Kitchen designs differ from country to country – so why not incorporate some international kitchen design ideas into your home.
The weather has a major influence on the way we live. Homes in climates that are constantly hot are constructed in a completely different manner to those that have to withstand dramatic changes from one season to another.
In a country where for most of the year food is cooked on an outside barbecue and meals are eaten al fresco the kitchen design may reflect this lifestyle. It may be that ensuring that you have good ventilation to maintain a cool atmosphere inside becomes your primary concern, and of course efficient refrigeration will be vital if perishable foods are to be stored safely. Choosing lightweight furniture that can easily be moved into the garden, or onto the verandah, patio or terrace is another practical aspect to consider; it is usually made of woven cane or pale timber.
If it is continually hot outside, you may prefer to create a kitchen that will also be visually cool – by devising a pale, soothing color scheme. Use flat matt shades of blue and grey with pale painted walls and try to avoid complicated patterns that would upset the sense of calm. It is worth remembering, however, that these decorative schemes need lots of bright clear light, or their coolness tends to become clinical and unwelcoming.
The enduring appeal of the white villages of rural southern Spain, Provence and Tuscany is due in part to the other colors – drawn from the surrounding countryside – that are combined with that white. These baked terracotta, natural sandstone and dusty pink tones also provide warmth in the winters, which are often harshly cold. Of course you can glean inspiration and decorative ideas from holidays abroad, but to transport the style of one country to another may be completely disastrous: colors that look sensational in sunshine can feel oppressive unless you can reproduce a similar light, by natural or artificial means.
Thick wooden shutters on the windows, or canvas canopies, function not only to provide shade in summer but protection from freezing winds too. Stone or tiled floors are pleasantly cool in the summer and may be warmed up by mats or rugs if necessary And you may have a door opening directly from the kitchen onto the garden that can be left open permanently when the weather is fine to allow a cooling breeze to refresh the kitchen. But cool breezes become icy draughts in winter so this will probably need weatherproofing – with a warm and colorful curtain perhaps. And flexible but reliable heating that can respond quickly to changes in the weather is a modern convenience that nearly everyone would consider essential.
It is obviously sensible to wait for a year before you make any major design decisions, unless you are really confident that you can anticipate any seasonal weather changes. Real style is definitely more than surface deep.