Reprinted with kind permission from HIA and HIA’s Housing magazine, Issue Sep 2004
The kitchen and bathroom sector continues to be one of the most significant spending areas within the housing industry. Kitchens have become lifestyle-oriented; the hub of the home, and, on average, are renovated every 12 years. Bathrooms are renovated less often, but when they are, consumers are focusing on luxurious fittings and high quality finishes.
According to the HIA Kitchens and Bathrooms Report: Past Growth and Future Prospects 2004/05, the kitchen and bathroom industry has installed nearly 3.4 million units and employed about 180,000 people over the past three years, and is expected to carry out $10.142 billion worth of work in 2004/05.
The HIA report says that three categories of kitchen design have emerged: the fashion statement, the commercial-style kitchen, and the minimalistic ‘non-kitchen’.
THE FASHION STATEMENT
The most popular type of new kitchen doubles as a flamboyant fashion statement.
Home owners like to express their personality and style through this type of kitchen, which will often feature a large open-plan layout, and several different surfaces and bench heights. Consumers are experimenting with various materials: solid surfaces; wood veneers with horizontal grains; etched and coloured glass; stainless steel and concrete – all finishes that are unique, beautiful and durable.
If your clients are looking for ways to individualise their kitchen, why not investigate recycled timber? Shiver Me Timbers processes native hardwood timbers taken from old bridges, wharves and warehouses. Shiver Me Timbers says that with correct finishing, these majestic old timbers can rightly take their place alongside other high-end materials.
The company says it offers an expert joinery service to custom-make solid surfaces for use as kitchen benchtops, table tops, stair treads and landings. Species available include jarrah, brushbox, ironbark, messmate and Sydney blue gum.
THE COMMERCIAL-STYLE KITCHEN
Thanks to Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, there’s a good many Australians out there dreaming of chefdom. This is reflected in the growing popularity of restaurant-style kitchens, kitted up with stainless steel benches and cabinets, under-bench glass-fronted fridges, multiple ovens, wider ovens, multiple sinks, and stainless steel rangehoods with strong sculptural features.
THE MINIMALIST ‘NON-KITCHEN’
Inner-city and apartment dwellers favour a kitchen that recedes into the background – an unimposing and discreet food preparation area.
Ideally, this type of kitchen will sit along one wall, and items such as the sink are designed to be relatively invisible. Undermount sinks, which sit neatly and unobtrusively underneath the benchtop, are well suited for this type of application. Clark has released a series of undermount sinks as part of its Epure by Clark Collection, and says that with no sink lip to catch dirt and grime, undermounts are a hygienic and convenient option. Available in brushed satin finish and a host of striking bowls shapes, Clark says the undermount sink features a designer basket waste with a pullout strainer in stainless steel.
According to the HIA Kitchens and Bathrooms Report 2004/05, today’s new and renovated bathrooms are all about quality and luxury.
Bathrooms on average are getting larger and often feature multiple sinks, basin sets and shower sets. Showers are generously-sized, and the typical hob or threshold between the shower base and the rest of the room is disappearing, creating a more open, flowing feel. Stone tiles are being specified in many designs and tiled areas are more expansive, with floor-to-wall coverage an increasingly popular option.
All items, down to details like door hardware, take on a new importance as consumers demand quality and high functionality for every fitting and fixture. Gainsborough has tapped into this trend with its Architectural 9900 and 9600 series door handles. The durable, tarnish-resistant finishes include satin chrome and chrome plate to coordinate with bathroom fittings, taps and accessories. And the addition of privacy adaptors make them ideal for use on bathroom doors.
The sculptural elements becoming popular in kitchen design are even more prevalent in bathrooms: in many instances the bath is free-standing; sinks and vessels sit on top of vanities and tap sets have taken on a more architectural look and feel.
Well-chosen tapware can effectively highlight the décor. The Dorf Kemi range perfectly accents the elegant styling of today’s bathrooms. Dorf says the Kemi range, which is available in either cross or lever handles with a polished chrome finish, was developed in line with the current tapware trend toward minimalism and contemporary styling.
