Natural Living

As homeowners become more environmentally aware, they’re starting to lean towards natural fibres and materials.

It’s simple and affordable to reduce your impact on the environment in the kitchen, according to Susan Hasler, brand manager for Freedom Kitchens. “Adding a bin system with a built-in recycling compartment, or selecting taps with flip handles to reduce water wastage are simple tips that make a difference,” she says. Hasler also advises that, if installing a dishwasher, you should ask about the energy and water-rating system to ensure it’s efficient; and for cooking appliances, consider ovens with quick-heat settings to further reduce energy usage. Furthermore, compact fluorescent lamps are the brightest, low-energy option for lighting right now, and are a good alternative to halogens. Freedom Kitchens has introduced a Greenfirst range, which includes energy and water-efficient appliances that have been independently certified by Good Environmental Choice Australia.

Maple and natural oak are strong looks in joinery for French kitchen-maker Schmidt Kitchens, which has stores in Sydney. The look reflects the eco-conscious trend that has seen more homeowners interested in organic fibres and materials and, hence, wanting their kitchen environments to feel more in touch with nature. Schmidt Kitchens is committed to encouraging sustainable design, including producing an eco-friendly tray for sink units and having NF Environment labelling (the official French ecological certification) on some of its kitchen ranges.

Michael Kitchener, the director of Kitcheners Kitchens in Sydney and Melbourne, got a sneak peek at upcoming kitchen-design trends at the Eurocucina trade show in Milan in April. He observed a continued move towards natural timbers and veneers, and reports “It’s so dominant, even laminates are now coming in textures that give a natural impression.” Kitchener says natural stones are also very popular – particularly with honed, matt finishes – as are man-made stones with ‘natural’ textures. Extending the back-to-nature theme further, another trend he noted was the emergence of herb gardens in the kitchen.

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