Design Corner > That Dream Kitchen :


Interior Designer Heidi Altmann of Heidi & Me discusses ways to get the most out of your dream kitchen design, and to make sure the reality lives up to its full potential....


Most of us have our dream kitchen planned out, in the same way we have planned that perfect wedding! The beautiful oven, high tech fridge, the latest tile trends featured as our splashback, beautiful pendants hanging over the breakfast bar where there is plenty of room for the kids to sit and do their homework, while we perform our domestic goddess duties. We flick through design magazines and use Pinterest to pin to our Kitchen Boards, however the reality of designing the perfect kitchen is somewhat more technical, and getting it right at planning stage is key to achieving the end result that you have dreamed of.


Accessible Bespoke

We’re living in a world, that is much more customised than it has been in the past, with people not as happy to settle for ‘off the shelf’ products. We want to stamp our own individual mark on our kitchens, and with many things being more accessible, why shouldn’t we! Our homes should reflect the way we live and our individuality, they should speak about who we are as opposed to being a generic template, slightly tweaked to fit our physical space. With the investment that we make on a kitchen, we should be able to enjoy an area that we resonate with, and feel good to live in and use.

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Interior Designers are facilitators to creating customised solutions, ensuring that your ideas are brought to life, giving exceptional results on all levels. Professional knowledge and experience is such an important tool in helping to translate your ideas and making them work your space.

When we begin any kitchen design process, nailing the brief is key. How is the space used, who lives in the space, how does it relate to the adjacent spaces, what are the non-negotiables in terms of the clients requirements? The more information we have at this stage, and the clearer it is will really assist in ensuring that your investment is realised to it’s greatest potential. We look not only at kitchen cabinetry and benchtops as the main elements of a kitchen; but at finishes, appliances, lighting, social aspect, functionality, spatial design and incorporating the relationship between adjacent spaces. These elements, when considered as a whole, form a cohesive space and a kitchen that should work on both a functional and aesthetic level.


Gather inspirational images and ideas...but don't follow the herd

Researching any purchase is important, especially with the level of overall investment that you will make on your kitchen. Pinterest is a great tool for this, and one that we have a love/hate relationship with. While it has great benefits in the design process, it can also be a rather large hinderance and using it to it’s advantage can be a fine art. We recommend using Pinterest as a tool to gather inspiration. Take elements from these inspirational images but understand that not everything that you love will translate to your own space. Falling in love with a complete kitchen and wanting to replicate it in it’s entirety won’t always work. Does your space lend itself to a large island, or will you be losing valuable space in adjoining areas by trying to incorporate a breakfast bar if your area is too small? Perhaps pendant lights over the bench will be too busy for your kitchen, will they distract from other feature elements?  Creating this balance of elements and features can be really tricky to nail! Working out which of these elements will work together isn’t always easy when there are so many accessible options. We talk about having a ‘hero’ piece, and with each new feature that we introduce, we take away from that hero. It’s all in the balance!

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Current Styles vs Timeless Detail

We love to incorporate a few items that are currently on point. The important thing to bear in mind with trends in an area like a kitchen, is that these can pass quickly.  We all remember the big Copper  phase that passed through a couple of years ago, only to be superceded by the current Brass trend. We’ve had coloured glass splashbacks, coloured cabinetry, subway tiles, geometric splashbacks...if we follow these trends too closely, when the next one comes through, your bold geometric splashback will be out with last years design mags.

We prefer to incorporate these as accents, a wee ‘nod’ to the current design climate as opposed to saturating our homes with trend after trend. More than following these trends, we encourage clients to think about what they love.


Avoiding budget blowouts

With any design project, having a clear budget in mind at the outset is a good idea. With a kitchen, we believe that it’s one of the most important parts of the brief. With so many areas where this can potentially be blown, it’s crucial to relate your decisions back to this, and deciding where the budget is best allocated. Often this will depend on what the budget is. If you’re working with a small budget, how can we get the most out of using standard cabinetry options, leaving a portion of the budget to cover the finishing details that will give your kitchen a bespoke, rather than an ‘off the shelf’ feel. Giving careful thought and consideration to handles, sinks & taps, tiles, benchtops and layout can create a real feeling of a personalised kitchen at a minimal cost. Choosing a slightly different colour cabinet finish may not necessarily cost any more than going for a standard white or colour, but will have a huge effect on the overall result. Likewise with a hefty budget, mistakes can easily be made as people may not pay as close attention to their spending.

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Planning for a bespoke kitchen for a client


Enjoying the process and the end result

Designing your kitchen should be an enjoyable process. Having the confidence in your designer to translate your ideas is something that we believe will give you the most out of your investment. A good kitchen designer will listen to their client's ideas, facilitating this into a beautiful kitchen that meets their client's needs and budget.


Heidi & Me Interior Design are based in Waiheke Island, however they can do online consultations and kitchen designs remotely.