Contemporary Eco Kitchen in the CotswoldsScandinavian Kitchen
This image perfectly showcases the softness and neutral colours of the wood meeting the hardness of the metal. The contrast of the two is what adds such interest to this kitchen. It's not always about colour, materials in their raw form can add such drama. Behind the double Smeg oven is a brushed stainless steel sheet splashback bonded with plywood. The Dinesen flooring has been used as open shelving and to house the extractor fan.
Photo credit: Brett Charles
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Box in Extractors can be positioned within cupboards, chimney breasts – or just a simple wooden box, as seen here. In fact, there are options to create a housing that fits with almost any style of kitchen or period of home.The designer here, Sam Shaw of Sustainable Kitchens, used Douglas fir (as well as complementary plywood) for various elements in this light, contemporary kitchen – including the housing for the fan. At the top of the box is a vent. Because this house was designed to be virtually environmentally passive, the air isn’t vented directly out of the side of the building. Instead, it’s sucked upwards and into a heat exchanger above the ceiling, which recycles warm air and expels the cold, damp air. Tour more of this cleverly designed, open-plan space in a Cotswolds new-build.
Remove the shelves, then get to work insideTake the shelves out before you start on the cavity. This makes them easier to clean and is essential if it’s a pyrolytic oven, where the heat destroys the finish of chromed racks and shelf supports. Clean inside according to your oven type – don’t use oven cleaner on catalytic liners or the body of a self-clean oven. For enamel-lined ovens, you may be able to use less elbow grease if you work on marks first. “Put an oven-proof bowl of water in the floor of the oven then run the oven at around 200°C for an hour to produce steam,” says Corbett.“The steam will soften stains, making them easier to remove.”If the oven doesn’t self-clean, work in a logical order. “If the grill element drops slightly, then clean the roof first followed by the sides and then the bottom to save any dirt falling on clean areas,” says Sykes. “Be careful if the grill element doesn’t drop – they’re very fragile.”
Plywood: for back-to-basics practicalityAdventurous designers are increasingly using plywood as a finished and visible product, as opposed to a hidden structural material. Some kitchens feature plywood doors, but it’s also possible to use ply on your work surfaces.Ply can be manufactured out of many different sorts of wood, with birch being one of the most popular. Marine ply will probably contain hardwoods (again, check for certification: your supplier should be able to provide you with a source), and will deal well with high-humidity areas. One super-economical approach is to sand down and varnish plywood. Alternatively, top it with a laminate layer, Formica or even a sheet of metal, as done here. This will give a smooth working surface and leave an attractive wood grain pattern visible along the edges.Which wood would you choose for a worktop? Let us know in the Comments section.
Introduce just a touchIn this new-build home’s kitchen, bare wood only has a supporting role – but it certainly makes its presence felt. Cutouts that form the handles are the key bare wood feature; these are exposed birch plywood. Though it may not look like it, the cabinet fronts are made from the same material; the white parts have been treated with lye to lighten them. “It gives them a lovely soft, chalky feel,” says designer Sam Shaw of Sustainable Kitchens. And one that works beautifully with the pale colour of the birch ply. The high shelf, cooker hood and edges of the brushed-steel-clad worktop are also bare wood. The first two of these are made from Douglas fir, which, with its pale appearance, is a good partner for the birch ply. Adding touches like these is another nice idea for making exposed timber a feature, rather than the dominant material, in a kitchen if that’s not your bag. See the rest of this kitchen
Park your knives Need somewhere safe to store your sharp implements? You can’t go wrong with a magnetic knife holder. These neat strips of metal are easily fitted to the wall and keep your knives securely out of the way. Install the rack near to the work surface to make it easy to grab a knife when you need one. This one is perfectly positioned next to the cooker, so the chef can chop ingredients before tipping them straight into the pan.