First and foremost, where do you begin when planning a kitchen?
You should look at your house as a whole – its age, its style, the original features it has and then work to enhance and allow the beauty of the room to shine through. Be sympathetic to the building rather than just fitting a kitchen that has no regard for the actual room it is going in. That’s not to say you must keep to the same style as the property, it just means bear it in mind. A beautiful old Georgian home with high ceilings and big windows can take a traditional or super modern look as long as it’s done with care. Always choose quality over quantity, a few simple, beautifully made pieces of furniture will always, without exception, look better than a room crammed with cheap cupboards. Don’t just think about what you need but think how your kitchen could be enhanced and make the most of your surroundings, you may have to lose a bit of clutter but the feeling of space in a subtle, beautiful room is a much better thing to get used to.
What should you spend/save your money on?
I would recommend spending your money on good quality cupboards as this is the basis of your kitchen. If the cupboards are not good quality, then nothing you add into the kitchen afterwards will ever look good. Save money by buying a few vintage pieces, perhaps a pantry or some shelves or renovated taps. Good worktops are a must, but these could be sourced from a reclamation yard if you have the time and patience, wood needs looking after but in order to save money this is a good option and it’s really not too much of a hassle to oil your tops once every few months. I highly suggest buying the best quality appliances you can afford, it’s a simple fact that the better the appliance the longer it lasts and the better it looks, you can spoil a beautiful kitchen with a cheap and poorly made cooker or fridge.
What's your most popular finish?
Most of our cupboards are painted, it’s what we are known for and what we have been making and perfecting over the last 30 years, so it’s what our customers initially approach us for. We like to keep things simple for our customers so there’s not hundreds of choices, this means pretty much everyone has a painted cupboard and a natural stone or wooden worktop. It’s a classic look that’s dependable, and makes the basis for a long-lasting, beautiful, functional and simple kitchen.
Any tips on keeping your kitchen timeless?
Avoid too many gadgets, especially if you choose for natural worktops, such as marble or wood. Style your room with everyday kitchen things such as pots and pans and crockery. Avoid statement pieces, such as large fashionable lights and avoid going for a contrived look, such as industrial, as it will age very quickly. Try to go for a mix of old and new rather than updating your whole room in one big flurry. For example, an old floor can keep a room from looking too new and everyday items on display can help to make a kitchen feel like a home rather than a show house.
What are the big kitchen trends for 2019?
Trends shouldn’t be too much of a consideration when planning your new kitchen. It is impossible not to be subconsciously drawn towards emerging interior trends, but the trick is to make them subtle and be aware of their longevity. Colours are the most defining part of a new kitchen and so we see colours changing subtlety and slowly over time. Here at deVOL we pick our paint colours very carefully, we want a sense of now in our choices, but we also want a sense of history and authenticity. Dark blue has been a favourite for deVOL customers for many years now and we have seen a little move towards dark greens as well, but we hope with whatever colour you pick is chosen with care so it will not suddenly feel very last year.
How do you choose a worktop and what are the differences between them?
We love marble, just simple Carrara, soft and cool to the touch with a natural beauty and a character that makes it a little contentious for some to use in a kitchen. Yes, it may stain or etch over time, but there’s something special about it that you don’t get from a man-made stone. It seems to give off an air of quality and humble beauty wherever you see it used. Then there’s Arabescato marble, bold and veiny and much less subtle but still stunningly beautiful and natural, but not for the faint hearted as it really does make a bold statement when used in quantities. Somehow whenever a stone is natural its nuances and its boldness seem more acceptable, we must remember that when we have these natural stones, we need to treat them well and they will give you a lifetime of beauty.
Wood is another beautiful option, tactile and strong, each piece is different and so it seems to have a character which always makes a room feels more honest. Wood needs care though, it needs feeding to keep it supple and strong. It needs to be kept dry and oiled once in a while. Seeing a starving worktop bought back to life by oil is so satisfying and gives a whole new lease of life to your kitchen, but you need to commit to this chore.
Quartz is a great option for people who are a little more fastidious about their surfaces looking pristine all the time, it has less character, but it is more durable and stain resistant (although not completely) so it’s a good option for people who don’t want a low maintenance work surface.
And what about cupboard fittings, how do you decide on the finish?
Brass is a very popular choice, it must be aged and not too shiny, but it gives a vintage feel to your kitchen and is more subtle than chrome. Brass has a warmth and patina that chrome doesn’t offer, it also has a living finish which means its colour is always changing. Chrome is much more consistent in colour and finish, it is more contemporary and can make a kitchen feel modern and sleek.
Finally, any lighting tips to consider?
Keep pendant lights subtle and not too overpowering, even though the urge to really make your mark with these is hard to resist. Avoid three lights over an island combination, try to be less obvious and go for simple understated and beautiful. Make sure you have plenty of inset ceiling lights to give maximum brightness when needed. As with all lighting, make sure you get dimmers fitted, they make so much difference to the atmosphere and function of a room. Wall lights are a great way of mixing up the feel of a room, they seem to create a softer light and really give character to a room. I would always recommend wall lights in a kitchen. Also a few little occasional lights are nice for added atmosphere, a little pool of light in a dark corner is the perfect way to create lovely little spots in a room, an unexpected light and a little styling in an otherwise dark corner can be the making of a room.