It is commonly said that the kitchen is the ‘heart of the house’, and one of the most significant spaces when designing a new home or renovating. Being such a pinnacle place in the home, we decided to have a chat with Greg Schoenmakers from Alby Turner & Son, our preferred kitchen and cabinetry supplier.
Alby Turner & Son has won an impressive number of Kitchen and Bathroom Designer Institute (KBDi) Awards over its time, and most recently was awarded National Traditional Kitchen Design of the Year – 2019. Greg has a wealth of knowledge from his 41 plus years in the industry so we locked him down to talk about all things kitchens, especially as it’s his favourite room of the house. Read on for his top tips on kitchen design, space saving and the trend he sees kicking around for a while.
Greg, why is the kitchen your favourite space from a design perspective?
Well, because there are so many things you can do with it. It has to be practical, but at the same time it’s nice to twist it up a bit sometimes. Particularly for those who are renovating, the kitchen provides a nice opportunity to renew the feel of the house, in just one space. A vital and heavily utilised space.
What are the top three tips you give to people looking to design a new kitchen?
Make it functional: People very easily get excited about the latest trends or quirky styles and features, but this room needs to be more functional than anywhere else in the house. Make it functional first, then add a nice feature tile or utilise hardware finishes to give you the style you’re after.
Organisation: This one certainly helps in the long term. Planning where things will go in order to make every day tasks really easy, like making sure a drawer is large enough for all your Tupperware for example. Enough space for a collection of wine glasses if that’s your thing, or enough space to keep all your entertaining items in one place.
Smart selections: Select finishes that are easy to maintain and long wearing. For example, some natural stones might need regular oiling, as do certain timbers. Some finishes might show fingerprints easily. Think about it long term.
What would you recommend in a kitchen when you don’t have a large space to work with?
If you don’t have the luxury of space, utilise drawer hardware. Drawers are the best way to maximise the space you do have as they are more efficient that cupboards. There are great drawers on the market that are designed to fit into corners that utilise the full space, this would otherwise be wasted space. Also look for any small gaps around the cabinetry fit out, those too can be turned into small storage nooks.
Larder makes a fantastic drawer unit that I like to recommend, especially for our older clientele, as it’s great for those who don’t want to be bending down on hands and knees to find things. I also recommend a lot of Blum products for efficient space use.
Now for families, what are some of your must haves when designing the ideal family kitchen?
Storage solutions: Again, make sure you are using the space efficiently, from experiences, families have no shortage of kitchen bits and pieces!
Large duel bins: This is something that often gets forgotten, but planning on space for the largest kitchen bins possible means less emptying. Also considering where the bins live is always something I like to consider from a practical perspective.
Soft close finishes: It is generally the standard these days but always worth double checking.
Breakfast Bar: If you have an island unit, it is great to design it so it can be utilised as a breakfast bar or casual eating space for kids. It is ideal for afternoons when dinner is being prepared, for homework assistance, and just generally creates a nice open space for families.
What is a style that Alby Turner & Son is finding very popular at the moment?
2 Pac paint, it is by far the most popular thing across all types of clients and jobs at the moment. This is when the front face and edges of the doors, drawer fronts and panels are painted with a very hard wearing two pack paint.
In terms of styles, the Hamptons look is something that is and has been trending for quite some time. We have a lot of clients asking for this style, variations of it at times, but in general the Hamptons style kitchen and colour palate seems to be here to stay for a while.
What other finishes or accents are you seeing a lot of at the moment?
Another current trend we are seeing at ATS is clean lines; cabinetry with no or minimal handles. And when it comes to handles, people are wanting a consistent size throughout the space, not the mix of sizes and knob styles across one room like we used to see.
Colour palettes that are coming through lately are all very natural and fresh. A lot of light tones which is heavily due to the increased range of stone bench tops that are available these days.
What are some of the top brands you recommend in the kitchen space?
Blum, Hafele & Caesar Stone – all industry renowned.
Now everyone’s favourite question.. If you have to make sacrifices somewhere in the kitchen, where do you recommend to spend and where would you suggest saving?
If you are designing a main kitchen with a butlers, then definitely spend in the main space. The butlers should be the working kitchen and is where to save on finishes and cabinetry.
If you are working with a single space, then I recommend saving on the cupboard door paints and finishes, and spending the money on a quality range hood. By extracting cooking fumes correctly, there is less chance of condensation building up and deteriorating the joinery. You will spend less on maintenance in the long run.
A bit of background on Greg and Alby Turner & Son
Alby Turner & Son is an award winning kitchen and bespoke cabinetry company based in Adelaide, SA, where Greg started back in 1978. According to Greg, he took a job ‘sweeping factory floors and doing basic labor’, and only a few weeks later he was hooked and started his apprenticeship in cabinet making. Today Greg is the General Manager of development and sales at the iconic family owned and operated business..to say he has learned a thing or two over his career, well that would be quite the understatement.
So if you want to benefit from some of Greg’s wisdom and enjoy the benefits of an Alby Turner & Son kitchen in your next home, your forever home or even inject a little life back into your current home with a kitchen renovation, get in touch with Lindona today.