Blog Post

January 18, 2021

Designing a new kitchen – how an architect can help

Whether the project is a new room formed by removing walls between two or more rooms, an extension to convert an existing kitchen into a new family space, space planning to modernise an existing kitchen, or an entirely new build, architect and member of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects Karl Ruddle has produced this guide for your next project.

The changing role of the Kitchen

Once a functional space for preparing food, the role of the kitchen has developed in parallel with the introduction of labour saving appliances, alongside the cultural shift in family life towards more open plan living, into a multi-functional family space where the kitchen, combined with dining and sitting form the new heart of the home.

Architects are designing open plan spaces combining kitchen, dining and sitting, creating the perfect space to accommodate, and enhance family life, where formerly a traditional arrangement of small kitchen, separate larder or scullery, with separate dining room existed.

An open plan bright spacious modern multifunctional kitchen with direct access via doors to an external patio or outside dining area, with high quality fixtures and fittings, are major considerations for new home purchasers.

The Architect brings their knowledge of kitchen design trends, planning and building regulations, overlaid with a sensitive and creative approach which maximises the opportunities provided by light, orientation, materials, form, space, and aesthetics. Whilst at the same time, addressing the budgetary constraints, and those of the site and building.

The particular skills of the Architect, allows them to bring a unique level of creativity to each project, which might otherwise end up a purely functional response to homeowners’ requirements.

Important Design Considerations

Connection to outside space. Large windows, patio, sliding, or folding doors provide easy access with potential to extend the kitchen and dining into the garden, and maximise an attractive view onto a garden or terrace.

Large south and south-west facing windows can harness the heat and light of the sun especially during the winter months. Well designed, insulated, and constructed buildings can reduce heat loss and save costs. Roof lights, or a glazed roof lantern, can bring natural light deep into the plan.

The correct relationship between the larder/ refrigerator (food storage) with the sink and cooker (food preparation), the ‘Work Triangle’, is critical to the efficient operation of the kitchen. A centrally located Island contributes to the functionality of the kitchen, and central to family entertainment

A carefully considered lighting scheme incorporating general lighting, over counter/ island lighting, task lighting, and feature lighting, can enhance the space and provide different moods to suit the different uses of the room. Integration of smart technology can enhance lifestyle in our modern age.

Kitchens are expensive and can be fashion items. Particular care should be taken selecting the kitchen to ensure, in terms of appearance and durability, it will stand the test of time. Materials selection for cabinetry, worktops, splash-backs and flooring should take account of this.


The Role of the Architect

From the initial meeting with the homeowner, the Architect will survey the space and identify the opportunities and constraints.

The concept design will respond to this survey, maximising the opportunities such as; natural light, orientation, views, connectivity with other rooms, to the rest of the house, and to external space. At the same time; addressing constraints such as; location of existing services, changes in level, poor orientation, privacy.

The detailed design will ensure compliance with technical standards and statutory regulations working within the client’s budget, overlaid with creative touches that lift the project above the ordinary to make it special.

Advise on selection of the kitchen suppler, contractor(s) and trades to carry out the work

Manage the construction and installation process, the budget and programme, addressing any site issues.

Manage the completion, commissioning and handover process ensuring the project achieves the homeowner’s vision.

If you want to discuss your project then Find an architect today.