Benchtops & Surfaces
As tempting as it may be to choose a benchtop based on looks and aesthetic alone, it’s important that you consider all factors including the material’s durability, maintenance when making a selection that is right for you and your family.
Your lifestyle plays an important role and it’s essential that you assess how you live, cook and entertain before settling on a benchtop surface.
Wide range of choices
The good news is there is a multitude of options available to choose from so there is no reason why you can’t find something that not only has the desired look you are after but is also a material that suits your lifestyle.
Granite is available in a variety of shades such as blacks, whites, greens, corals and beiges and as it is a natural product no two pieces are exactly the same. Granite is available in two finishes: the polished finish that results in a shiny look and often darkens the appearance of the stone, while honing is soft and matte. Costs for granite depend on many variables, including color, finish and origin of the stone. Like all natural stones it should be sealed.
Marbles and other natural Stones:
Other natural stone materials, like marble and limestone are softer than granite and require delicate use and greater care. For this reason all stone benchtops must be sealed professionally periodically.
Engineer stone benchtops or otherwise known as reconstituted stone or man made stone come in a wider variety of colors, more than natural stone benchtop, and are more durable and are easier to maintain. Generally engineered stone is similar to the cost as granite.
Solid surface bench tops have a lot of appeal and are becoming more popular due to the countless color options and the fact that they can remain seamless which means no ugly joins. Another major plus is the fact that they are more stain resistant than other surface options and scratches can be easily buffed out.
Concrete bench tops, which can be completely customized with pigments, are gaining popularity. The look is aesthetically bold and has an industrial look. Concrete is available in several different finishes: trowel (smooth), ground (sanded to expose the sand (aggregate) and pressed (a tool is used to reveal marble like veining). To keep a concrete bench top looking its best, it’s advisable to seal them up to four times per year and wax with a paste every two to three months.
Timber bench tops are traditionally more rustic and classic in look. They especially suit a country or provincial style kitchen. They are easy to clean and any scratches can be sanded out, on the other hand water can damage them quite easily, and thus wood/timber bench tops must be oiled frequently to seal the surface.
Laminate is the most economical bench top material on the market and comes in an array of colors and designs. Whilst it is durable to a certain extent, laminate can scorch if a hot pan touches the surface and has a reputation for scratching and chipping easily.
Once the sole domain of professional kitchens, stainless steel bench tops are making their way into domestic kitchens more and more. Stainless steel is the ultimate surface in terms of hygiene, heat resistance and food preparation for cooking. One of the most common complaints is that stainless steel scratched easily, although the scratches will blend over time and be less obvious.
On the edge
Pencil, arras and square edges are standard on most bench tops, but decorative edge profiles such as radius, bull nose and bevel — while they may be more expensive — are another way to customize a kitchen. Different edges and their availability will depend on the bench top material selected.
Mix and match
Mixing and matching different surfaces is a great way to achieve the ultimate functionality and desired look.
Whether you are using one material on the island bench and another on the general benchtops or cook top surface – different materials will differentiate the space.
Another option is to inset another material into a benchtop for specific tasks. Butcher blocks are common for chopping as is marble for baking. Before making a decision on a bench top material be sure to view the surface or slab in person, whether that means visiting a showroom, wholesaler or viewing samples in-home.
Drawers & Organisational Systems
Making a kitchen a pleasure to work in has a lot to do with functionality and organisation. That is why Darren James Interiors has devised many different functional components that can be combined with one another in various ways. Adjustable plate holders ensure secure storage while orgaline inserts enable you to decide how you want to use.
