Dear Utopia... We have a holiday house with a 3×2m open-plan kitchen that receives no natural light and is fully tiled with boring, beige tiles. It is situated in a key traffic area between the front door, lounge and corridor to the bedrooms. We enjoy cooking and entertaining, so need a functional kitchen – even if it is compact – but would like to build in a bit of wowfactor. Your advice would be very much appreciated. Barry Gray, via email
The obvious challenge here is the limited space that you have to work with, and the position of the kitchen, which is by a thoroughfare between other rooms. The fact that there is no window need not be a problem in a space like this, as it can collect light from adjacent areas.
I have situated the worktops to either side of the room for the best use of the natural light entering the room. This way, you wont be standing with your back to the light as you were before, casting shadows over the workspace. Lighting sources are hidden in the ceiling, allowing illumination to shine down the wall, giving a more diffused and natural-feeling type of light, which is essential here because there is no window.
All of the appliances and storage facilities fit against the wall around the edge of the room. I chose white cupboard fronts with a handleless style for a sleek finish that keeps the space feeling light, airy and elegant. Using them wall to ceiling not only avoids a cluttered appearance, but allows oodles more to be stored!
To visually separate the kitchen from the living area, I used a small breakfast bar, under which the barstools fit. This provides added workspace and a place to eat, while neatly containing the kitchen space and keeping any through traffic out. The room is organised into distinct areas; a storage wall which includes the fridge, a preparation zone with a sink, the cooking area with hob, and a breakfast bar to enclose the space. This gives the kitchen structure and makes it a functional, enjoyable place to cook.