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11 of the best new ideas in kitchens, from ‘levitating’ kitchen units to the ultimate wine fridge

The world of kitchens seems to produce ceaseless innovation. Amelia Thorpe picks out some of the latest looks and cleverest new ideas.

Elk Kitchens doing it differently

Architects George Gardner and Peter Foulk have set up ELK, producing bespoke kitchens that feature their own patent-pending storage solutions, which are designed to ensure that all cupboard and shelf space is used to the maximum. These include their striking, triangular-shaped V-drawers, intended as ‘function centres’, with contents visible and accessible.

‘Unlike most kitchens, which are built from boxes, ELK’s designs are based on a framework, which frees the designers from standard restrictions and uses less than 50% of the material of a conventional kitchen,’ explains Mr Gardner. Each kitchen is constructed at ELK’s workshop in Hampshire, using responsibly sourced timber engineered to produce a stable framework, often using light and dark woods for contrast and to highlight the unusual shape of the furniture. ‘Our aim is to produce beautiful, sustainable kitchens that are genuinely innovative,’ Mr Gardner says.

Kitchen prices start from £50,000 — www.elk-kitchens.com


Tom Howley’s colour confidence


Dusky Pink is one of two new shades that join the range of more than 20 hues available at Tom Howley, introduced in response to the demand for elegant kitchens with confident use of colour. ‘The possibilities are endless, but for a truly classic look that marries refinement and playfulness, I would suggest pairing these bolder tones with white,’ advises Mr Howley.

‘A stark white paint or worktop acts as a marvellous contrast to the depths of these two new colours. Think about bar stools with upholstery in the same tone, or even vases, plates and glassware in pinks or greens for a creative and imaginative touch.’ Prices from £20,000 — www.tomhowley.co.uk


Perrin and Rowe’s top of the pots

No more lugging

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Glass Fire engulfs over 60,000 acres of Wine Country, chars more homes



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Glass Fire rips through more of Wine Country Thursday night

Firefighters stood guard outside some of the country’s most renowned vineyards and the homes that surround them Thursday night as the Glass Fire continued to encroach on the communities of Calistoga and St. Helena — the heart of California’s famed Wine Country.

The blaze had engulfed 60,148 acres by Friday morning, burning most actively in the hills north of Calistoga and east of St. Helena. At least one home outside St. Helena was among the 220 residences to have burned down. A house on the 1300 block of Tucker Road was “fully involved,” late Thursday night according to Cal Fire, and had flames jetting out windows of both its two stories.

  • CALISTOGA, CA – OCTOBER 2: Firefighters battle a fire at a home along Tucker Road in Calistoga, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. The Glass Fire, already the fifth largest of the 23 major fires burning in the state, has engulfed 58,880 acres in the North Bay and damaged or destroyed nearly 400 buildings. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

  • CALISTOGA, CA – OCTOBER 2: Firefighters battle a fire at a home along Tucker Road in Calistoga, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. The Glass Fire, already the fifth largest of the 23 major fires burning in the state, has engulfed 58,880 acres in the North Bay and damaged or destroyed nearly 400 buildings. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

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  • CALISTOGA, CA – OCTOBER 2: A home along Tucker Road burns in Calistoga, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. The Glass Fire, already the fifth largest of the 23 major fires burning in the state, has engulfed 58,880 acres in the North Bay and damaged or destroyed nearly 400 buildings. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

  • CALISTOGA, CA – OCTOBER 2: Firefighters battle a fire

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New wildfires in the Napa-Sonoma wine country force nearly 70,000 to flee homes

SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California’s wine country was on fire again Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting overnight evacuation orders involving nearly 70,000 people. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state.

Residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.

The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.

The fires that began Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 45 miles north of San Francisco came as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Just a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of a lightning-sparked fire that became the fourth-largest in state history.

“Our firefighters have not had much of a break, and these residents have not had much of a break,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin evacuated her home in the Oakmont community of Santa Rosa about 1 a.m. She is rebuilding a home damaged in the 2017 fires. Gorin told the San Francisco Chronicle that she is numb, and the situation feels surreal.

“It’s like God has no sympathy, no empathy for Sonoma County,” she said.

More than 68,000 people in Sonoma and Napa counties have been evacuated in the latest inferno, one of 27 major fire clusters burning across the state, said Berlant. Many more residents have been warned that they might have to flee, even though

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Fires rampage through wine country, destroying numerous homes in Santa Rosa

SANTA ROSA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: The Shady Fire impacts structures along CA-12 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 in Santa Rosa, CA. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times) <span class="copyright">(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)</span>
SANTA ROSA, CA – SEPTEMBER 28: The Shady Fire impacts structures along CA-12 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 in Santa Rosa, CA. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times) (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

California wine country was devastated by yet another series of wildfires overnight as flames destroyed numerous homes and other buildings in Napa and Sonoma counties and thousands were forced to run for their lives in the darkness of night.

A number of homes began to burn early Monday in the suburban eastern neighborhoods of Santa Rosa. The city of 177,000 residents, Sonoma County’s most populous, was devastated three years ago by the Tubbs fire — also driven by strong winds — that destroyed about 1,500 homes in the northwestern Coffey Park neighborhood, which was mostly built in the 1980s.

On Monday, it was the suburban northeastern neighborhoods of Santa Rosa that were burning, this time from the Shady fire.

Whipped by powerful hot and dry Diablo winds coming from the north and east, which showered embers onto the city, flames engulfed houses in the area of Mountain Hawk Drive, which is lined with two-story tract homes in the Skyhawk development, built in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The number of structures lost was still unclear.

Deer were seen fleeing as firefighters battled the flames before dawn Monday.

Large swaths of Santa Rosa were under mandatory evacuation orders. Districts in the city’s northeast were ordered to empty, including the neighborhoods of Calistoga, Skyhawk, Melita, Stonebridge, the Oakmont retirement community and Pythian.

Busloads of older people were evacuated from the Oakmont Gardens assisted-living community as flames could be seen in the distance. Elsewhere in the city, cars jammed narrow roads as residents heeded evacuation orders.

Two other fires were also burning upwind of the fire encroaching on Santa Rosa,

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