Lesley Taylor - Week 12

Western Mail

July, 2013

I’ve just moved into a new house that needs a lot of work. I’m starting with the kitchen and want something uber modern and stylish but child friendly (I’ve got 2 year old twins) too. How do I ensure the perfect balance?

 

No matter what style you’re trying to achieve, form should always follow function. There’s no point having the most wonderful home that is the envy of all your guests if it doesn’t work for you on a practical level. That’s not to say a practical solution can’t be the most stylish. You just need to think more carefully about you and your family’s need when planning the space.

 

For a child friendly kitchen design that boasts all the modern must-haves, choose a sleek handle-less design in the colour of your choice. You might want to avoid white however, unless you’re okay with following the kids around all day long with a baby wipe in hand, removing all traces of grubby paw prints. Also, avoid high gloss finishes as marks will show more easily. Opt for matt lacquer, veneer or textured wood finishes. Handle-less kitchens will allow for a streamlined, minimal look and feel and can also help to prevent your little ones from opening cupboards and drawers, giving you less to worry about.  In addition, choose worktops and units with rounded edges and corners to keep the kids safe.

 

Choose appliances with child-friendly functions such as safety locks and invest in a good internal storage system that will accommodate sharp objects and cleaning products that need to be hidden away.

 

Steer clear of shiny flooring to avoid slips. Instead, opt for large format, 60x60cm tiles (the bigger the better) with a satin or matt finish. Porcelain tiles will work well in this situation.

 

I love experimenting with different materials and would love a bathroom suite that boasts a unique yet boutique hotel inspired edge. What are your thoughts on wood?

 

Wood is actually an ideal material for producing baths and basins. As long as the highest quality woods are selected, you shouldn’t encounter and rotting or warping, instead a highly durable product that stands the test of time. Visually, wooden sanitaryware looks fantastic and grabs attention the very moment the bathroom door is opened. Sure enough, a wooden bathroom suite creates a unique aesthetic but the nature of its origin is entirely natural and therefore a warm, organic and very peaceful ambience is the result.

 

William Garvey specialises in hand made luxury, Teak bathrooms. One of nature’s finest materials, Teak is an extremely safe bet. A beautifully rich timber, Teak benefits from a naturally oily surface which makes it both watertight and antiseptic. Other benefits of Teak include a beautifully radiant glow from within, a surface that is warm to the touch and great for insulating heat which means you can spend even longer soaking in a warm and soothing tub.

 

For more information and details of a local stockist, log onto www.williamgarvey.co.uk

 

Can you suggest some ways to add interest to my neutral dining area?  I have beige/cream carpets and walls with oak furniture. I'm not keen on colour so perhaps something else to add depth to the scheme?

 

If colour’s not your bag, then it must be texture all the way. From the curtain fabric and upholstery to the cushions and table runner, opt for lavish textures that will bring additional interest, warmth and depth to the scheme. Colour is not always essential, but if you want the room to look complete, then you must substitute colour for texture. Plush velvety fabrics will work really well in a neutral space.

 

Colour may be out of the question, but there are plenty of shades that you can introduce that still fall into the neutral colour palette. Opt for mushroom, taupe or subtle tones of grey. Just because you are going with a neutral scheme, it doesn’t mean you have to stick to one shade throughout.

 

Is black an option? If so, an accent of black (maybe a table runner, vase or a rug) could be used to inject some drama into the otherwise neutral scheme. Variation is key if you want to create an impact and some bold black items would certainly allow you to achieve this.

 

Pattern can also be an important tool in this situation. Choose patterns that fit in with the colour spectrum you are adhering to - maybe a roll of feature wallpaper that incorporates intricate detail using various shades of browns and creams?

Interior Designer and member of the BIID Lesley Taylor is the Design Director of Taylor’s Etc based in Cardiff, 02920 358 400, www.taylorsetc.co.uk