With a background in architecture, I have designed many bespoke private residences and interiors. For most designers and homeowners, the kitchen is a top priority. Singapore’s westernisation, the shrinking nuclear family or the proliferation of chic restaurants with show kitchens may explain this trend.

Thanks to the pandemic, many discerning homeowners place entertaining, dining, and drinking high on their interior design wish lists. They want to recreate the experience of eating out well at home.

This reminds me of when I went to a client’s house where the chef from his favourite restaurant prepared omakase for us! That was unforgettable.

The days of keeping the kitchen out of sight and mind are over. Nowadays, many homeowners cook for themselves, and a show or chef’s kitchen has become necessary for most larger homes I have designed in recent years.

Fortunately, the sophisticated technology of extractor hoods can mitigate the worry about odours infiltrating the house since some are flushed with the cooktop’s surface, drawing stray smells downwards.

This means that the island counters don’t have unsightly hoods over them.

A Khulmann kitchen setting with attached bar-height counter for meals and drinking sessions.

When the need arises, sliding doors such as those by Kuhlmann are a great way to temporarily close off an open kitchen.

Last year, the kitchen also became the new domestic area for storytelling, and it wasn’t just about food. Many of Kuhlmann International’s customers requested a breakfast island counter near the main living room so they could have casual gatherings around or near it.

Also requested were wine refrigerators, dry ageing systems for meats, and exceptional coffee machines.

The materials of these kitchens typically include aluminium-edged glass doors, touch-sensitive LED lighting, and wood veneers. With display shelves, owners can have their favourite sake glasses, champagne flutes or sashimi knives within easy reach.

Many countertops are made from sintered stone, while others are imported European marble. With more than 100 different finishes available, we make everything to measure and provide our customers with bespoke interior design services. The sky’s the limit.

Kuhlmann kitchens come with Blum internal hinges and drawers, and all shelves and edges are coated with fluorocarbon. Wet areas have stainless steel interiors to prevent leaks.

Plus, with storage racks, pull-out shelves, and other essential devices, any issues with tight corners are also quickly addressed.

handsome coffee service nook.

I’ve also noticed a consistent trend for pull-out larder shelves and deep pull-out drawers in the bottom cabinets that store large pots and pans. These provide ample kitchen storage space even in the smallest apartments.

I recommend using no more than three colours to create a soothing kitchen. As the countertop, floor tiles, and open shelves create various hues and textures in the space, the cabinet door panels should have the same colour.

“I recommend using no more than three colours to create a soothing kitchen.”

Simon Chiang

In addition, smaller and newer apartments typically have open-concept kitchens that are part of a larger entertaining area.

Whenever I design for my clients, I don’t necessarily follow trends or duplicate what can be found on Pinterest.

Instead, I always try to create a triangular flow of function between the sink, the fridge, and the cooktops. These three elements should never be next to one another.

A Kuhlmann kitchen with a matching island and breakfast counter.

I also always remind myself of three simple rules when crafting a genuinely timeless kitchen: declutter, conceal, and clean. It would help if you always planned enough storage spaces for not-in-use appliances or cooking equipment.

“Whenever I design for my clients, I don’t necessarily follow trends or duplicate what can be found on Pinterest.”

Simon Chiang

The silver lining of the pandemic is that we have grown to appreciate home cooking. Thus, the kitchen has also grown in importance as the heart of the home.

It is no longer just viewed as a mere practical space but a bespoke zone that should rival a luxury bathroom, walk-in wardrobe, or living space.

Simon Chiang is the creative director of bespoke modular interior builder Kuhlmann International, the official Singapore distributor of Kuhlmann, a heritage kitchen brand that was founded in Germany in 1923.