“The beauty of having ample prep space is that you reduce the chance of saying ‘I’ve nowhere to put that!’ when it comes out of the oven. It’s important as a designer to think about hosting occasions of six, eight, ten or even more people – like many people will at Christmastime – and what that might look like in terms of volume of food and drink. Where will they be able to chop and rest multiple dishes, roll out pastry or start preparing festive cocktails while there’s a kitchen mixer stirring away next to you and umpteen glasses ready to be filled?
“There are two things that I’ll always consider when designing to answer that potential dilemma. The first is about how to keep your work surface as clear as possible. The less there is occupying your work surface, the calmer your kitchen will feel – every day – and the calmer you’ll feel about start to prepare a huge lunch or supper. Nothing will be getting in the way and bothering you, or you won’t need to move various items somewhere else in your home just so that you feel you have enough room.
“Easier said than done though. So, I’ll ask people whether they’re happy to forgo a kettle for a hot water tap so there’s one less appliance, and I’ll use shelving in my designs for cook books, ornaments and other paraphernalia to sit on those instead of on the worktop. I might include some of our Orford drawer accessories, like the wet store so there’s no sponge and washing up liquid out and the knife divider so you don’t need a knife block on display. And if possible, we can use a bi-fold countertop cabinet that hides appliances behind its doors rather than having them out and in the way.
“These are all things that can be done retrospectively to kitchens too, making them helpful considerations if you aren’t thinking of having a new kitchen. As is the idea of bringing in some freestanding furniture (if you have room) to bring in more surface space. This breaks up the look of having purely fitted cabinets and means some items that you feel you can’t lose from your worktop can sit here instead. Sideboards, console tables and potboards are perfect, and they too can be added to an existing kitchen to make your prep space bigger and better than before.