Archive for the ‘Kitchen’ Category

Spring cleaning: The kitchen

Monday, March 31st, 2014

It’s officially British Summertime, and that means the days are getting longer and brighter. While we’re really looking forward to the summer and some nicer weather, it also means we’ve noticed that the Fresh Design house isn’t quite as…er…fresh as it could be. It’s time to get cracking with the Spring cleaning, and we’re starting with the kitchen.

We can see clearly now

Start by cleaning the windows – if you do a lot of cooking, you might be horrified by the amount of grime that comes off! Make your own natural window clearner with 500ml water, 60ml white wine vinegar and half a teaspoon of eco-friendly washing up liquid. Put it all in a spray bottle, give it a good shake, spray it onto the windows and wipe off with a dry, lint-free cloth. Eh voila!

Cleaning the oven

Instead of a chemical spray, we prefer to use a more natural approach. Mix four or five tablespoons of baking soda to a stiffish paste with some water, then use a cloth to cover the inside of the cold oven with a thin layer (avoiding the heating elements). Leave it overnight, then scrape off the residue with a plastic spatula and wipe the surfaces with a cloth and some warm water.

Cleaning the floor

If you eat family meals in the kitchen, the chances are that the floor under the table could do with a bit of attention. Move the table out of the way, and give the floor a really good sweep and mop. The cheapest non-chemical floor cleaner is warm soapy water with a little squeeze of eco-friendly washing up liquid (don’t go mad, or you’ll never clear all the suds up!).

If your floor is wood, use as little water as possible then dry the area with a towel wrapped round a broom head. For stone and terracotta floors, follow manufacturers instructions. For vinyl and linoleum floors, wash the area again with warm water with a slosh of white wine vinegar added, which will give a brilliant shine.

Kitchen cleaning goodies

Keep yourself motivated with these cute, quirky and colourful kitchen accessories.

Dish Wish, Maiden


We’ve all wished we could wave a magic wand and get the washing up done. Well, we can’t promise supernatural assistance, but we’ve found the next best thing – this wand-shaped washing up brush, £8.50 from Maiden, will keep you smiling while you get the job done.

Squirrel dustpan, Koziol

Cute and practical

Who wouldn’t love this squirrel dustpan and brush from Koziol? In bright spring colours, it’s almost enough to tempt us to start cleaning the rest of the house as well. Priced at £29.

Dish draining rack, Umbra

Red-y and organised

Tidy up your sink with this bright dish draining rack. The handles mean it’s easy to move it safely from the draining board to the sink, and the integral funnel will stop waste water sloshing onto surfaces. There’s plenty of room to drain plates, bowls and cutlery and a steel band to stop cups and glasses tipping over. £29, available from Red Candy

Dishcloth and Tea Towel, Jangneus

Going cheep

 Treat yourself to some bright new kitchen textiles ready for Spring. We love this ‘blue bird’ Swedish-designed dishcloth – made from a mixture of cellulose and cotton, it’s fully washable and reusable, and is biodegradable once it’s reached the end of its life.

Something fishy

The tea towel features a bright block print of fish and is made from a mix of linen and cotton for a top quality finish. The dishcloth is £3 and the tea towel £12, both from Berry Red

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

Friday, January 31st, 2014

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



Give Your Kitchen a Face Lift!

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Modern and contemporary kitchen splashbacks

The kitchen is the most popular room in the house, it’s where the household congregates to cook, eat their meals whilst pondering over the day’s events, it’s used for entertaining and socialising. But if your kitchen is starting to look a bit dull and drab it can make it an unfriendly environment.

The good news is that even a few small changes and alterations can change the whole feel and look of your kitchen. So it’s time to revamp your kitchen and bring it back to life again with a splash of colour! Whether it’s adding a lick of paint to the walls or a glass splashback, we have the answers for a fab kitchen and the best thing is – it won’t cost you a fortune.


First things first, if the cupboards are looking a bit drab and dirty it can make the whole kitchen look a bit grim. Give them a good scrub down, it’s amazing how a quick clean can brighten them up instantly and make them look as good as new. If you have some spare paint, why not add a lick of paint over a wooden cupboard to give it a fresh look or add a splash of colour?


Are the walls looking a bit dull and faded? Give them a refresh, adding a lick of paint to the walls is amazing for brightening up the kitchen to make it a happy place again. If you got the time and the funds, be spontaneous and change the colour – it will make your kitchen look like it’s has had a total revamp. Feature walls are very in style at the moment, so why not add a variation or a brighter version of the dominating colour to make your kitchen really stand out.


