resist the temptation to go all out and design the kitchen of our dreams. For us, first and foremost, that meant allocating a big enough space so that the two of us could cook side by side without getting in each other’s way. We achieved this by creating dual cooking areas on the 3.3 metre island that runs through the middle of the room. The zone closer to the entrance is a 4 zone induction hob. Closer to the back wall (with floor to ceiling windows to bring in natural light) is a 2 zone gas hob, an 8 BTU gas wok burner, and the coolest domestic salamander on the market. Above the island are two almost identical exhaust units.
Almost all the major cooking equiptment in the new kitchen comes from Miele. Miele is a client of ours and also a partner on a very exciting and important project. Over the past few years, we’ve gotten to know their product range very well. We respect their build quality and accuracy tremendously and, for S especially, there really wasn’t any question of using any other brand.
Same shot with some captions
When desiging the kitchen, we wanted to go with an all-white theme, which we thought would be good for photography. To that end, we also tried to minimize reflective surfaces. All the cabinetry is matte white, as are the silestone counters. We chose silestone because it is harder, more durable, more heat resistant, and more stain resistant than other synthetic surfaces, like corian for example. As mentioned, the back wall has floor to ceiling windows, in front of which we have placed translucent white roller blinds. This give us great diffused natural light. The wall / splashback areas are matte white ceramic tiles.
The right side of the kitchen houses our 4-door fridge (S literally hugged this thing when she first saw it in the showroom). Next to that is a column of built-in appliances: (from top to bottom) a coffee machine; a small cup warmer; a 60cm combi-steam oven (works as both a steamer and a normal oven); and a 60cm combi-microwave (works as both a microwave and a normal oven). Around these is storage space. After the appliances is counter space and more storage.
The left side of the kitchen offers more counter space and is also where our two sinks are situated. When cooking, we would stand between this side of the room and the island, which makes the sinks highly accessible. Between the sinks, we have designed a small trash chute. Under the counters, we have two dish washers, one on each side of the room. At the far end of the counter is our wonderfully sexy 90cm oven. Above the counter and under the overhanging cabinets, we’ve installed a system from which we can hang a variety of racks: cookbook racks, knife racks, spice racks, etc. Under the counter (not in the photos), to the left of the first dish washer, we also have two plate warmers.
We have more storage under the island, which is ideal for storing smaller pots and pans as well as essential cooking condiments. As you can tell, we like storage. In fact, when it comes to creating kitchen storage space, I don’t think enough is ever enough. I say the more the better.
One of the greatest things we’ve done is air-condition this space. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to cook in a non-air-conditioned kitchen in the tropics. It is almost impossible to make pasta and pastry in a hot kitchen and the one we used to cook in was often sweltering. Another luxury is something we added quite late in our plans. Originally, the space behind the right wall of the kitchen was a void space. But after speaking with our architect, we were able to add a small, narrow walk-in wine cellar. To access it, you go to the end of the kitchen, and turn right. It is less than a metre wide but around 3-4 metres deep.
Some of you have also asked what extra standalone appliances every great kitchen has to have. Well, I am sure some might disagree with me, but here’s my list: KitchenAid stand mixer, toaster, blender or stick blender (I swear by Bamix), electric kitchen scale, and an electric hot water kettle. I am assuming of course that you already have a good set of knives and a few good cutting boards; simple tools like meauring spoons, tongs and whisks; adequate mixing bowls and mis en place bowls; and some really good quality pots and pans. One of my own personal favourite appliances, which is not at all a necessity but is great to have, is an ice cream maker. I especially love ours because I never actually use it — I just pester S until she makes me a batch. Another machine that I love is our meat slicer — purchased right after we came back from Spain with a bag full of pata negra. Two appliances that I don’t have but really want is a vacuum packer (that can pack semi-wet ingredients) and a Thermomix.
Well, that’s it for the tour. I hope you like it. We’re really happy with how it turned out and owe our architect, our contractor and our carpenter major snaps for pulling this off for us so well.