Explore some of the organisational systems on offer at Darren James Interiors:
|Drawers Pull out inner drawers provide organisation and improved access in drawers.It is possible to create up to 55% more usable storage space by using full extension drawers.|
|Servo Drive Drawers open automatically with just a light touch of the drawer front or a light pull of the handle. This amazing feature is based on an electrical drive that, when activated, opens the drawer for you.|
|Tip-on With TIP-ON, the mechanical opening feature for TANDEM and TANDEMBOX, you are assured of Blum quality, comfort and running action in any drawer. Just a light touch opens the drawer effortlessly|
|Tamdembox Intivo White|
|Tamdembox Intivo Black|
|Tamdembox Intivo Stainless|
|Tamdembox Intivo InsertsTANDEMBOX intivo offers new, versatile design and differentiation opportunities for pull-outs.TANDEMBOX intivo creates a timelessly simple and uniform appearance when used in combination with BOXCAP, a matched add-on element for the drawer side. Alternatively, creative accents can be achieve by using BOXCOVER, in combination with almost any material.|
|Aventos HK With AVENTOS HK, the one-piece door front lifts up. Optimal for low cabinet heights. Applications include above refrigerator, accent cabinets or wall cabinets. The stay lift opens easily, remains in any desired position and closes silently and effortlessly thanks to BLUMOTION.|
|Aventos HK-S Providing perfect motion for small cabinets with lift up doors is the goal of AVENTOS HK-S. It has been specially designed in terms of size and performance to provide the consumer a perfect experience.AVENTOS HK-S opens easily, remains in any desired position and closes silently and effortlessly thanks to BLUMOTION.|
|Aventos HL With AVENTOS HL, the one-piece door front lifts up vertically and provides unhindered access to the interior. This lift system is the ideal solution for an appliance garage or wall cabinet. The door is easy to open and can be stopped at any desired position. It closes silently and effortlessly thanks to BLUMOTION.|
|Aventos HS AVENTOS HS provides comfort of motion that is sure to impress. Even heavy doors can be opened effortlessly, and thanks to BLUMOTION, come to a gentle halt. The variable stop ensures that the door always remains in the desired position, so the handle will always be within reach.|
|Aventos Servo Drive With the SERVO-DRIVE for AVENTOS electrical motion support system, the use of lift systems is turned into a special experience: Whether a bi-fold lift system, up & over lift system, lift up or stay lift – a light touch on the front for opening and a simple press of a button for closing is all that’s required. SERVO-DRIVE for AVENTOS – opens, closes, automatically.|
Appliances & Hoods
Kitchen design is not just about the aesthetics, equally important is functionality. Darren James Interiors offer all the world leading appliances to complement your kitchen.
Our designers and network of suppliers will work with you to advise which appliances best suit your requirements and we also offer competitive trade pricing if you choose to purchase the appliances through Darren James Interiors. With many more brands available to further your choice we are able to cater for the demands of the most expansive schemes.
This total solution approach ensures that the process of putting a kitchen together becomes a streamlined and stress-free experience.
Over the years Darren James Interiors has perfected a collaboration with the likes of Miele and Stamford IXL, Vzug. We not only equip many of our kitchens with these brands but have also developed a close partnership for co-marketing and communication.
From a retail level we work closely with Brisbane Appliance Sales and happily recommend all our clients through to make an appointment to visit the BAS showroom. Their trained consultants are by far the most experienced and knowledgeable in the industry.
Sinks, Taps and Filters
Never underestimate the importance of choosing the correct kitchen sink and tapware.
As the starting point of the working triangle – just about every task starts or ends at the kitchen sink. It’s important to plan this area carefully and select kitchen sink and tapware that bests suits your individual functionality and design requirements i.e. how you intent to use it? And how you would like it to look? When making a decision durability and strength are important areas to consider depending on how you plan to use it, what your kitchen priorities are, and where the sink will be located. Here are some key factors to consider when making your choices:
Type of Sink:
Kitchens sinks are typically made from stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron, solid surfaces and composites.
The most traditional sink is made of stainless steel. If you have chosen a solid surface like granite or engineered stone, stainless steel sinks are a great option due to their undermount capabilities. Stainless steel is also the best choice in terms of durability, especially if you are hard on your sink.
When shopping for a sink keep in mind there are different quality stainless steel sinks and the lower the gauge makes for a better quality sink.
Taking the streamline look to the next level are integrated solid surface sinks. Integrated into the benchtop, not only do they look fantastic but cleaning up is easy also. Whilst undermount sinks still require joins between the benchtop and the underside, solid surface sinks require no joins. Minor scratches can be buffed out however the material can chip as too can stone.
Porcelain Enamel on Cast Iron
Once the standard in kitchen sinks, enamel-coated cast iron still have their place in today’s kitchen and still a popular choice due to its durability and its large range of quality style and colours. Whilst they are gorgeous sinks the enamel can scratch and wear over time, which may not make this sink the best choice for people who are tough on sinks.
