In our latest Meet The Expert, we talk to design consultant Michelle Pickstock about what’s hot in the kitchen, how trends have changed and what she loves about the North East
How has what you do developed over the last 20 years?
The whole industry is fashion-led so our ‘design-led’ approach is at the core of the business, as there is a need to continuously review and update our product offering to ensure we are cutting edge and innovative. We started in1981, and over the years we have seen popular timber finishes such as pine and beech fall completely out of favour, with painted finishes in either a grained or flat style continuing to be on-trend. There is a continued increase in the use of mixed textures – be it gloss and matt finishes or timber and paint mixes – which add impact to the overall kitchen environment. Whilst it is important to be aware of current and upcoming trends, we also look to innovate ourselves, trying to set the possibilities for new thinking which goes some way to explain why our business is so vibrant, dynamic and engaging – especially when this is coupled with a client’s natural enthusiasm.
Can you tell us how styles have changed over time?
We are being asked to design within increasingly large spaces, especially where the kitchen is concerned. Open-plan living is continuing to prove hugely popular with people looking for a whole living space including office and media centres, rather than just a cooking/cleaning area. This has led to a basic requirement for every space to be totally unique to the people who share it. And it’s not just the kitchen’s external appearance that is ever changing – internal mechanisms are now a vital part of the overall design. Customers are demanding that their kitchen works more for them, maximising the effective use of space. For example, we are incorporating large drawers into designs for ease of access far more regularly now, rather than people having to drop to their knees to access a cupboard or appliance.
Is there anything that’s remained the same throughout?
You still need a sink and tap! Although even these have developed and evolved massively over the years with sinks coming in a vast range of shapes, sizes and finishes. They can now also include waste disposal units. Taps are no longer simply for hot and cold running water either, but for boiling and filtered water, potentially making the kettle completely redundant.
So is new technology changing the way spaces are used?
The introduction of the new BORA hob has opened new ways of designing the kitchen element within a large space. Islands with soft geometry are a focal point and easy to live with, whether in a penthouse in London, or a hideaway in Deia.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Making the brief fit the budget. Some of the new concepts, finishes and mechanisms are very desirable, but unfortunately they may not always fit into the budget once everything else is considered. Where I believe we excel is offering other possibilities and options to make sure everything (including the budget) fits the bill.
What’s next for you?
To continue to grow and expand across the North East and the Borders. We want to continue to stay ahead of the game. Our business is the most satisfying in the world when you change someone’s life, enhancing their enjoyment of their home.
What is it about the North East that you love?
The people! Since we opened our doors in 1981 we have met some amazing people and have had the opportunity to work for some brilliant clients. We would like to thank everyone who has visited us since we opened and an even bigger thank you to every client who has selected us to work for them.
Do you have a favourite place in the North East?
Bamburgh and the secret North East coast. It is our hidden national treasure – but don’t tell everybody.