Above: The Finsbury Steel & Mayfair Dove Grey kitchen is pictured here with the adjoining under-stair storage in a complementary Blonde Wood interior and Mayfair Dove Grey façade. Priced altogether from £10,000, Daval

As open-plan living becomes even more popular in homes of all shapes, sizes and styles, the need for creating some sort of distinction between the different zones has resulted in a trend for incorporating screens, dividers, pillars and posts into the design. Whether it’s a vast industrial space or a cosy courtyard cottage, there are plenty of options when it comes to adding extra value with an array of design features that can complement or contrast with the surroundings. 

Above: The Modulnova kitchen from DesignSpace London features a satinised white glass island from the Twenty collection complete with Carbone oak veneer breakfast bar. The Library shelving is also in the same finish. Kitchens start from £25,000
One of the simplest ways is to introduce a shelving system to act as a room divider and handy storage space as Keith Atkins, director of design at DesignSpace London, confirms. ‘Library or display shelves can be used as room dividers in a veneer or a lacquered finish while glazed screens can create a feeling of space, keeping the kitchen contained into a defined area.’ Any existing architectural features can also be seamlessly integrated. ‘Structural beams, service risers or even staircases can be incorporated either by cladding them in materials to match the kitchen or by wrapping them in co-ordinated storage or shelving,’ adds Keith. ‘Even that awkward under stairs space can be utilised as a wine store or glass-fronted pantry.’ The key is to ensure the end result is practical and aesthetically pleasing rather than gimmicky. ‘A popular design feature right now is bi-fold pocket doors that fully close off areas of the kitchen,’ explains Daniele Brutto, co-founder of Hub Kitchens. ‘Material choice is paramount and combining soft warm timbers with hard cold architectural steel works really well.’ 

Above: The Cut by Record e Cucine available at Hub Kitchens from £40,000.

While many of us embrace the contemporary feel of an open-plan space, we still have a yearning for an oldfashioned pantry or larder; a place where we can store dried food, baking ingredients, small appliances, cookware, ceramics and crockery. ‘Sliding doors can give that flexibility of being able to shut off the space or creating a much more open feel when one wants to connect the neighbouring spaces without doors being in the way,’ says Natalie Benes, associate architect at Stiff + Trevillion. ‘If a staircase descends into a kitchen space, you don’t need to necessarily enclose it behind a wall. Why not expose it and make it part of the kitchen space? You could also tie in the materiality of the staircase by using the kitchen floor finish on the staircase treads or matching the finish of a metal staircase handrail with the kitchen handles.’

Article by: Hayley Gilbert