Archive for the ‘Kitchen’ Category

Design inspiration: Five luxury kitchens

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

The kitchen is such an important room in all of our homes. Not only do we throw together all of our meals here, but it’s often a hub for family life – where we cook, eat and chat together.

Let’s face it, it’s also the room that many of us would love to upgrade. Whether it’s top of the range gadgets and appliances or the sort of high end interiors featured on How To Spend It many of us dream of going bigger and better in the kitchen.

Let us go through the keyhole into five homes that can serve as great inspiration for your dream kitchen.

Aldo Zilli

Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli was forced to wait eight months to finish his £1 million dream kitchen, such was the waiting list for the bespoke design work that went into the room.

The ‘Fiore di Cristallo’ room features a £26,400 Swarovski Crystal chandelier – which illuminates the £36,850 crystal island centerpiece – as well as solid copper walls, a £5,000 fridge, £6,850 stone worktop and handcrafted German appliance from Gaggenau.

The Mayfair kitchen was crafted by design guru Claudio Celiberti.

Mr Zilli said: “As far as I am concerned this kitchen, the ‘Fiore di Cristallo,’ to me is the equivalent of a kilo of white truffles on my pasta. In other words, Claudio has combined innovative design with functionality faultlessly. This is ultimate luxury at its best.”

Ellen De Generes

US TV personality Ellen De Generes shares a stunning ranch in the Santa Monica mountains of California with partner Portia De Rossi – and the kitchen matches the luxury of the property.

An Italian industrial light fitting hangs above a beautiful antique bluestone table in a room that manages to embrace the traditional equestrian look to the property and deliver a homely kitchen/diner.

19th century American Windsor chairs and a Danish lounge chair help set the mood for a relaxing room.

Lady Gaga

You might expect pop’s queen of the weird and wonderful to have a fairly bizarre kitchen and home to match her eclectic image. Yet you’d be wrong.

Gaga’s Malibu home is classy and traditional, with a top of the range kitchen to match. Its style is a masterclass in how to match chrome, stainless steel, brown and cream in a classy, understated way. Plenty of people get this wrong, but not Gaga.

Steven Klar

Long Island developer Steven Klar may not be a famous face like those above, but his kitchen easily matches those two.

His kitchen is stocked with two sub-zero refrigerators, two Bosch dishwashers, butler’s pantry (or secondary kitchen!) a Scotsman ice maker and a six-burner commercial grade Russell range which features a barbecue that vents outside.

Interestingly he doesn’t cook himself in this kitchen – but it’s a must-have asset and means that he can get in a professional chef to cook from here when he’s entertaining – another burgeoning trend among those in luxury homes and apartments. If you’re going to get in a pro, they’ll need the right equipment after all.

Colosseo Oro

This isn’t an individual’s home as such, more a limited edition installation. There are just 10 available and each features ‘24 carat gold leafing, crocodile embossed leather, Venetian ink-stained gold glass and Sub-Zero & Wolf appliances’ – with those appliances costing £55,000 alone. The look is topped off by Swarovski crystal lights. The whole thing has been designed for those who like to entertain – and impress their guests.

Designer Paul Marazzi said: “I feel a kitchen should have a soul and presence, transforming the room into an emotional experience, a celebration of family life and convivial living, transcending the kitchen into the heart and soul of the home”.

Whose kitchen would you most like to have?

Fresh Design Guide: Growing kitchen herbs

Friday, June 5th, 2015

Growing herbs in your kitchen

Herbs are one cooking ingredient that definitely taste better fresh, and if you don’t want to spend your cooking time going out in the rain and picking slugs off the tarragon, it’s best to grow them inside. That way, they’re ready to hand whenever you need them and you know they’re clean and pesticide-free.

Ready to get started? Here’s how….

The hardiest herbs for growing indoors all year round are oregano, chives, mint, rosemary, and thyme.

If you don’t have any in the garden, start with small plants from a garden centre, and pot them up in containers with potting compost. In summer, you can add basil, coriander, dill and parsley as well, but these don’t winter well and will probably have to be discarded at the end of the season and replaced the following year.

The life of supermarket basil plants can be extended if you split them and re-pot the individual plants. Alternatively, if you have a glut of summer basil, dry the leaves for winter use or make homemade pesto.

If you’re leaving your herbs in place all year round, make sure the leaves aren’t touching a window as they may be affected by frost.

For chives, separate a small clump from a garden plant once they’ve stopped growing at the end of the season, and pot it up. Leave the pot outside until the leaves have completely died back, although watch out for frosts. Take the pot indoors and put it in a cool dark spot such as a garage for a week, then move it to a sunny windowsill to stimulate new growth.

Keep compost moist, and make sure the plants aren’t getting too hot.

For sage, the best way to start is with a tip cutting from an outdoor plant.

Start by cutting off a young shoot a few centimetres below the leaf crown (the bushy tip). Remove the lower leaves, retaining the top three pairs, then plant the cutting in potting compost. Take care to keep the compost moist until the plant has grown sturdy roots.

You can also start a tip cutting by putting the shoot into water then potting it. Sage likes to grow indoors, but will need a sunny windowsill.

Growing tips

With bushy herbs such as rosemary, pinch back new shoots to stop the plants going leggy. Picking sprigs off for cooking will also help, although never reduce the plant by more than about a third.

Remove flower buds from plants, to keep the leaves growing.

Use pots with good drainage, and if you’re putting them on a windowsill don’t forget to put a saucer underneath.

If taking cuttings or separating smaller plants from large clumps, pot up several to give the best chance of success.

Go potty

If your plants are in the kitchen, you want them to look stylish. We love:

1. Raspberry herb pots, Burgon & Ball

Pretty pink herb pots designed by Sophie Conran

These pretty raspberry coloured herb pots will add a pop of colour to your windowsill and will ensure your fresh herbs are close to hand. Designed by Sophie Conran for  Burgon & Ball, the set contains three pots and a tray. £14.95, available from Annabel James.

2. Word herb pots, Tesco

White ceramic herb pots by Tesco

Clean, simple and easy to fit into any colour scheme is this set of three ceramic herb pots, £12 from Tesco Direct. They’re even dishwasher safe, so you can sanitise them between plants.

3. Zinc pots, Anjo

Contemporary zinc herb pots from Anjo

A contemporary set of zinc plant pots will add a stylish touch to your windowsill. Can be used outside, too. £14.95 for a set of three from Anjo.

(Top image credit: Shutterstock/merc67)

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…

Solano Heating & Air Conditioning

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