Blame ‘Master Chef’ and the abundance of other cooking shows gracing our media these days, or the “kitchens and bathrooms first” approach to investing for possible re-sale; whatever the reason, homeowners are focusing on kitchens like never before.
This is undeniably the case across all segments of the housing market, but the proposition gets particularly interesting when the focus falls on the luxury homes market. And even if homeowners aren’t “foodies” who love to spend time in the kitchen, it seems they’ll often request premium level facilities in their million dollar homes for occasions when they hire in a professional chef to cater for exclusive dinner parties or larger events.
One feature now commonly requested as part of luxury house plans is a ‘butler’s pantry’, which is indispensable for such events. This often takes the form of a fully kitted out mini kitchen off the open plan main kitchen. Caterers can use the pantry for more private preparation during events, or homeowners can use it for low key evenings at home when the main kitchen is surplus to requirements.
Luxury home designs increasingly include commercial-grade kitchens with a range of stand-out features, such as one or more sub-zero fridges, ice makers, commercial grade steam ovens and top of the range hobs. Prestige home builders are also fielding enquiries about innovative products such as refrigerated drawers that co-ordinate with rest of the cabinetry in the kitchen, creating extra chilled storage space. Conversely, warming drawers that keep food hot perform the opposite function. Other gadgets include in-wall coffee-makers and wine chillers and pourers.
Another growing trend is to bring the more comfortable aspects of home into the kitchen. Prestige home builders are fielding enquiries for smaller lounge style areas or comfort ‘nooks’ in kitchens that enable less formal relaxation to happen around the ‘heart’ of the home.
In terms of aesthetics, classic white kitchens remain popular although more daring clients are increasingly opting for darker tones: such as charcoal or chocolate brown. And a key current trend is to contrast light and dark elements, such as a custom made, dark timber island bench in a pristine milk white kitchen. As with all luxury expenditure, the devil is in the detail; so, along with the best state of the art gadgets and appliances and a great layout, kitchens in million dollar homes ideally aspire to great workmanship. The trend for custom-made cabinetry using rare timbers, complete with an abundance of ‘soft-touch’ drawers that open and close effortlessly, continues apace. Exotic stone on counter tops and floors also continues to be specified in many luxury home designs, with feature mosaics and other specialised finishes also increasingly popular. Splashbacks in luxe finishes such as metallics, with burnished copper a favourite, are particularly on trend right now.
Finally, for many clients in the luxury home segment, digital connectivity is key. High-tech kitchen bench tops now offer digital functionality to control a wide range of internet-enabled products in the kitchen, such as adjusting the temperature of the fridge or stove top.