Kitchen Confident

Embrace fresh materials, ingenious storage ideas and clever design for a streamlined kitchen space. Associate editor Piet Smedy has riled up eight gorgeous kitchen ideas – and how to execute them at home.

1. Rock steady

An unexpected alternative to granite, consider a treated marble surface.

Photograph: Tom Fallon


‘There’s no denying the classic beauty of marble and, if you’re working with pastry, its naturally cool surface temperature makes it ideal,’ says Womag director Oren Sachs. However, it’s very important to note that marble stains and scratches very easily, so it’s advised to have the surface professionally sealed and maintained.

2. Part of the family

Kitchens have evolved beyond purely functional rooms and so, too, has decorating them.

Photograph: Luke White


‘Kitchens have become galleries and living areas and so the ergonomics of the room needs to be treated with a new social dimension,’ says interior decorator Hubert Zandberg, who designed this green kitchen to reflect the colour scheme and the vibrant outdoors of the home it’s in. ‘Our goal was to create a mood that’s an extension of the home and the starting point is always a found object – an antique or market find – that brings soul and makes the space feel less fitted,’ he explains. Even functional pieces were custom treated to appear older and more character-filled.

3. Hide and sleek

The kitchen space need not be filled with pots, pans and a clutter of cooking paraphernalia.

Photograph: Courtesy of Bulthaup


‘Many things in life can be made easier and better through intelligent minimisation,’ says Ramón Casadó, director and co-owner of Bulthaup. The b1 kitchen, which is featured here, focuses on individual structural elements: the island, the wall line and the tall unit block. ‘Including only the essentials implies a deliberate use of just a few high-quality materials to create an organic and complete whole,’ he says. Ramón’s tip on creating a simple yet functional kitchen interior? Opt for translucent white glass sliding doors. Not only do they offer an ingenious storage solution but the interplay between open and closed spaces is an easy way to change displays in the kitchen.

4. Slide to slide

Barn doors take up less space than ones that swing open, making them a must in smaller spaces.

Photograph: Courtesy of Rejuvenation


‘Sliding doors have become an attractive trend and make a great focal point by adding texture to an otherwise ordinary space,’ says Stefan Marais, CEO of Optima Kitchens. ‘For added flair, try a powder-coated matte black mechanism or make a feature of it by painting the door itself in a contrasting colour to the other cabinetry and woodwork.’

5. Mover and shaker

The Shaker-style kitchen, which takes its name from the traditional American community who pioneered its pared-back aesthetic, is a timeless option.

Photograph: Courtesy of Team 7


The main elements of this style of kitchen design is an uncompromising emphasis on minimalism and high-quality craftsmanship. Rectilinear wooden furniture and uncluttered shelves make this a very practical option, especially well-suited to country homes. Easylife Kitchens can create this look.

6. The new modern

Contemporary kitchens are embracing a sleek design aesthetic using mixed materials and personalised touches. 

Photograph: Courtesy of Devol Kitchens


‘When it comes to kitchen design, we’re definitely moving away from chunkier profiles and selecting slimmer and thinner profiles,’ explains Winnie Kyriakides of Cordev, who design and create similar streamlined kitchen spaces. ‘We’re seeing earth tones coming to the fore, with warm wooden finishes, soft satin paint effects and handleless doors becoming all the more popular with millennials.’

7. Try using a different tone

Unite a variety of textures and materials by giving them a similar tonal treatment.

Photograph: Courtesy of blu_line


When it came to creating the kitchen featured here, Blu_line’s Philip Richards opted for satin-lacquer, calico-brown cabinetry which worked perfectly with the Caesarstone work surfaces in Shitake, flamed granite statement counter and champagne-toned aluminium accents. ‘The focus was on creating different levels that really worked together,’ he says. Matte-black kitchen taps and metallic accessories complete the look. Accentuate the sensory quality of this type of kitchen through the use of multilevel lighting, which will highlight both the gloss and grain of the materials.

Expert advice ‘Designing a kitchen means understanding the family that live in the home and how they operate. It’s become a very personal space,’ says interior decorator Hubert Zandberg.

8. Industrial strength

An industrial kitchen doesn’t have to be aggressive in its minimalism and stark in its contents. Use clever techniques to warm the unfussy design style.

Photograph: Emily Gilbert


A cosy and inviting industrial kitchen might seem like an oxymoron, but by amping up the contrast on different design elements you can achieve this paradox with ease. Soften the exposed brickwork and concrete flooring characteristic of industrial kitchens with cabinetry in soft pastel tones and traditional lines and topped with sleek, white marble workspaces. Similarly, use polished metallic elements on freestanding units to add a subtle feeling of glamour to this otherwise restrained look. Finally, opt for softer ceramic pieces with feminine detailing you’d more likely associate with a country cottage style when it comes to populating open shelves.