The kitchen island might be a thing of the past – here’s why

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A key benefit of this somewhat undone kitchen look, particularly in today’s time, is that it is a much more cost effective route than installing wall to wall cabinets and drawers, while still having more character. “Most of us are on a budget, and you can absolutely overspend on the kitchen,” says Ireland. “Decide what you want, then go to eBay. Instead of a built-in pantry, buy an old cabinet and outfit it with shelves, or get an old workbench and drop a sink into it.

“You can find wonderful furniture for little money, and the good news is that if you make a mistake, it won’t cost much. Because it’s not suitable, you can change the layout and move it around if it doesn’t work for you.

As to whether a kitchen with minimal cupboards and a discreet fridge works on a practical level, Ireland recommends – where space permits – having a small side room for what it calls “the guts of the kitchen”, or the work pieces you might need but don’t necessarily want to see on a daily basis, such as a larger refrigerator or freezer, a utility sink, and storage space for overflows.

For those who don’t have the luxury of a separate utility space, another option is to have a mix of built-in under-counter storage to hide essentials and freestanding pieces to add character.

The kitchen business flightbeloved of the style set (her client list includes Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, Pearl Lowe and Zoe Ball), noted that more and more clients are opting for freestanding furniture to mix with their built-in cabinets.

“We’ve always loved the traditional painted freestanding kitchen, with separate pantries and butcher blocks,” says Helen Parker, the company’s creative director. “We also see the simple look coming back: less built-in wardrobes, less gadgets, but money spent on really good cupboards and appliances. This way of arranging a kitchen is old-fashioned, easy and user-friendly, and it just doesn’t go out of style.


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