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LUXURY KITCHENS

Kitchens are traditionally one of the most expensive rooms to upgrade in a property, but it's relatively easy to have a standard design. What's more difficult is to create a space that is individual, that meets the clients' needs and is unique in its details.

These rooms are one of the key areas in a property – it's where meals are created, guests gather and families congregate. Creating a new kitchen interior design scheme can be an exciting prospect, but for an experienced interior designer, it's an opportunity to find the perfect place where practicality meets elegant beauty.

Rene Dekker achieves just that and, regardless of the scale of the project, he can blend functionality and style to create a stunning scheme. For smaller kitchens, he's able to maximise the sense of space without sacrificing the need for storage, while larger scale rooms exude his signature style of luxury and comfort.

In a small space, utilities and utensils are hidden behind sleek doors in a seamless wall of units. This uninterrupted and uncluttered look enhances the dimensions of the room, giving the appearance of looking larger than it is. In addition, vertical stripes (in areas such as the splashback and the fabric of the blind) can elongate the room making it feel taller, while glossy surfaces maximise the amount of light in the space.

With more room to play with, a central island unit is a popular choice, offering extra preparation or cooking surfaces on top, with invaluable storage space below. An island unit can also have an extra purpose by doubling up as a breakfast bar area. This can provide a sociable element to the room, particularly when entertaining, as hosts can chat to guests while cooking.

Doubling up a central island as a breakfast bar also creates the ideal opportunity to introduce splashes of colour and texture through the seating such as bar stools. Leather or fabric are the ideal choices for more sustained and comfortable seating options, while backless designs are perfect for temporary eating moments such as breakfast, and give a more Retro feel.

For the surface of a kitchen, marble is the perfect choice. Not only does it have practical benefits such as durability and the ability to keep food cool, it's also a beautifully chic surface that exudes quality and style. With a variety of patterns and hues, it's also versatile enough to create a focal point or blend into most colour schemes.

Alternatively, the reflective and durable elements of a metallic surface can create a professional feel while simultaneously adding another texture to a scheme. Like marble, the variety this material can offer in terms of finish can be surprising, ranging from industrial gun metal, to contemporary copper.

When it comes to lighting, a luxury interior designer will be able to advise on how to create the right balance in a room. Ceiling downlighters are the perfect starting point from which to build a lighting scheme in a kitchen. Pendant lights are a popular choice to suspend over a

kitchen island as they offer direct, task lighting. They can be placed either a single statement light or as a grouping of three, which creates a harmonious sense of visual rhythm in the room.

A stylish extractor fan above a cooker or range can also incorporate focussed task lighting for specific areas as well as create a softer mood than ceiling lights. Other options for a gentler, more subtle mood conducive to entertaining and chatting once the work has finished, can include discreet uplighters near shelving or wall cabinets.

But what finishes off a kitchen to a high spec, and something luxury designer René Dekker can provide, is the attention to detail. Once the key ingredients are in place, it's these details that make the difference between a good kitchen and a quality design. It's the finish, the subtle colour links that draw the eye around the room, the textural differences and statement pieces that blend seamlessly to create a cohesive sense of elegance, with that all important feint whiff of luxury.

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