18-20 October 2024
International Convention Centre Sydney

Glenda Roff’s Kitchen Dos and Don’ts

Glenda Roff, from Perth based Character Cabinets and winner of 2017 Best of Houzz Award in Design, filled up seats at The Home Show with her talk on the ‘yays’ and ‘nays’ of kitchen design.

❌ Don’t ❌

Rush design ?

Even if you are nine months away from renovating, get started now. It takes time to refine ideas and source suppliers. There’s nothing worse than being rushed to make decisions and ending up with something you’re not 100% happy with.

Go cheap ?

Glenda advises buying quality if you can afford it, “I had a friend recently who had a flatpack kitchen he’d installed. After a couple of years, everything had shifted a bit, because the construction and the materials were not high-grade. That meant the benchtop split. For him, the initial price was low, but the long-term cost was high.”

Buy flat pack ?

Glenda really has it out for flat packs, but with reason. She pointed to a picture of a flatpack kitchen that showed appliances sticking out, dead corners, ‘hodgepodge shelves’ and fridge doors hitting walls. One size does not fit all.

Darren Palmer’s (The Block) Kitchen Design Fundamentals

Do European Laundry ?

Glenda advises against the European’s approach to kitchen laundries, which is actually banned in WA. The Western Australian Health Act 1911 prohibits washing machines from ‘being located in a room in which food is prepared, stored, served or consumed.’ She warned, “It’s not a good idea to have nappies or the result of a gastro outbreak alongside where you’re doing food prep.”

Forget practicality ⚒

We’re all obsessed with luxury, letting practicality fall by the wayside. Take an upstand (backsplash) for example; they are out of vogue but incredibly crucial to preserving the life of your kitchen. Glenda argues that anything can be made to look fashionable!

Overlook lighting ?

It’s one of those finishes that people often overlook, yet changes the entire feeling of a kitchen. Light is an orchestra and every fitting an instrument. Task lighting, feature lighting and decorative lighting; all serve a practical or emotional purpose in the composition of your kitchen. Glenda highlighted this, “Often in the building process, [lighting] often comes at the end. So, you tend to go ‘oh my goodness’ and it adds on to the budget right at the end.”

✅ Do 

Go with the flow ?

You have to imagine where people are going to be walking around this busy space. For families, it can be more hectic than an airport with kids speeding around, parents landing shopping bags and grandparents just parked on the runway. Get technical; draw out a flow diagram of the appliances with arrows to represent footfall.

Think saucy ?

There are some essentials in the kitchen; olive oil, BBQ sauce, tea towels, baking trays, wine… We’ve all seen the immaculate white kitchens in Houzz, but we can’t have showrooms forever. You need certain saucy items to be easily accessible, not buried in cabinets within cabinets. Design around your every-day needs. Glenda inquired, “Where are you going to put your wet tea towels? Do you still want to put them on the oven? Not everybody does want to put them on the oven when they get a brand-new kitchen!”

Daydream direction ?

Doing dishes. Peeling potatoes. Shaking salad. Working in the kitchen can let the mind wander. Rather than staring at a wall wondering what could have been, why not enjoy your garden landscaping? You could even be facing your children or spouse to give the impression you are listening intently.

Get futuristic ?

If you are looking to spend over five years living in a home, invest in quality. The evil aforementioned flat pack kitchens and other low-quality fittings might leave you worse off than when you started. Buy quality materials like granite or quartz for worktops and hard maple or oak for cabinets.

Pin the rest ?

There’s nothing wrong with scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration. But remember that the word inspiration originates from the Middle English term ‘divine guidance’. Let the images guide but not decide. Ultimately, you need to show your personal flair and think outside the box. Glenda summarises, “White kitchens are amazing, fantastic, nobody can dislike them. But, if you are staying in the house, why wouldn’t you show a little bit of who you are?”

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