This month we invited Matt Payne, previously one of our designers and now manager of showrooms in London and the South. Read Matt’s interior inspiration and tips on fulfilling your kitchen project.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
After being a designer in Sheen for four years, I am now a Regional Manager covering Battersea, Fulham, Chislehurst, St Albans and Hove.
2. What is your design mantra?
My design mantra was always to pay attention to the small details. We have such a vast range of styles and looks that we can achieve so they all look fantastic, no matter what your preference, the key is in the finer details.
3. What is your kitchen like at home?
Too small! But luckily, it’s well designed, stylish and functional with a back door leading to the garden and a doorway leading to the social area, so it feels bigger than it is. I’ve gone for a flat fronted door, with a simplistic brushed steel handle, a darker worktop with a brightly coloured brick tile. Instead of cupboards, I have incorporated stainless steel open shelves for my dry food plus a handing rail for puts and pans. These finishing touches make it feel bigger and give it a contemporary, slightly industrial feel.
4. What inspires your work? Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration can be found anywhere, but I like to look at other cultures’ attitudes towards cooking and eating to draw inspiration. For example, Southern and Western European countries make meals times all about socialising, by conversing over small plates into the early hours.
5. What are your first considerations when designing a new kitchen?
It’s all about how the client intends to use the space and what they’re hoping to get out of it when it’s finished. Some people will want to spend hours concocting delicious meals undisturbed, whereas others may have a preference for easy preparation and more of a social space for entertaining. These two kitchen ideologies are not mutually exclusive, by the way, it’s massively popular amongst our clients to love cooking but equally enjoy space to entertain. In the end, however, the space is to be used; start with the end goal and work back from there.
6. What projects have you found the most rewarding and why?
I know it’s cliché, but the best projects are when the client is delighted with the end result. Having said that, I always get a great sense of achievement when I’m presented with a particularly challenging brief and pull off a great design.
7. What do you try to avoid?
Too much chaos around the cooking area. The area near the hob needs to be free of too many people and activity outside of its primary function. Cooking can get quite stressful and there are times when ultimate concentration is needed, so somebody barging you out of the way of the dishwasher they’re trying to empty whilst you’re separating the egg whites on those perfect macarons or clarifying a delicious consommé is far from ideal!
8. How has kitchen design changed over the last five years?
There’s been increasing movement away from the overly minimalist/clinical look and away from monochrome colours. People are becoming a little more risqué with colour and styling, which is great.
9. What kitchen trends do you predict in 2019?
2019? Deep colours have been a huge hit of late, so I can see a continuation of that, but I can also see more ‘fun’ and bold colours coming back too. Bright blues, greens, pinks etc.
10. Do you have any tips for homeowners embarking on a new kitchen project?
Start thinking about it early and speak to designers. A good designer will be excited to embrace any challenges, regardless of (or including) timescales, but it’s much better to tackle the challenges without the pressure of a looming deadline. When you’re starting to produce mood boards and exploring potential layouts, it’ll help you the figure out what you want to achieve from the project. Besides, it’s the fun part! Why not take your time and enjoy it, as well as giving you the best chance possible of it being perfect?