Worn curtains can make your kitchen look very dated and restrict the sun light. So remove the old curtains from the window, as this will instantly brighten up the room making it appear more spacious. If you want something to block the sunlight, why not invest in some wooden blinds or a patterned roller blind. They’ll help your kitchen look fresh and bright and can coordinate with your interior design scheme.


Remove unnecessary items from your work tops…do you really need that pile of junk mail and newspapers on the counter? No? Find storage for them. De-cluttering your kitchen will make it appear much cleaner and more spacious. It might be time to think about getting a newspaper rack on the wall or clearing a drawer for all your spices so  they’re not sat on the work top. It will also give you a lot more work surface to work with when you’re cooking in your new kitchen.


Bring your kitchen up to date again with some bright accessories, it doesn’t have to be garish, just a splash. Why not try a coloured butter dish, salt and pepper grinder, or a table cloth and some funky fridge magnets. Adding some colour will make you dated kitchen look very 21st century. If you’re feeling a bit spontaneous then why not add a coloured glass splashback from Lux Glass or some bright chairs to give you kitchen that fab retro look and bring your kitchen back to life.

***The guest post was written by Emily Lockey on behalf of LuxGlass, specialists in glass splashbacks & glass worktops. ***

Moving house and kitchen re-design projects

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

They say it’s one of the most stressful things you can do, but 2013 is set to be a year of change, decorating and more work on a house, as we’re about to up sticks and move.

Aside from the fact that we’re currently in pre-moving chaos and mega last minute de-cluttering (we move next week…eek), we’re looking forward to settling in and getting stuck into improving another house. The idea of gradually adding decor, new colour schemes, curtains and soft furnishings does, not surprisingly, rather appeal to me!

We’ve loved living in our current house and have done loads to it over the last six and a half years, thanks in part to finding some excellent builders, including a kitchen extension and re-fit, a bathroom re-fit and re-design, complete new fencing outside, new soffits and gutters, changing all the internal doors, decorating the hall and stairs, creating a lovely patio with contemporary glass panelling, and a lot of planting in the garden.

We will miss the garden as it’s rather quirky, and one of the compromises with the new house is a smaller garden – but on the plus side, it’s nearly a complete blank canvas, so we are looking forward to designing and planting it in the way we want it.

The hardest part is leaving the kitchen. It wasn’t that stunning when we first moved in – very small and a complete ‘shrine to pine’ – even the ceiling was clad with pine. But we were able to knock down a wall and extend it, creating a much bigger, more functional kitchen and breakfast room.

It originally looked like this:

Traditional pine kitchen

In progress looked like this:

How to create a contemporary kitchen in your home

And was finally transformed it into this:

Transforming a kitchen into a contemporary and modern kitchen

The kitchen in the new house is an original, somewhat retro kitchen, so at some point it’s going to be subject to another kitchen re-fit. It’s a reasonably good sized room, but there is scope to expand it – we’re currently debating whether to knock a wall down and create a large kitchen diner, to put a door through to the existing dining room or simply re-design and update the layout, adding lots more storage.

However, we’re going to have to live with it for a while and see how the space and layout functions, as the house as a whole is in need of a good dose of TLC and there’s a long list of more practical and pressing DIY jobs to do first!

For now, it’s back to the packing…

Planning a Bespoke Kitchen of Your Dreams

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Contemporary designer kitchen

As the old adage states, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and in the same manner, the way to a house’s heart is through its kitchen.

Houses are bought and sold on the strength of their kitchens, and are usually the first thing to be remodelled when new owners move in.

Your kitchen has to represent you and your lifestyle, so getting the design that works for you, your family and what goes on within it takes a great deal of consideration. Here are a few things to thinks about when planning a bespoke kitchen of your dreams.

Seek Advice

Like planning for a wedding, most people have made vague plans of what they think that they might want long before they meet ‘The One’. However, turning this into a reality takes a lot of fine-tuning.

Talk to bespoke kitchen designers such as Increation about some of your ideas. This way you will be able to get more of your own input into the design as they use their own craftsmen and source all of the products and materials around what you want.

Using High Street firms will result in you having to fit around what products and stock they have available and could result in compromise on certain features.

Put function before fashion

A good kitchen design should be timeless. Appliances may change and develop over time, but how you utilise the space and how it makes you feel should remain fairly consistent.

Choosing a high gloss, brilliant white worktop might fit with the style that you have selected on your mood board of ideas, but if that is where the kids usually do their homework it might not hold its lustre for long.

Draw on your memory bank of certain designs you have admired in the past and see if they still resonate with you now. Take on board the latest trends and styles but don’t be a slave to them.

