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When fashion and kitchens collide, the heart and soul of the home becomes a highly curated space that reflects the owner's personality and lifestyle.
Whether that's a sophisticated, minimalist approach with flush interior lines suited to meticulously planned dinner parties, or a gallery of made-to-be-seen appliances, bold texture, pattern and colour. The kitchen is no longer a separate and generic white utility space void of personality. Today's kitchens allow us to cook quality food in a space that is reflective of lifestyle and personality.
Three leading Australian experts in the spheres of fashion, interior design, and colour therapy share their take on the new Aussie kitchen.
The interior designer
Sibella Court is an interior designer, product designer, shop owner, author and globetrotter. In her spare time, you'll find her cooking and entertaining – an impromptu dinner party for 15 guests is de rigueur.
How has your profession as an interior designer influenced your kitchen's design?
I live in an art deco apartment and used its architectural details as my design cue – every home has its own story and you take the cues from the existing architecture. The existing kitchen was galley style and, being the big entertainer and cook that I am, I renovated it, opening up the kitchen and living room so they flowed more fluidly from one entertaining space to the next. The layout is light and bright and gorgeous - but very finely detailed.
Describe your kitchen style?
Layered. A reflection of me and the last 25 years of my life working as a stylist, hardware designer, interior designer, and my travels. I'm quite the collector and love having everything out. I have lots of storage under the benches but above the bench is an open shelf, so you can see all my beautiful serving pieces and collectables.
How have you personalised it?
The marble benchtops have double bullnose profiles and soft radius edges. My blacksmith hand-stamped and forged all the hardware from the shelves to the bench legs.
What are your thoughts on the emerging trend of colour in the kitchen?
I decided to be brave with colour - and painted all the rooms in beautiful soft colours from my paint range. I have the SMEG FAB32 fridge and Victoria freestanding 110cm dual oven in black enamelled metal – as my main appliances. Then on the bench sit my 50s style kettle and toaster in cream. I chose cream for the small appliances as they sit against a wall of handmade Moroccan tiles.
What makes a perfect kitchen?
For me, it's all about sitting in the kitchen and entertaining, cooking beautiful food, eating, laughing and catching up with friends and family. It's not unusual for me to have all seven cooktop burners and dual ovens going simultaneously.
The colour expert
Sarah Stephenson is a leading Australian colour expert. Sarah has taught colour theory and psychology at The School of Colour & Design, and undertaken the largest piece of research in Australia on lifestyles and the role colour plays in all parts of our lives and interiors.
Can you explain the emerging trend of colour, texture and pattern into the kitchen?
Kitchen colours are currently softer (eucalypts, terracotta, millennial pink, soft, ash blues with matt gold accents), so the look feels calm and natural, with a slightly curated approach. However, I think we'll see splashes of colour in statement walls and also open shelving to display beautiful sculptural bowls, colourful cookware, as well as decorative and edible plants, adding visual interest to the room. Kitchen essentials and appliances are also now being designed to put on display and be admired, while retaining their functional purpose.
What about a 'sophisticated' kitchen look?
Kitchens can achieve a sleek and sophisticated makeover through the use of luxurious or detailed design elements. Metallic details, such as a copper handle on a dark wood cabinet, or a brushed brass sink, add a sense of indulgence to the room. Leather hardware has a natural look, while marble and veined stone can be used on a large scale, framing a sink or a statement wall.
From a psychological perspective, what are the benefits of introducing colour and personalising the kitchen space?
Colour is the most emotional and personal of all the design elements. Being surrounded by colours that appeal to you can have an immediate, uplifting effect. Managing and balancing the proportions of colour within a space are key to harmony and a palette with longevity.
The fashion editor and furniture designer
Sarah Ellison is an interior and fashion stylist, and a furniture and homewares designer. As a magazine stylist for more than a decade, Sarah's curated interiors draw on the latest trends and innovations. And her furniture design is the same, "great design without the ego!" as Sarah describes it.
How has fashion influenced the transformation of the kitchen from 'utility room' to an expression of the owner's personality?
Fashion is very much a way for people to express themselves, their personality and style - whether that's by embracing the latest fashion trends and bold new colours, patterns, styles and designs, or adopting a classic style with base shades and sleek tailoring. This fashion ethos is evident in kitchens now more than ever. Over the past 10 years you can see how the kitchen has been transformed from a white, functional utility space to the heart and soul of the home, where people do much more than just cook. They gather around the kitchen table to eat, laugh, entertain and relax with loved ones. They get creative baking up new recipes. Some people even work and study in the kitchen, and many use it as their main living space. So it makes sense that people want this space, like fashion, to reflect their personality as well as being a functional space that works with their lifestyle needs, whether that's raising a young family or hosting regular dinner parties.
How have fashion designers embraced and influenced this evolution of the kitchen?
Fashion designers have very much been a part of the evolution. We've seen luxury fashion designers extending their ranges to include homewares as well as high street brands. For example, Dolce & Gabbana's flamboyant Sicilian artwork has been lovingly hand painted by artists on 100 Smeg iconic FAB28 fridges and the small appliance collection, including a toaster, kettle, juicer and blender, with the same unmistakable Dolce & Gabbana Sicilian art design and styling was recently launched. A bold fashion statement, quite the opposite to the white utility box fridge and appliances we've traditionally seen.
Similarly, we've seen a range of luxury designers extending their fashion ranges into homewares and more specifically, the kitchen. From international fashion houses including eclectic womenswear designer Peter Pilotto, luxury fashion houses Hermes and Bottega Veneta, as well as Missoni's distinct and colourful patterns, you can now express your style and personality via fashionable dinner sets, serving ware, cutlery, vases, placemats, tablecloths and more. It's really exciting.
What other ways are fashion colours, patterns and designs being used in the kitchen?
Colour is being used more than ever before with cabinetry on trend in darker more moody tones, but also showing up in bold hues such as pink and green. Splashbacks are being used as popular statements in the kitchen, brought to life through decorative tiles, adding pattern and personality or featured in natural stones such as marble and onyx.
Appliances are an easy way for people to inject personality into their kitchen. What tips do you have?
It's really important that we are choosing appliances that reflect this 'high design' idea and following an ethos whereby all design decisions are thoughtfully made based on not only function but form also. Appliances need to be just as beautiful as they are useful.
Owning the trend
You'll see fashions' influence in a kitchen near you sooner than you think. From drinking lattes from Pantone's 'colour of the year' mug to popping your toast from a bold D&G toaster or cooking pizza in a bright orange Portofino-inspired freestanding oven. Fashion and design have made themselves right at home in the kitchen, and they're here to stay.
Sicily is my Love, Smeg's latest collaboration with famed Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana, is where fashion, art and innovation collide in rich, glorious colour. The beautiful collection of small appliances, adorned with masterful Sicilian motif artwork, celebrate two of Smeg's most enduring passions – good food and innovative design. Injecting personality, art and fashion into your kitchen has never been so fun. See www.sicilyismylove.com.au for more information.