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How to Design the Kitchen of Your Dreams


A Worthing-based couple explain why they are “absolutely delighted” by their dark dramatic kitchen, and the design process that got them there. Designing your dream kitchen can be minefield of ideas, but it is key to remember whether you prefer a contemporary and fresh aesthetic, or traditional and classic, good kitchen design should always be enduring. Kitchen projects take time and considerable budgets and so it’s important to love your space and know it will continue to work practically for your evolving family for years to come.


When designing the kitchen for their new rear and side extension, Samantha and Dean wanted a company that could help distil the perfect multi-use design from the noise of ideas; one that would work perfectly and individually for their needs. They found Ashley Jay Kitchens’ design and customer focus enabled them to do just that, “when we first approached Ashley Jay it was a completely different discussion to other kitchen suppliers we had met before,” they say.

“The first question was: ‘What’s important to you and what has brought you here today’? The importance for us was that we didn’t want a kitchen where we’d have regrets, where we’d wished we did something else or had something we didn’t want. That is the real trick with kitchens, you can actually want too much and it becomes a mess and what you want in your mind doesn’t always translate. We wanted a hosting space to entertain, somewhere easy enough to set up breakfast, yet quickly packed away to transform into a bar or dine with friends without too much hassle.”


As Ashley Jay explains: “For this kitchen, like many of our clients, the key was creating a zonal design that allowed the room to serve different needs throughout the day, week and year. We focused the main cooking and family food prep into the back wall and island. A bridging layout allowed us to encompass all tall appliances and storage hidden either side of a central sink area with the cooking and prep focussed around the island. A separate wall then provided all the additional storage and hosting capabilities with a bar, wine fridges, utility storage.”

A Bora hob with built-in extraction keeps the island free from clutter whilst providing a practical solution to cooking in the centre of the room without smoke smells, or an intrusive ceiling-hung extractor getting in the way of entertaining. Ashley Jay recommends placing your hob instead of a sink on the island as a great way to keep the cook involved with guests or family when preparing the food, whilst keeping the dirty dishes hidden out of view! 


This kitchen is dark, dramatic and sleek. The graphite handle-less units create a bold statement without being cluttered, and the near-black Dekton Bromo worktop adds further depth and texture. Ashley Jay explains that this dark-on-dark palette works so well as it is balanced by the two walls of glass in the extension and the light this provides. This light is then reflected further through the use of off-white walls and an antique mirror splashback. The dark cabinets are also broken up by the added texture of vintage oak panels – a lovely tip for adding personality, layering materials and creating interest. 

But based on this stunning kitchen, Ashley Jay’s advice is to be brave with colour: richer, darker colours do not need to bring doom or gloom, provided the lighting and balance of the space is done correctly. In fact dark worktops are having a real resurgence in both modern-industrial kitchens and even traditional designs, but Ashley Jay suggests sticking to a matt or textured finish for an up-to-date version and to avoid maintenance pitfalls. “Polished black worktops were always a nightmare to keep clean, banish those watermarks and ramp up the tactile enjoyment of your worktop with matt and textured options if you are looking to go to the dark side.”


This kitchen works so well for Samantha and Dean because it not only answers practical needs, but it was designed to work perfectly with their lifestyle. As Samantha testifies: “Our designer listened, advised and steered us to a place where we felt comfortable in price, unit feel, the look and functionality. Nothing was a problem and we are absolutely delighted with the outcome and proud of our kitchen.” This demonstrates that the only way to create truly enduring design is to ensure it reflects the people that will use the space. That it draws on current trends and technologies without being a slave to fashions; but rather listens to the people who will use it, reflects their style and brings them joy.

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