Embrace your fantasy

Your new kitchen needs to represent and reflect you, so let your imagination run wild and contemplate a quirky feature you might like to include which will hint at the kind of person you are.

Maybe it could be an original mosaic or tile used, or a pattern that echoes around the space. Visit your favourite gallery or museum and look at art and design related magazines, not just ones that focus on interior design.

Make a list of the works of art that resonate with you and see if you could make a reference to a building, painting or sculpture that you identify with.

Or maybe you have a geographical place that you would like to capture the essence of and allude to with the colours you chose etc.

Get your kitchen right and the rest of your house should fall into place, and even if it takes time figuring out exactly what you want, it will be time well spent and should also be a lot of fun.

***This post is in association with Increation***

Choosing The Perfect Kitchen Design

Monday, December 17th, 2012
How to design a kitchen

Blenheim kitchen from Homebase

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of your home, so when it comes to choosing your perfect kitchen, it’s no wonder you want to get it right. If you’re looking to update or redesign your kitchen, then here are some ideas and tips to help you choose the right kitchen for your home.

In today’s market, there are plenty of gorgeous bespoke kitchen designs to choose from, in a range of styles and suitable for varying budget needs. It’s a good idea to take some time browsing the options available online, through kitchen retailer websites such as Homebase, as well as going to visit ranges in store so you can get a clearer idea of what the products look like.

One of the important aspects of a kitchen design is the layout. When designing the right layout for you, it’s important to consider issues such as the size and shape of your kitchen, as well as the location of essential kitchen appliances, such as the cooker, hob, fridge and sink.

If your current kitchen layout doesn’t meet your needs – perhaps you feel the sink would be better placed under the window or the oven moved from an under counter position to higher up in a tower -  then re-designing the positioning and layout of items can help it work better.

How to choose a kitchen

Contemporary Monza kitchen

A good level of storage is important too and when you’re choosing a new kitchen, it’s a good opportunity to think about how you can incorporate all your storage needs. Simply adding more cupboards and putting away items that were previously left out on a countertop is one easy way of clearing the clutter in your kitchen. There are also lots of very clever kitchen storage solutions available too, such as pull out larders, that help you make the most of every bit of space.

Sometimes it can be hard to visualise how a new kitchen will actually look when it’s completed, especially if you’re changing the existing layout of the room. This is where online kitchen planners are incredibly useful, as you can use them to design and plan out your kitchen before you part with your hard earned cash.

There are some planning tools that help you work out where things are going to go,  and the basic layout of a room, but don’t give you much visual idea of what your room could actually look like when it’s finished.

The Homebase kitchen planner, however, works in 3D so you can get a good idea of what the end result could look like. You can use the kitchen planner to help you decide what works and what doesn’t in your kitchen. The designs can be saved and printed out and are useful to have if you’re planning to book a free kitchen design and planning appointment.

***This post is in association with Homebase***

What To Consider When Designing a New Kitchen

Monday, October 29th, 2012
Contemporary kitchen design ideas

Astral blue gloss kitchen

So, you’ve decided it’s high time you got the kitchen you’ve always wanted and you’re finally going to get rid of your dated looking units and get something a bit more contemporary.

Where do you start when designing a new kitchen and what are the key things to consider?

Kitchen layout

Well, the first thing to think about is work flow and where everything should be placed in the kitchen.

When you’re in the thick of it preparing the family Christmas dinner, there’s nothing worse than having to run from one side of the kitchen to the next looking for a spare inch of work space so you can peel the sprouts and chop the carrots.

Wide, spacious worktops right beside the hob and oven are very important for a happy cooking experience and the more workspace you can squeeze into whatever area you have available to you, the better.

Cupboards and storage

The next thing to think about is cupboard space and where you are going to store your cooking utensils, pots, pans and crockery.

Again, think about your work flow and how you’re going to move about the kitchen.

A good idea is to have a large pull out drawer just under your oven or hob where you keep all your pots and pans and other large cooking vessels.

If you have room for a drawer with a carousel in it then all the better. That way you can just twist it round to grab the pot you need without having to clatter through all the others.

Another key thing to consider is where you want your fridge freezer to go and how big you want it.

Obviously it’s a good idea to keep it as far away from the oven as possible otherwise it will just have to work overtime to keep everything chilled, which will add to your energy bills and isn’t very good for your carbon footprint.

Gas or electricity

Finally, have a think about whether you want to use gas or electricity.

This will most likely come down to a matter of personal preference. Some people love cooking with gas as the heat is instant and you don’t have to wait for the hob to heat up, while others prefer electric hobs and ovens.

If you don’t have gas fired central heating in your home then it might be a good idea to opt for electric appliances, otherwise you will have to get a separate gas connection which may not be worthwhile if it’s just to fire up your hob.