With consumers seeking to individualise their bathroom, the Vitra Matrix product system, which comprises more than 100 individual pieces, gives home owners and designers the ability to mix and match, creating distinctive looks in bathroom furniture. Available from Plumbing Plus, the smart, architectural-looking range includes a wall-faced toilet suite, wall-hung pan, back inlet pan, and bidet; round, square or rectangular basins; and a selection of bathroom furniture. Vitra says there are hundreds of possible combinations within the system, so every Matrix bathroom is unique.
NEED MORE HELP?
The Bourne Kitchen & Bathroom Centres have extensive displays of bathroom, kitchen and laundry products (Photo courtesy The Bourne Kitchen & Bathroom Centre)
One-stop shops such as Victoria’s Bourne Bathroom & Kitchen Centre are helping kitchen and bathroom professionals save time and money for their clients. Staff at Bourne’s four large showrooms (Dandenong, Heathmont, Flemington and Fawkner) will assess your clients’ budgets and guide them through the planning process, advising on the best options in terms of pricing and style.
Each Bourne Bathroom & Kitchen Centre has extensive displays of bathroom, kitchen and laundry products, ranging in style from traditional to ultra-modern. Products available include Dorf and Ascot tapware, Caroma bathroom products, Flair vanity units, Marbletrend and Athena shower systems and vanity units, Stylus spa baths, Clark and Sagi kitchen sinks, and Rheem and Aquamax hot water services.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON:
- Shiver Me Timbers – call 03 9397 5993 or visit www.shivermetimbers.com.au
- Clark – visit www.clark.com.au
- Gainsborough – call 13 14 18 or visit www.gainsboroughhardware.com.au
- Dorf – visit www.dorf.com.au
- Plumbing Plus – call 1800 627 513 or visit the Vitra Matrix website at www.vitramatrix.com
- Bourne Kitchen and Bathroom Centre – visit www.bourne.net.au
DESIGNING FUNCTIONAL KITCHENS
In recent times kitchen design emphasis has been on layout, textures, colours and appliances. According to Leo Mangini, national marketing manager of Lincoln Sentry, the next wave of design consideration is how these elements come together to maximise the functionality of the kitchen space.
‘Functionality is ultimately about improving our way of life … simply including a sink, an oven, a pantry and a bin in a kitchen does not make it function,’ says Leo. ‘Their correct position … and the relationship of these items with each other can dramatically change a kitchen’s functionality.’
Leo says that a functional kitchen should contain five zones:
- Cooking zone: Includes the hob, oven, microwave and rangehood. Full extension deep drawers offer better storage and easier access to cooking and baking utensils.
- Preparation zone: This zone should sit between cooking and cleaning zones. All food is prepared in this zone and small cooking appliances can also be stored here.
- Cleaning zone: The sink, the dishwasher and sink cabinet are placed within this zone. Pull-out drawers under the sink utilise space for cleaning products.
- Non-consumable storage zone: This storage zone includes items that are used on a daily basis: cutlery, kitchen utensils, dishes and glasses. Studies have shown that 20 per cent of workflow movements occur between this zone and the cleaning zone, so it is important that they are placed near or directly across from each other.
- Consumable storage zone: This zone contains the pantry and fridge. An inner-drawer pantry, which allows easier access to items at the back, should be considered.
Leo says that the recently-launched Dynamic Space system helps designers improve kitchen workflow by utilising storage space and developing better zonal planning.
‘On average a poorly-designed kitchen can have over 100 zone changes per day, which adds up to thousand of kilometres throughout the life of the kitchen,’ he says.
‘The ability to separate these zones and consider their relationship with the other zones offers designers the ability to construct a kitchen to suit either right- or left-handed people, offering ultimate individualisation. Extensive studies in developing the Dynamic Space rating system have shown that by applying these zonal planning principles, the movement in the kitchen is dramatically reduced and the efficiencies in workflow greatly increased.’
‘Following the Dynamic Space guidelines will allow kitchen designers and planners to create a better organised working kitchen. True functionality can only be achieved when the exterior and interior layouts are both equally considered.’
For more information contact Lincoln Sentry or visit www.lincolnsentry.com.au