Hélène Dabrowski is a French born interior designer who has been running her own company, Hélène Dabrowski Interiors, in the UK for twelve years.
With over twenty year’s experience in the industry, Hélène is an expert at creating stunning high-end and midrange home renovations, including kitchen projects.
When it comes to design, Hélène is passionate about using innovative materials and detailed finishes to enhance the aesthetic of every element in a project.
Professional interior designer, Hélène Dabrowski, talks us through her approach to creating the perfect kitchen and tells us why picking the right cooker is an important part of the design process.
Hélène’s approach when designing a kitchen involves the client from the start.
“First I’ll have a long discussion with the client about their stylistic preferences and then I’ll go away and do a lot of research.”
Exploring all the possible design options and settling on a style early on gives the project direction and helps with decision making.
A systematic method helps add structure to the design process. “I take an inventory of all the things that the client already has in the kitchen, what they want to change, what they’re not happy about, what works for them, what other things they want and so on.”
Deciding how much to spend is an important part of the process and it’s important to be realistic. Ask yourself what you want from your kitchen - a place to cook or somewhere for family and friends to gather and relax?
Hélène explains that knowing how much you’re able to spend helps you choose the best way forward.
“You can choose whether you’re going to do a bespoke job and bring in a joiner to do it or go for a brand project. You don’t want to spend all of your money on the cupboards and worktops and not have enough left for the appliances”
Choosing the right appliances is a really important part of renovating a kitchen, according to Hélène.
“When people have an old kitchen, it’s quite rare that they want to keep their existing appliances.
The client needs to choose how many appliances they want in the kitchen and where they’re going to be placed. After that we decide what type of appliance to go for, if they’re going to be integrated or freestanding and so on - it’s all part of the design process.
It always comes down to the particular project. Finding the exact model comes after you’ve decided the layout of the kitchen.”
For Hélène, finding the right cooker is an essential part of any kitchen project.
“The cooker is visually the most important appliance. Kitchens are more and more open plan, and people like to have a conjoined kitchen and dining room for when they’ve got guests around. The cooker is increasingly becoming the focal area of the room. It’s where people congregate.”
Hélène also feels that range cookers offer more than regular ovens from a design point of view. “A traditional oven, particularly a built-in model, is not as much of a focal point as a range cooker.”
Finding a range cooker that suits the design of your kitchen is vital. Range cookers come in all sorts of styles and sizes, but narrowing down your choice can be tricky.
“Many range cookers are suited to traditional kitchens, but there are modern ones out there that are suited for contemporary designs too,” explains Hélène.
“If you look at brands like Britannia, for example, they’ve got all sorts of different types of cooker. Often the stainless steel ones are more suited to kitchens with a modern feel. Some range cookers come in really interesting colours that could be suited to more of an eclectic or industrial looking kitchen.”
When you say ‘range cooker’ many people picture 90cm, 100cm or 110cm models, but slimmer products, from around 60cm in width, are also available. Hélène thinks you need to choose a size that’s
right for your kitchen.
“I tried to put a 90cm range cooker in a small rental flat recently and we couldn’t get away with it, it didn’t look right. Your kitchen doesn’t have to be enormous though, a larger range cooker is fine in medium sized kitchens. But in a small kitchen, you’re probably best going for 60cm model.”
Hélène has been involved in several kitchen projects this year and has noticed some interesting design trends.
“Kitchens are becoming more open plan. People like to have others around them when they cook and so you see more kitchen/dining rooms. The industrial look is also popular with polished concrete surfaces on the floors and worktops. Rough-wood finishes on the doors in grey or bleached colours are becoming more common too.”
One big problem when redesigning a kitchen, according to Hélène, is dealing with space. “Trying to fit all the appliances the client wants in the space available, while keeping plenty of cupboard space free can be tricky.”
This balancing act is a bigger issue in smaller kitchens.
“You have to cram all the appliances into a tiny space. In a rental flat, for example, when the kitchen is quite small, you might have restrictions on where you can put things. By the time you’ve put your washing machine, cooker, hood, hob and dishwasher in, you’re not left with much cupboard space.”
The solution to this problem comes down to Hélène’s initial tips. With sensible planning and budgeting you can turn even the smallest space into the kitchen you’ve always dreamt of.
This interview is sponsored by Range Cooker Showroom. Come visit us in Rayners Lane, West London to experience our stunning collection of range cookers from top brands like Britannia, Rangemaster, Falcon, Smeg and Mercury. If you need help choosing the right range cooker for your kitchen contact our expert team today on 0208 866 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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