Open Plan Kitchen – What’s Good To Know
December 10, 2013
OPEN PLAN KITCHEN
Open Plan Kitchen – Background
Much of the older housing stock in the UK dates back the Victorian times as well as the mass of housing built after the war. Some people like those exquisite period features that some of these homes offer. However they were designed to accommodate life years ago and back then the kitchen was more functional, a place to prepare food for the family and little else. Nowadays however a kitchen has become the heart of the home and for many living in these houses, open plan kitchens are more suited to what they want. Or maybe you have just bought a barn or warehouse and are about to embark on open plan living excellence?
Open Plan Kitchen – Key Considerations
The main thing that will need considering if you are going to open up a period property is support. By taking out the connecting more often than not solid wall it will require an RSJ to hold up the walls above. To assess whether your wall is solid or not, you can either knock on it and you will hear a very solid sound. Or if you want to be sure, carefully try and drill a small hole if the bit hits a void you will notice the drill lurch in to the cavity.
If there are walls above in the same place it is going to be supporting those and therefore will need a structural survey carrying out to create the specification for the RSJ (This is a steel section that will be specified by a structural surveyor to hold up the walls above)
Once this work is done to create the open plan kitchen it would need to be signed off by building control who will issue a certificate to pass the work. This is your peace of mind that you open plan kitchen remains safe.
If to create you open plan kitchen it just requires one RSJ then this is not too costly it would take a competent builder a day or two to have this work completed. Usually costing around £450-£650. It is very dependent on the specification of the RSJ but these are not too costly.
Open Plan Kitchen – Divide or not to divide?
The idea of an open plan kitchen is to make the room feel more open, it is usually done by removing a full height wall. However for some they still want to define the different areas of their living space. However if the idea of completely open plan is what appeals then skip this part. There are many ways you can still create a visual divide in the room, just because you have taken a wall out does not mean you cannot create a new divide somewhere else. What is important to remember about an open plan kitchen is it is about allowing you eye to see around. This is what creates the sense of open space. For some it is important there are definite splits between the living areas. The main ways of doing this are:
- Using an island
- Creating a small feature wall
- Utilising your tall storage as the divide
- Integrating some of the other areas into you open plan kitchen design
Using An Island
This has to be one of the easiest way to punctuate the room with a clear line that say this is where the open plan kitchen begins. An impressively thought out island can really set the tone either in its’ simplicity or its’ unique beauty and can create a real focal point for the room.
Creating a small wall feature
This could be made form anything, it could be structural glass as there are some great effects you can achieve you lights, glass and a bit of magic! It could by literraly a small wall that rises out of an island , just because you have taken a wall out does not mean you cannot have a low wall somewhere else? After all as long as the eye can see past, it will feel more open.
Utilising you tall storage
This is an extension of the feature wall. Often in a modern kitchen there is a tall area that houses the fridge, freezer etc. So why not consider making this a stunning centre piece, on one side you appliances, on the other a striking feature wall right in the middle of the room. Granted this would need a large space to carry it off well but this can look very impressive. Imagine something like this hiding your tall appliances in the middle of the room? As you can see it makes a great back drop for a dining area.
Integrating other areas
Where the open plan kitchen end the dining can continue. This looks incredible if you are having a one off kitchen designed as the sky is the limit. You can have built in some stunning seating for casual dining making a magnificent place to eat and yet making a clear divide between the two.
Open Plan Kitchen – What about cooking?
Well as someone who likes to cook but likes a sense of space my top tip here is spend well on an extractor. Cutting a cost here will leave you regretting it in the future especially when you forget to turn something off and you are left with a smoke filled room and a pan that looks like the burnt food will never come off. A good extractor is worth its weight in gold if you are going to create an open plan kitchen. The rule of thumb the more you pay the better it is but check the extraction rates you want one that can extract as much air as possible. Also people do not use extractors correctly, they tend to get turned on when the cooking starts.
The key to making your extractor work well is to turn it on 20 minutes before you start cooking to create negative pressure. This will encourage more cooking smells and smoke out of the room. Oh and always, always try and find a route out for the extractor, otherwise it is a waste of time, carbon filters really do not cut the mustard so to speak. So it is important to have an idea of the design before the work starts. Particularly if you are having major works done and thinking of a down draught extractor.
What is next?
→ 3d Home Design – Make Your Dream House
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