Planning the heart of your home: An interview with kitchen designer Penny Egan

Penny Egan

The kitchen is often considered to be the heart of a home, so getting your kitchen design right can really make a difference. If you’re planning to revamp your kitchen this year, here’s some advice from an expert kitchen designer.

With 27 years of experience under her belt, if anyone knows how to plan the perfect kitchen it’s Penny Egan, director of Keller Kitchens.

“The business was started in 1932 by my grandad,” explains Penny. “At that point, we mostly sold wallpaper and paint, and later branched out into kitchens and bathrooms. I ran in and out of the shop from a young age, picking up the business as I went along.

For the last 10 years, my brother and I have been co-directors. We’ve now got two showrooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and Hyde near Stockport, and we specialise in kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. Our Bramhall shop trades as Keller Kitchens at Byles, while at Hyde we still trade under the original family name, Byles of Hyde.

“We’ve had many of our customers for a very long time, and they stay with us as we provide a personal service and good quality products at affordable prices.

“Kitchens are so important in the home, they can really make or destroy the whole feeling of the house, so it’s definitely worth putting some time into planning.

Arcade contemporary kitchen

“If you came into the shop and asked for our advice, we’d start by asking you all about how you use the room, your lifestyle, whether you have children, how much cooking you do, and generally get a feel for how you want it to work.

Then we’d come out and measure, then we’d create an individual design for you and price it up. We’d make sure that not only did the room fit in with your lifestyle, but also that it worked ergonomically and efficiently, and – most importantly – looked good.”

If you’re moving into an older house and want to replace a dated kitchen with a contemporary one, Penny recommends changing your kitchen cabinet doors for ones that have no handles.

Sleek horizontal lines create a feeling of space

“This creates long horizontal lines and a sleek, unfussy feel,” she explains. “This season’s look is about matt paint finishes, which looks very contemporary on a plain cabinet door, and hot colours at the moment are charcoal and off white.

I’d install drawers for maximum storage space, which gives you the same feeling of long lines and are practical as well; drawers give you a third more storage space than cupboards and are easier to access.”

Matt paint colours are bang on trend

“On-trend worksurfaces at the moment are quartz, which has a more solid and even colour with fewer imperfections than marble, and Corian, a blend of natural materials and acrylic polymer. Corian is hard wearing and flexible, as it can be cut to a range of depths and comes in a wide range of colours.

“Paint colours should be neutral, then you can add colour with accents like blinds or coloured glass splashbacks.”

To finish off your contemporary kitchen, Penny recommends Amtico or ceramic floor tiles.

“A big, plain tile gives a modern, spacious feel,” she says. “Small or patterned tiles are fussier, and will date more quickly.”

“If you don’t have the budget to replace the whole kitchen, adding new cabinet doors, worksurfaces and a new sink and tap will easily see you through for five or six years, until you’re able to do a full replacement.

“The kitchen is one room where it’s definitely worth spending a little more and getting it right,” says Penny. “A good quality kitchen should last for 15 years or so, so it’s a good investment, and will bring you years of pleasure.”

For more information about Penny and her company, please visit



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