***This is a guest post***

No storm in your teacups: How to create a calm kitchen

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Kitchen tiles from The Tile Depot

In today’s hectic world, it is a rare treat to find yourself in a room that makes you feel completely calm and tranquil. As we spend so much time in our kitchens nowadays, even if we’re not preparing huge banquets from scratch but just whipping up a quick stir fry or simply using the room as a base to entertain friends, it’s a great place to create a peaceful atmosphere.

So how do you go about bringing the calming vibes into the hub of your home? This guide will help you do just that, because with some carefully selected items of decoration, and a specially chosen colour scheme, you’ll soon be reaping the benefits that a modern yet timeless kitchen can offer.

Choose neutral colours that won’t leave you flustered. A base of cool whiles, natural stone and soft beige will leave the space feeling airy and you feeling clear-minded. To stop walls looking too plain, decorate them with mosaic tiles from The Tile Depot. These can make for intricate detail and an elegant splash back, especially if using neutral colours.

Don’t clutter up your sides. Keep as much hidden away in cupboards as possible. Brightly-coloured packaging will spoil the tranquil atmosphere so ensure you have adequate storage space, or consider some pale-coloured jars or biscuit barrels placed neatly on coordinating surfaces to hide your multi-coloured snacks away.

Let as much natural light in as possible. Keep windows free of any curtains or blinds if you can. If you really need the privacy, choose a voile in the sheerest material suitable. Maximising the amount of natural daylight in your home has a whole host of benefits from uplifting spirits to helping the body fend off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so make the most of every ray of light you can get into your kitchen!

Make use of the modern world to increase your calm. Avoid stacked-up dirty dishes with a dishwasher, be fully prepared to entertain with minimal effort by investing in a built in wine-cooler, and, if possible, choose a fridge with an attached ice-maker.

***This post is in association with The Tile Depot***

Essential kitchen cookware from John Lewis

Friday, July 6th, 2012
Stainless steel contemporary cookware

Curve cookware

Sleek and stylish and perfect for a contemporary kitchen, the Curve cookware range is made from stainless steel and includes everything a discerning home cook requires, including saucepans, omelette pans, stockpots, and milk pans.

Saucepans and frying pans are available to buy individually from £23, or in three piece sets from £75.

Budget affordable student cookware

Value cookware

Cookware needn’t be expensive and if you just want the basics, without spending a fortune, then the John Lewis value cookware does the job well.

The range, which includes saucepans and frying pans, is priced from only £5. The pans are made from aluminium, with non-stick inside, and a soft grip silicone handle. Great for students or first time home owners and renters.

Contemporary kitchen cookware

House steel grey cookware

For oven to tableware for a contemporary kitchen, the House cookware range in steel grey ceramic is a striking addition for your home.

Items available include ramekins (£3), utensil jars (£10), jugs (£10), roasting dishes £15) and 3 litre casserole dishes (£15).

Classic fresh white porcelain cookware
House white porcelain range

Or, if you prefer the fresh clean lines of white porcelain (and it’s ideal for mixing and matching with other crockery), the House range is also available in white. It provides functional and durable cookware with simple designs.

The well priced range contains a variety of kitchen essentials, from ramekins (£3) to rectangular dishes (£8), pie dishes (£18) and covered casseroles.

  • Kitchen

    From top-spec cookers to designer coffee machines, John Lewis has everything you need to make your kitchen the heart of the home.

  • Cameras

    Find digital cameras that fit your needs perfectly at John Lewis. Our experts can guide you through the confusing maze of megapixels.

  • Laundry

    In the market for a new integrated washing machine? John Lewis has a great range, and we’ll even dispose of your old one for you.

  • Office

    With a huge range of laptops available and expert advice on hand, John Lewis can help you find your perfect one.

  • Out and About

    From the shuffle to the nano, John Lewis has iPods to suit your needs and keep your ears entertained while you’re on the move.

Harvey Jones multi coloured linear kitchen

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Contemporary home contemporary kitchen

Rainbow kitchen

We’re swooning over contemporary kitchen design ideas today and came across this multi-coloured linear kitchen idea from Harvey Jones.

Painted in a rainbow of colours, with all the kitchen cupboards painted a different colour, it’s one way to brighten up a room! They’ve used darker shades on the bottom cupboards and corresponding lighter shades on top to create an interesting palette of colour.

Admittedly it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re not afraid of colour and want to liven up your kitchen, then it’s a rather fun idea. What’s more, the stack of Pantone mugs work wonderfully with it!

What do you think – could you live with a multi-coloured kitchen in your home?

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