Modern vs traditional
There are no hard and fast rules here, you do not have to put a traditional shaker style kitchen in a period property, and an ultra-modern kitchen works just as effectively in a historic barn conversion.
As ever, the important thing is to keep your buyer or tenant in mind and do your research. Young professionals are more likely drawn to modern, low maintenance styles; young families will appreciate plenty of storage and a separate utility room.
Whatever style of kitchen you decide upon, it should always be consistent with the design of the rest of the property’s interiors.
The optimal layout
Everyone likes plenty of storage, so features such as pull-out larders are always popular. If space allows, incorporating a pantry style working larder – either walk-in or freestanding – is an attractive feature.
Bespoke joinery here will make the most of any awkward spaces or layout issues to maximise storage and the flow of the room.
Having one wall with floor to ceiling height cabinetry housing all the appliances behind a kitchen island is an effective layout that works time and time again in both traditional and modern designs.
A trend that is becoming increasingly popular is the ‘hidden’ kitchen, particularly for open-plan ‘family room’ layouts.
This is essentially where the functioning aspects of the kitchen are concealed behind pocket folding doors that can be opened or closed when the kitchen is not in use, and all the small appliances, utensils, even the sink and draining board are tucked away out of sight.
Materials that matter
For worksurfaces, luxurious materials such as marble will always hold a big appeal, but they also come with a hefty price tag to match. Plus, it’s not the best option in terms of maintenance for rentals.
Granite or Corian are alternatives to consider instead for a similar look and lower maintenance, but they still need to be looked after so this could be an issue for the rental market.
Hardwearing materials that are serviceable are a smart option, especially for landlords – think stainless steel and solid wood. They will stand the test of time in terms of both style and function.
Don’t be tempted to scrimp when it comes to worksurfaces – you would never expect to see laminated worktops in a high-end property for example, but even at mid-market it’s likely to put off buyers.
Worktops are on show and one of the first things viewers see when they walk into the room so they should make a good impression.
Appliances and tech
Consider which appliances and smart home tech to invest in with your market in mind. Would a young professional be taken with a showstopping wine cooler on display, for example? How about a double oven, four-in-one tap, and large American style fridge freezer for a large family?
For the high-end market, brand names such as Miele, Gaggenau and Wolf are ever popular. Having said this, be careful not to get carried away and lose sight of your budget – a Sub Zero fridge freezer can cost in excess of £30,000, for example.
With a bespoke kitchen, you can easily opt to have big appliances like the fridge freezer built in – this makes the brand name less obvious and adds a clean look to your kitchen design. It pays to spend the budget where you can see it.
Make sure that the appliances come in finishes that match the rest of your design. Things like copper and rose gold are still popular trends but remember these will date easily.
A timeless, high quality bespoke kitchen will last for many years to come, so an excellent option for long-term rentals and holiday lets.
Bespoke units made here in the UK also have the plus point of being easily made to order if damage to cupboard fronts, for instance, occurs further down the line.
In the current business climate, bespoke kitchens are also a smart choice, due to the likelihood of long delays on imported kitchens manufactured in Italy or Germany, for example. Design alterations can also be made at a later stage with bespoke kitchens.
In comparison to mass produced, bespoke kitchens aren’t cheap, but done well, they offer excellent return on investment.
*David Conlon is head designer and founder at en masse bespoke kitchens