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Get some colour in your kitchen

Get some colour in your kitchen

Colours will probably be limited to a controlled one or two, but this does not mean they will not be strong and bold. Navy, bright red and grass green have all been used to great effect in this type of kitchen, as well as the ubiquitous white and dramatic black. There will be wipe-clean blinds at the windows in a complementary colour, either plain or in an austere modern design. There will certainly be no jazzy patterned curtains or dust-trapping venetian blinds.

Yes, there will be decorative objects, but extremely well-designed and carefully chosen ones, for the person who admires this style is hardly likely to go for pretty baubles or kitsch junk. These objects will be displayed and arranged so that they look their best, and they certainly will not be shoved around from place to place according to whim, nor will they be confined to cupboards. They will take their place on open shelves because they are meant to be seen. Likewise, house plants will contribute to the careful picture of smooth elegance. They will not be a few dried-up wisps of fern or a tatty-looking spider plant; more likely there will be a dramatic (and expensive) palm placed to partially screen the eating area. And anything hanging in a basket will be in extravagant-looking profusion and certainly not hung with macram� streamers. This style is superb when well done, but generally this is only by architects and designers, very high-grade ones at that.

The do-it-yourself model is almost unheard of but my admiration for the amateur who succeeded in making it would be unbounded. There is absolutely no reason why everyone should like this style, and I suspectthat many people will not, but that a good many will be drawn to the next one.

The cottage kitchens

This does not have to be in a cottage. Quite probably it will be in a large suburban villa or a town ilat, but its provenance will be unmistakable. The kitchen units will ot course be made in wood, preferably in dark oak veneer, and the cupboard doors will not be smooth faced, but decorated with mouldings and panels (not too decorated, l hope.). There will almost certainly be a dresser, or at least cupboards with open shelves above to simulate a dresser, and the shelves will be laden with pretty, lower-patterned china.

The cooker will be free-standing, possibly an Aga in an attractive colour if the owner can run to this, and the colour will pick up one of the several pretty colours with which the whole room is decorated. Blue or turquoise, yellow, white and green in combination, pink, green and beige, or various shades of red. All look well against the dark oak, and china, floral curtains, the kitchen tablecloth (no nasty plastic surfaces here) and the tea towels, oven gloves and aprons will all be variously patterned in this way. There may also be thick lacy curtains of pristine whiteness at the windows and the table will possibly be surrounded by rush-seated chairs. The work surfaces probably will be in plastic for, cottagey or not, this is a new and functional kitchen, but the edges will be softly curved and the plastic will be patterned to simulate something else, linen being the most attractive simulation.

I refuse to even consider the possibility of simulated onyx, reeds or cork, though they are certainly available. There will be fIower-printed wallpaper on the walls, geraniums in terracotta pots on the window sills, lots of pottery on the shelves, and the very minumum of tiles around the sink and other wet areas. A few copper pans will probably be hung on the walls, and they will be for decoration rather than use. The floor, if the owner can afford it and the structure is strong enough to bear the weight, will be in a herringbone-patterned brick (treated to make cleaning easy), or if money is short it could be simply floorboards, stripped, sanded and varnished, in which case there will be rush mats at salient points.

Vinyl tiles are another possibility,and they will aImost certainly, though of good intrinsic duality, emulate bricks, quarry tiles or something equally traditional. The equipment will be well designed and modern, but not glaringly so, and whenever possible the ovens, refrigerator, dishwasher and so on will have coloured doors to make them less obtrusive and more homely. Or they will be concealed behind panels ol a similar materialtothe unitdoors. The sinks and drainers too will probably be in coloured enamel and only the taps are likely to strike an untoward and ill-conceived chrome note. A clever and prosperous owner may, however, light upon the excellent copies of Edwardian brass-head taps which are available, or on the excellent modern design which is available in brass. At its best this style of kitchen cabinets can be charming. It is rarely designed by architects or designers tor themselves, and not voluntarily for their customers, but often and most successfully by women for their own homes. There is no reason why it should not be every bit as functional as the previous type ot kitchen, even though it looks so totally different.