Number of Sinks
The number of sinks you require and how they should be configured is another important factor to consider. Consider what you want to use the sink for? Perhaps you need a sink in your scullery?
Traditionally double bowl sinks were most popular in a kitchen and still are, however with the growing use of dishwashers, additional sinks we are seeing many more variations. Many of us still favour washing large pots, pans and baking dishes in the sink and we are therefore seeing the large oversizes single sink becoming a popular inclusion. In some cases where space is an issue some are opting towards a bowl and ¾.
With the vast number of taps and mixers on the market today, there really is a design for everyone. Whilst your designer should guide you through the functions and finishes its important to select a style you personally like.
Most mixers use cartridge, ball or ceramic disc valves. A mixer with a ceramic disk valve and solid brass base materials will be the most durable.
Most people these days tend to opt for the single-lever mixers in the kitchen. Consider whether you require the pull out spray arm for filling pots or cleaning veggies, whether it’s part of the spout or a separate piece.
Also it’s important to pay particular attention to the finish on of the mixer, especially if you want a clean, professional look that will last a long time.
Think again if you want to scale back on that particular part of your budget. Whilst you might be amazed with what ‘’just a tap’ might cost, keep in mind that the sink mixer is the item you use and touch most often in the kitchen and you really need one you like that’s durable. So, don’t be afraid to spend big dollars on a quality one. It will guarantee to save you time and money in the future.
Lighting in your kitchen is very important, both as a functional element and as a creative component. Getting the balance right is important.
Ambient & Natural lighting
Natural lighting should be the starting point and your design should allow for as much natural light in the kitchen as possible. Natural light can be in the form of sky lights, glass bi-folds or sliders that slide right back to flood the room with natural light. Or it may just mean keeping windows uncluttered so that day light can find its way into an otherwise dark space.
When installing ambient lighting in your kitchen, it is important that it match the colour of the natural light as closely as possible. Options can include strategically placed downlights and fluorescent lights. Energy efficiency is important to consider and in some cases certain standards apply to renovations.
Good task lighting is a must and paramount for safety reasons. Task lighting should ensure that areas such as the sink, cooktop, prep area and any other work areas are illuminated. Options for task lighting include downlights and fluorescent lights underneath overheads.
Feature / mood lighting
This is definitely where you can have the most fun and incorporate some of the hottest lighting trends. Pendent lights are increasing in popularity and usage due to factors such as more island benches being installed and the absence of overhead cupboards. Pendant lights can be both task and ambient lighting, depending on how they are used. Installed over benchtops, they can throw bright light directly on the area that needs to be illuminated. If there is some sort of dining area in or near the kitchen, a pendant light can be positioned over the area and dimmed as required to provide ambient lighting, or even mood lighting depending on the light levels.
The kitchen is the central hub of the home and relates one space to another, it’s therefore important to consider how the kitchen materials, finishes, style and details all relate and transitions from one space to the next.
Whether you’re traditional or contemporary always pay attention to the integrity and the architectural style of your home – and borrow elements from a few of them to represent your kitchen style.
Committing to a specific style of kitchen can be an overwhelming decision to some. It’s not only an expression of your personal style it is also a reflection of the overall architecture and design of your home. So when you begin the process of selecting the style of your kitchen, make sure it fits in seamlessly to its existing environment.
A great starting point is to create an inspiration file by researching magazines and online. We love using wbsite tools like Pinterest and Houzz. By narrowing down the specific styles that grab your attention and speak to you the most you will begin to see a design style emerge.
How do you choose the right colours for your kitchen?
Colour is an emotional element in any space within the home and the kitchen is no different. Colour has the ability to not only influence your mood but ultimately how you experience your kitchen space. There are a few basic principles you should consider when selecting colours:
- Light, cool and neutral colours will give your kitchen a sense of space as they make the walls appear to recede. Whites and creams reflect freshness and cleanliness. .
- Dark and warm kitchen colours will make the walls appear to advance, therefore making the room appear smaller.
- Natural light is an important element to consider when you are choosing kitchen colours because it renders colour accurately.
- Depending on which way your room faces, and where the windows are positioned it will benefit from different colours schemes.
- Artificial lighting renders colour inaccurately. For instance incandescent lighting will give a yellowish cast, fluorescent lighting will give a green cast and tungsten light will give a blue cast.