How to design a Christmas proof Kitchen like a chef

When it comes to Christmas, the kitchen is the busiest room in the house! A well known Australian chef who agrees with me is Karen Martini.

In this blog you can find out how Karen Martini masterminded her kitchen design!

I had the wonderful pleasure last Tuesday of spending time with Karen Martini – Australian chef, restaurateur, writer and television presenter at a business lunch where she was guest speaker.

Designers as they do, get chatting and I asked Karen how she went about designing her new kitchen from scratch. To my surprise her answer was along the lines of what I ask my clients to do when we sit down and plan out their kitchen design.

There are so many things to consider when designing a kitchen and the first thing Karen said was… ” This was a very long process!”

Kitchen Planning

Karen said she liked to “have everything at hand” when she’s cooking. She and her husband, also a foodie who’s very visual, started drawing their kitchen up on a piece of paper and asked each other questions about how they wanted to use the kitchen such as..

“Where do you want the chopping boards? Where do you want the sink, and how many sinks?” In the end they realised the kitchen design was too hard to visualise on paper.

Next, they drew their ideal kitchen in chalk to size in the backyard by walking it out and this was the best way to visualise it.

Walk, Measure and Mark!

Grab a couple of metal measuring tapes and some chalk if it’s a concrete slab, or builder’s tape if it’s floorboards or tiles then walk it, measure it and mark out your ideal kitchen design to size on the floor inside.

Walking the kitchen out helped Karen realise she wanted 1.2 – 1.3 metres between the stove and the back bench even though 1 metre is the standard.

Paths within the cooking zone are usually 1.1metres wide for a one-cook kitchen and 1.2 metres wide for a two-cook kitchen. In Karen’s kitchen, she knew she wanted a wide path of 1.3 metres because it’s a main thoroughfare in their home.

Stepping it Out with Boxes

Karen’s kitchen planning didn’t end there though! After chalking out their kitchen design outside, they went inside and got some boxes. They started placing the boxes where they visualised the back bench and island would be. They moved the boxes around and walked the space again until they were happy with the layout.

Karen also still managed to fit the 2 fridges and 3 dishwashers she wanted into her kitchen design!

Stand, Plan, Entertain!

Think about where you stand and talk to your family and friends the most when entertaining in your kitchen. Allow enough space and more importantly, for your meals table and chairs to be fully pulled out.

TIPAllow 600mm depth from table edge for a chair to be sat in.

Karen said that on the architectural drawings, the table and chairs appeared to fit perfectly into the space. When she walked this area out she discovered it was too tight. In the end she gave up a section of drawers to make enough space for the family meals table.

Karen Martini’s Tips – 

1. Bin space needs to be generous! There never seems to be enough space allocated, especially for recycling.

2. Check the designer’s drawings and walk out the kitchen to make sure you’ve allowed enough space for how you’ll use the kitchen.


Happy Christmas cooking and entertaining in your kitchens everyone!