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Design your dream kitchen… by answering these questions

In my experience many people find it tricky knowing where to start with their new kitchen. You could say the same for any room in your home, but kitchens are highly functional spaces so there’s not only more room for error, but making a mistake can be a source of never ending frustration: Why didn’t I make the island bigger? I should have had a double oven; I wish I’d had pull out drawers in my pantry. However, if you ask yourself the relevant questions in the first place you will avoid making mistakes, both big and small. These 36 questions will help you create your dream kitchen.

Your ultimate kitchen

  • What do you like or dislike about your current kitchen and what would you retain or change? making process; spend time gathering your research and remember ‘form follows function.’
  • What would you most like that you haven’t got?
  • Do you feel strongly about ‘buying Australian’ or sourcing products that are environmentally responsible?
  • What look/s do you like: Minimalist; Traditional; Country; Painted; Industrial or Classic?
  • What kinds of flooring do you like?

Your household

  • How many people will be in the kitchen at various times?
  • How big are they now and how big will they become while living in this house?
  • What will people do in the kitchen?
  • How many people will actually work in the kitchen?

Serving, eating and cleaning up

  • What eating facilities do you need and where?
  • Do you, or would you like to eat in the kitchen and when?
  • Do you have, or want, an adjacent family dining area? 
  • Who clears up, loads the dishwasher and puts everything away? Does the dishwasher ever get left open?

Storage

  • What kinds of foods do you store? (Frozen, fresh, lots of tins etc.) 
  • What size fridge and pantry do you think you need?
  • How much crockery do you need to store, including everyday and occasional sets?
  • Are you storing anything you haven’t used for years? Could you cull what’s in your kitchen?
  • Do you have any particular storage requirements?
  • What are your garbage and recycling needs?

Other activities, flow and furniture

  • Is the kitchen part of a living/family room?
  • What furniture has to be allowed for before built-in cabinetry gets nailed to the floor? For example, dining table and chairs, sofas, coffee table, TV unit etc.
  • Does the configuration allow for good ‘traffic’ flow – in, out, through and around?
  • What other activities apart from the obvious ones take place in the kitchen? For example: Homework, family admin, watching TV.
  • Do you need a computer area or space for things such as filing or a notice board?
  • What do you need or want to see from the kitchen, both internal and external? Consider everything from facing your guests when you’re cooking and entertaining and watching the children in the pool from the sink.
  • How will you integrate a sound system in this area?

Plumbing and power

  • What sort of power do you have or could you have?
  •  How many power points do you need for small appliances and where do you want your task lighting?
  • Can you move plumbing and wiring easily? Are you on a cement slab?
  • What heating and air conditioning requirements do you have?

Kitchen designer, Sydney


Renovating your bathroom? Read these tips before you begin…

1. Who will be using the bathroom?

  • The first question to ask is ‘How many people will be using the bathroom and how will they want to use it?’ Considering lifestyle factors will ultimately influence the design, layout, fixtures and fittings you require. 
  • What is the age, gender and height of those using it regularly? (this is particularly relevant for positioning the shower head/rail)
  • What is the purpose of your new bathroom besides the obvious? Is it somewhere you’d like to stay and relax in for example?
  • What do you like and dislike about your current bathroom?
  • Create a collection of magazine clippings, browse the Internet for images and latest trends, visit showrooms and document web images that inspire you. Try to note your preferences regarding colour, materials, layout and finishes. Don’t be hasty during this decision making process; spend time gathering your research and remember ‘form follows function.’

2. What’s the best layout?

It’s ironic that a room requiring so many functional fixtures – shower, bath, toilet, basins, vanity and storage – is usually the tiniest in the house. With so many features to consider, designing the right layout is crucial. Great design in conjunction with careful and attentive spatial planning will help maximise your bathroom’s function, look and feel. Here is a checklist I share with my clients:

  • Is the bathroom in the right place?
  • Is the view into the bathroom as attractive as possible?
  • What are your storage requirements (think towels, cleaning products, extra soap, shampoo, toilet rolls, razors, makeup, hairspray etc.)
  • Is there enough storage space for everyone using the bathroom?
  • Where should the towel rail go for maximum convenience? And is there enough room to dry yourself and/or your children?
  • Have you considered new lighting or ventilation?
  • Is underfloor heating or a heated towel rail on your wish list?
  • Do you need a bath?

