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Design Tips

The more money you spend on a renovation project, the more important the design becomes.  A poor design will work against you for the rest of your life.  A good design will minimize distances between essential appliances, optimize working areas and packing space, as well as be aesthetically pleasing.

Let's elaborate a little bit, focussing on different rooms. 

Kitchen Design Tips
2008-12-28 05:30:26 AM

You might have heard of the kitchen triangle where one would try to minimize the distance between the three main areas of the kitchen, namely the oven, the sink and the fridge.

This is helpful as a starting point, but has its origin in the 1950's when open plan kitchens did not exist, nor did microwave ovens, extractors, prep bowls, sophisticated hinges and drawer runners, etc.  Recent studies in the field of kitchen layout has evolved a lot since then.

For a start one can divide the kitchen into 5 functional areas or zones:


Cooking area:

  • Oven
  • Hob
  • Extractor
  • Microwave oven
  • Pot drawers
  • Pull-out spice unit 

Cleaning area:

  • Sink
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Tumble dryer
  • Dish rack inside cupboard
  • Household cleaners

Preparation area:

  • Cutlery drawers
  • Prep bowl
  • Veggie baskets
  • Pull-out bin
  • Appliance garage
  • Cutting board
  • Bookshelves (cookbooks)

Storage for consumables:

  • Grocery cupboards
  • Corner pantry
  • Fridge and freezer
  • Wine racks

Storage for non-consumables:

  • Cupboards for crockery, utencils, etc.
  • Display cupboards
  • Floating shelves
  • Broom cupboard 


From the list above one can see a logical grouping of functions.  However, each kitchen is different and these guidelines should be adapted to suit your own taste. 

Think about your own layout

Example 1 - Returning from the shops:  You come home from shopping.  Do you enter at your front door, back door or through the garage?  After entering the kitchen you need a work surface to put the shopping bags down.  Here you would sort them for storage or usage.  Near this surface you need storage space for consumables (grocery cupboards, fridge and freezer).  

Example 2 - Cooking:  You want to start cooking.  You will be using the preparation area for rinsing, peeling and chopping vegetables.  Where do you store your veggies?  Are your knives in a drawer nearby?  Do you need a seperate prep bowl for rinsing?  Should we try to have the bin nearby to throw away the peels?  

After preparing the food, you will be moving to the adjacent cooking area.  Try to accommodate some pot drawers nearby.  Do you prefer an eye-level oven, an under-counter oven or a freestanding oven.  Do you have enough space on either side of the cooking surface?  A cramped up cooking area can be dangerous.  Can you reach your spices easily, or are you walking across the kitchen to fetch them?

Example 3 - Cleaning: Can you easily move soiled pots and utencils to the wash-up area?  Do you perhaps want it out of sight (around a corner) or is it better to have it close to your cooking area?  If you are a regular entertainer, you might want it out of sight.  If you're a busy mom of four, you might need it more central, so that you can keep an eye on the kids while washing up.  

Be sure to view the kitchen section of our photo gallery for some great pictures.

Bedroom Design Tips
2008-12-28 05:23:57 AM

In most bedrooms you never have enough cupboard space.  You always end up "stealing" space in your kid's bedroom cupboard or in the spare room.  I want to include some tips for saving space in the bedroom.

Wider shelves


Wide Shelves.jpg


Normally we provide equal hanging space and shelving space.  So if you have a 2m wide cupboard, we would advise 1m for hanging and 1m for shelving space.  If you make the shelves 1m wide, you can store more clothes than in two seperate 500mm wide shelving units.  The key is optimization.  You have less wasted space in a wide shelving unit than in two narrow shelving units.

Drawers below.jpg

Drawers below

Some things will always land up on top of each other: shoes, socks and underwear.  Instead of storing them on shelves, consider adding a bottom row of drawers to the design.  The top section can provide shelving for folded clothes and hanging space as usual.

Pullout shelves

Another alternative is to use pull-out shelves.  These work very well for shoes.  In fact any shelf lower than elbow height could be converted to a pull-out shelf.  Think about it: You no longer have to crawl on your knees to get into the back of those bottom shelves.  You simply pull the shelf, and everything comes to you!

Feel free to browse through our Photo Gallery for more ideas.


Pullout Shelves.jpg

2008-12-28 05:11:29 AM

The most important decision to make in any bathroom is the choice of materials.  Cheaper materials tend to expand in a short space of time due to moisture in the bathroom.  Many people buy off-the-shelf products for their bathrooms only to find later on that they have a short lifespan in the bathroom.

We recommend the use of Impact edged melamine, sprayed supawood, veneer or solid wood in the bathroo, along with granite or solid wood tops in the bathroom. 

Our cupboards are designed with the proper overhangs, so that water would not accumulate on the top edges of your doors. 

Have a look at our bathroom section in the Photo Gallery for more ideas. 


Oak veneer IW Brown - Bathroom cabinet - Surinno tops.JPG


The Office / Study
2008-12-28 05:07:23 AM

Every office is so uniquely different that we cannot even begin to give you any hard and fast rules for designing your's.  However, a few considerations follow.

Any modern office need to accommodate computers, printers, telephones, CD's, DVD's, wiring, etc.  Attempt to remove any clutter by assigning a storage space for everything.  We generally store CD's and DVD's in drawers specifically designed for them.  

Printers should be easily accessible.  You should not box them in too much, since it may cause difficulty when you need to replace ink or paper.  Computers should have enough room for ventilation.  Raise them from the floor if possible, otherwise the airvents get clogged with dust from the floor. 

Use corners well.  A corner or L-shaped desk is ideal for your computer.  The monitor always fits nicely in the corner, providing extra space in the front.

We include a few unique designs below.  Feel free to adapt the designs and let me know when you are ready for a quotation.  See our study section in the Photo Gallery


Maple Shaker - Office - Filing
Maple veneer - Mobile drawers
Maple VOE - L-shape desk
Maple VOE - L-shape desk2
Maple Veneer - Reception
Maple Veneer - Reception
Study corner - Shaped top
Vancouver Maple - Office worktops
Vancouver Maple Impact - Bookshelf adjustable metal fittings
Vancouver Maple Impact - Bookshelf