It seems from conversations with everyone from designers to tradesmen to suppliers that the last few months have seen a bit of an upturn in activity within the property & interiors market. We’re undoubtedly still in difficult times, for all the national newspapers headlines of housing bubbles, let’s face it, it’s only really London which is seeing big price increases, mainly due to the tidal wave of foreign & banking money sloshing around the banks of the Thames. Most of us ‘normal’ folk are resigned to a few more years of carefulness but confidence is slowly returning and that means the home renovation market, as most of us are staying put not moving house, is picking itself up off the floor and dusting itself off.
Local merchants & agents tell me other landlords and developers are testing the water with careful reinvestment and small scale developments, whilst my interior design and building contacts agree that homeowners are enhancing their own pads with new kitchens, bathrooms and extensions. The common theme? We want longevity, good investment and quality but interestingly, we also are opting for those things which were missing in the boom years: personalisation, individuality and fun.
Gone are the days of boring beige and making your home just like everyone else’s to maximise selling potential….. cause we ain’t selling! And what else is new? Social media, along with sharing every delicious dinner and soothing soak. It’s no good Instagramming your luscious life if it simply looks like everyone else’s – we now want our homes to be a reflection of our personalities. The style choices we make mirror in an App snap who we are and what interiors tribe we belong to.
I hosted the Magnet annual conference in December and their annual Trend Report made for an interesting read, featuring some innovative and exciting ideas, all focused on that hub of the home, the kitchen and many centred around that idea of individualisation. Here are some of the things to watch out for in 2014, top tips if you’re planning an overhaul of your cooking space in the near future:
- HAPPY HACKING – hacking is basically the new buzz word for altering or changing an existing item to make it your own, slightly altering it’s purpose in the meantime. See IkeaHack, the originator of this trend. I liked the image featured by Magnet of a small natural timber branch with added brass fittings which turned it into a unique kitchen door handle. It’s all about adding to a fitted kitchen so it doesn’t look ‘fitted’ anymore, so it looks unique and personalised. Clearly if you want white Pawson minimalism, hacking isn’t for you 😉 There is some brilliant hacking & upcycling inspiration out there, believe me, once you’ve started looking for it, there’ll be no stopping you! Here are some to start you off…
- HIDE AND SHOW:
- SHOW : I’ve long been a fan of kitchen curation, the displaying of loved, interesting items as part of the visuals of a kitchen. Whether for you it’s all about displaying your teapot collection, your vintage glassware or your super Sabatiers, the things you own, use and love in your kitchen are what makes it unique to you, so why not have them on show? Of course, the ‘watch out for’ point is that kitchens do get full of steam, oil and stuff, so make sure beautiful curated open shelving isn’t bang next to the oven or be prepared to clean. A lot.
- HIDE : Of course there are always those bits you don’t want the world to see and clever storage is the buzzword for kitchen manufacturers, especially as our spaces become smaller in an increasingly cramped world. Innovation is key here, maybe there are bits which you need to be on show only sometimes, like this Corian hidden kitchen sink which can either be opened up or used as extra workspace – clever eh?
- FOOD – THE NEW SHOW OFFS Blame the rise of the celebrity chef, the food bloggers and the Bake Off tent set, food has now been elevated to a higher plane and whether you’re preparing a Berry bake, a Slater stew or a Ramsey roast, you’re on show baby, so your kitchen better be up to it! Open plan kitchen diners have been de rigeur for years now and guest want to see the gourmet genius at work – that’s YOU! Top notch appliances like the Sous Vide, barista style coffee machines and wafer thin music systems help elevate your food to artistic heights, all combined with perfect presentation and creative cooking skills, obv. Boy, they don’t ask much do they??!!
So it’s clear then. To be ahead of the game kitchen-wise this year, it’s all about showing off – what you’ve got, what you’ve made & what, last but not least, you can cook!
PS. You might have also noticed there’s lots of black, charcoal, creams, subway tiles, reclaimed timber & glassware to be seen #hinthint 😉