3. Fixtures and fittings – have you made the right choices?

I ask clients to consider the following before they part with their money.

Quality fittings Given that bathrooms get a good workout I always suggest allocating a portion of the budget to good quality fitting and materials if you can. This will highlight the quality of the bathroom and is more likely to avoid wasting time and money on repairs or having to replace cheaper versions sooner rather than later.

Location Do you need to move your any of your fixtures, such as the toilet or basin? This could increase costs initially, but it could be advantageous in the long term, increasing property value and worth. 

Rainfall shower heads and waterfall bath
taps
These are
not only luxurious to use, they increase the appeal of your bathroom should you want to sell your property.

Bath or not? Could you live without a bath altogether
and allocate the space to a more generous shower? Remember that families
usually prefer at least one bath in the house.

Concealed cistern toilet If design and space allows, these
are considered to be more stylish and luxurious.

Basins Decide whether you want an under mounted or vessel basin.

Heating Underfloor heating is wonderful during colder months and a good selling point.

Can we help? As a side note, if you like the luxury look but don’t
have an unlimited budget, my advice is to select a couple of areas in your
bathroom where you can spend. Well over 90% of bathroom renovations rely
on trades, particularly if you need fixtures/fittings removed or are starting a
major bathroom overhaul. To ease this process, Jo Taylor Design offers a
complete project management service leveraging a trusted team of experienced,
high calibre tradesman. We’ll give you tailored solutions for your home,
bringing style, functionality and great value to every project. If you would
like to enquire about booking a consultation please contact us.

Bathroom designer, Sydney


Why use an interior designer?

When you find yourself in a new home, you’ll usually discover elements that don’t function as well as they could: The dishwasher is in the wrong place, you can’t turn on the shower until you’re in it and you seem to be missing a linen cupboard. It’s in these moments when the harsh reality hits you – the structural design of your home dictates how you use it. It can feel like money well-saved when homeowners don’t hire an architect, when in fact it often comes back to haunt them, costing time, money and a lengthy string of conflicts that naturally accompany dealing with multiple suppliers. The same goes for interior design, which was once viewed as a ‘service’ exclusively for those ‘with money’ but is now accessible to a far broader market. It may surprise you to find there are some genuinely great reasons to use an interior designer. Here are my top three:

1. You will save money

With years of knowledge and experience up their sleeve, a designer can quickly assess, plan and offer sensible suggestions on how your space can be uniquely enhanced. What’s more, if an interior designer is brought onboard early in the planning stage (before it goes to council) they will not only build a solid bridge between you and your architect/contractor, they’ll also save you unwanted headaches (and often money) with changing approved designs. For example, if a client wanted a large fridge but the space on the drawing shows that a window is too close for this, it is easier to change the position of the window on the drawing before approval. If this isn’t picked up until after approval they will need to go back to council to approve it or compromise the design. This kind of detailed planning ensures optimal time and money management, whilst reducing risk. The common misapprehension associated with interior designers is their reputation for discarding the client’s current furniture and replacing it all. However, ‘out-with-the old-and- in-with-the- new’ is never a reputable designer’s goal; they will take an inventory of all existing furniture and talk to their client about what will be relocated to the new house and then measure it. Their aim is to understand their client’s needs and desires in order to determine what stays and what goes!

2. You will make money

An interior designer not only adds a distinct perspective to your home, they ensure your spaces are both beautiful and functional. Using their training and experience they balance aesthetics with structural and architectural considerations, which results in a well-considered and consistent design. This will set your home apart from the competition, creating more reasons for buyers to love it and pay you what you are asking.  An interior designer should also have great relationships with trusted trades and suppliers executing the design. The key to a successful renovation or ‘project’ includes meticulous project management skills, careful budgeting and, of course, sourcing trustworthy and reliable trades people. A job that’s executed to a high standard (and meets its budget and timeline) can make and save you money.

3. You’ll access many more resources

Interior designers have valuable connections and access to resources and merchandise that is not available to the general public. Everyone from furniture manufacturers and shops to fabric suppliers offer them discounts. In addition, designers have access to key industry contacts, saving homeowners headaches by readily recruiting reliable plumbers, contractors and electricians for their projects. As well as having budget benefits, using these exclusive resources means designers can help you to personalise your home, making it look more collected, unique and complete.

 

Interior designer, Sydney


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