Kitchen space: the true heart of home

Be inspired by the interview with the global editor-in-chief of Livingetc, Pip Rich, to discover how the kitchen is the true heart of the home and how shades of grey convey soothing mellowness.

Discover how shades of grey make the room even more cosy and pleasant to live in.

Back in 2010, food writer extraordinaire Nigella Lawson highlighted - and cemented into the design world’s consciousness - a new way to think about the kitchen. "The kitchen is not merely a room, but a pleasure palace,” she said, going on to explain that for her the most important kitchen essential was…a sofa. 
With that decree she ushered in a new era for how kitchens were designed. Ultimately, she was saying that the kitchen is the heart of a home - not a new sentiment in itself. But she was implying that it needs to be somewhere comfortable, inviting, that you want to spend a lot of time. This was a big move on from the 1970s version of the home’s heart - all shiny man-made surfaces and forward-looking efficiency. From the lurid colours of the 1980s approach and the sleek, metallic minimalism of the 1990s dream kitchen. This was a family space, an entertaining hub for friends to sit and drink wine and laugh and chat while you stirred the pasta on the hob.
Over a decade later and the aesthetic has moved on but the sentiment has stayed the same. The biggest kitchen trends to come out of the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan last spring were for rounded islands - crescent-shaped orbs attached to the end of the worktop (usually in the same material) for guests to sit around convivially.
Counter stools have become extremely cushioned - the interior designer Staffan Tollgard tells me they’re an obsession of his and key to the way people like to live now (and a much better use of space than Nigella’s sofa, let’s be honest).’People like to huddle together more now,’ he says. ‘At breakfast, someone will be making pancakes, of an evening you might have someone on the drinks. Comfortable bar stools that people actually want to sit on is key to this way of living, this way of grouping and being together.’ 
But perhaps most key to making the kitchen the heart of the home is use of colour. The shades emerging from many of my favourite designers are terracotta (I’ve painted my own pantry in Hari by Atelier Ellis - it’s warm and uplifting), wood tones, which instantly evoke a calming connection to the natural world and soft, homely shades of grey. 
Together, this palette runs the spectrum of energising joy and soothing mellowness. And the perfect ratio to blend this look is wood cabinets, accents of terracotta (or other sunny hue of your choosing) and then grey as a detail, to blur the contrasts between the other finishes. 
Take Smeg’s new line of Neptune Grey built-in designs, for example. Its panels are fashioned in a pleasant turtledove-shade either side of the oven glass, or covering the hood, enveloping the space around them with a softness that seems to calm the air. This finish allows the eye to glide over it, making a space where the focus is not of functionality but on being together. A true heart of the home.

Read more about Pip Rich on Instagram for more insights.