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Stella Michael

Great to have practical advice as a base, although I would always tailor to the individual. (Personally I hate top cupboards, you can have different level bench tops for different purposes, or people etc, and I love colour and curves where possible. Warm food related colours and natural materials work great in a kitchen. I had the corners curved on my kitchen table and it not only looks better but makes the room feel so much bigger). Equally, I have a friend who wants everything white and box-like, all over the house and for me it feels like living in a science lab but she loves it.

Finishes and colours are not for everyone about fashion but about beauty and what brings you joy. Aesthetics are so important for a happy and joyful life. Imagine if you lived in a practical house but you hated all the colours or textures. How happy would you be? We are visual beings.

How depressing to only having black or white cabinets. Doors can be replaced so easily, or painted. Use this to show some personality and have a bit of fun, bring some joy to your kitchen. We spend so much time there. Black and white will likely date like any other fad. Definitely be practical otherwise it will annoy you but doesn't have to exclude joyfulness.

Something not mentioned regarding top cabinet heights ... yes it depends on size of room etc but if you don't take them to the ceiling they get filthy up there and so high up, hard to clean regularly. So if it doesn't make the room oppressive I'd definitely go to the ceiling and maybe don't have them all he way around.

From experience of many kitchens, some version of a D-shaped handle placed horizontally is the most practical both for day-to-day ease of opening (especially if you have any nails) and can be opened with the tiniest small finger if your hands are full or messy. There are so many versions and can be either a design feature or almost made to disappear. Metal, leather, wood, so many materials available.

My mum is 5"2' (155cms) and was convinced by the kitchen joiner to place her top cupboards low so she could reach better (around 450mm above the counter as someone suggested in the comments). She hated them, she said they looked like someone's pants (trousers) were sagging down around their bum (sounds more poetic, and funnier, in Greek :-) as they sat too low and left too much space at the top. Se hated seeing them every day and still couldn't reach the higher shelves anyway so after some months paid to have them lifted up higher even though it meant extra expense and re-tiling the backsplash. She always had a little stool in the kitchen to reach higher shelves but arranged it so they weren't everyday things. She was right about how it looked and felt, she was happy and kept that kitchen for 35+ years until she moved.

Visuals are more important to some people than others. I like to find the win-win of practical and beautiful (the elegant solution as they call it in maths) ... and things that make me smile.

It's interesting and useful to have different perspectives from people that make things, and those that will need to look at and use them. All helpful, just be mindful of what works for you. Gather all the information (including going and trying them out) then make your own choices ... and take your time, don't let people rush you into things.

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Lots of lovely helpful details and pictures. The thing about the height overhead cupboards is important, but also personal. I hate them. I am tall and still have to stretch and as I get older its a pain. My kitchen is 20 years old and needs a bit of an upgrade and they are going to go. I may put up a shelf or two. Below, I have wide, deep oak fronted drawers, and I can't part with them, and plan to clean them up and add a couple more. Yes, it is all about how the incumbent has to interact in the space; how it looks and feels to the cook - and we are all different. Isn't it wonderful!

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Kitchen and Home Sketch Designs

Great ideas here. I agree that the practical ellements are far more important than just the look or fashion. Working for a stone mason as I did, he never recommended marble in kitchen as it is too porous. I think your better to choose a bench surface that you don't have to be precious about. Maybe replacing it when it is too scruffy. Always allow plenty of benching next to appliances. 1200 at least beside stove top even if the stove is not (shock horror) centered along the bench! Beside the sink you need workable space too. Another thing I feel as we get older the upright stove with ovens below will go out of fashion: I do not understand why people want to do their arobics with the heaviest, hottest, most dangerous roasts from a low oven when a wall mount is so convienient. Keep great ideas coming as they are great for everyone!

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