If you’ve a penchant for a kitchen and can while away an hour browsing interiors inspo, it’s likely you’ve come across a Sola Kitchen. The Fulham-based luxury kitchen designers are everywhere right now, thanks to their way with clever storage, magazine page-worthy islands and clean, sophisticated aesthetic. We spoke to Founder and CEO of the brand, Sofia Bune Strandh for her top tips on kitchen renovation.
Where should you start when it comes to kitchen renovation?
The first thing to consider is to how the kitchen will be used. Do you cook a lot? Are several people cooking at the same time? Do you entertain a lot? How many children do you have? What will you use the area for besides cooking; for example, will it be a dining area, a TV corner or used for homework? When designing a kitchen, we start with a large number of questions about how the space will be used. Another important consideration is how to vent out the cookerhood, as many buildings have restrictions in how the ventilation ductwork can run. Then comes the fun part in choosing style and colours.
What should you spend on and what should save on?
Spend on good quality cabinetry – all other things, worktops, appliances and such, can be changed later, but if the cabinetry starts to fall apart after a few years the whole kitchen has to be refitted. Other things depend on personal preference. For example, you can get decent appliances from Siemens and other brands at a reasonable cost, but if you’re choosing Gaggenau or Wolf, you can easily spend £20k – £30k just on appliances. It’s important to work to your budget.
If you budget won’t stretch is there a way of doing it bit by bit?
Honestly, that’s very tricky. Paying for kitchen cabinetry, appliances, worktops and installation is essential. What can sometimes be done is that if the kitchen has a separate area, for example a work or dresser area, this can be remodelled later.
What look is least likely to date?
Either a classic shaker or a flat fronted kitchen in a neutral colour, not in high gloss. If you go for a classic shaker, I would advise getting it hand painted because the colours can then be updated.
And what’s the most popular style you offer?
Either our Classic Swedish Shaker look, which is an elegant shaker kitchen with clean simple lines, or a combination of the Danish Form 1 range with slatted doors and drawer fronts and a simple, flat fronted island.
White gloss has been huge for a few years now, are there any other colours that are proving particularly popular?
There has been a resurgence in grey and dark blue, but the latest kitchen trend is green and industrial, with exposed brick and metal accents.
Any tips for clever storage solutions?
Yes, for food storage, larders with individual drawers instead of the version where you pull out the door with all the drawers are much more practical. Fit a cabinet next to the hob with pull-out drawers for spices, condiments and all other bits and pieces that you use frequently whilst cooking, and utilise all the space by hiding a stepladder in the plinth. It’s important to think about your needs and priorities – when designing, we discuss the client’s needs, what they have in the kitchen and what they regularly use, and then plan practical storage.
How do you work a new kitchen into open-plan living?
Firstly, think about where the eating/living area will be, and how that will interact with the kitchen area. An important consideration is the position of the sink, we usually plan the sink so that it is a little bit hidden away, so when you have cooked and are serving you can easily put the pots in the sink and they will be out of view – some clients want the sink to be on their island, but this leaves pots in a very visible place. Another option is to put the island on a different level, to shield the view from the dining/seating area so you can hide the mess.
What about worktops, what’s the most durable and stylish?
Stone and composite are still very popular. Using wood, at least in parts of the kitchen, will add warmth and texture to the space. A Scandinavian favourite is stainless steel which is very smart and by far the most practical surface of all; brass and copper give a luxurious feel but require more care.
When it comes to kitchen lighting, what should you consider?
Plan lighting in zones, aim to have good light over the working space that is possible to turn off, and use separate ambient lighting over the dining area and breakfast bar.
How do you integrate seating into a kitchen?
Try incorporating benches and banquettes, not only are they comfortable and smart, they also save space.
How do you make a kitchen feel homely but stylish?
Whilst the perfect balance of style and cosiness may be considered a Scandi speciality, lighting is very important. Consider colours and textures and add some warmer materials, such as a wood worktop on an island or breakfast bar, to soften a contemporary kitchen.