If your kitchen looks as if it has never been used, then congratulations, you have managed to master the latest kitchen trend. Concealed taps, sinks, hobs and gadgets are becoming standard in modern kitchens to create uninterrupted workspaces.
Items that once cluttered the benchtop — kettles, knife blocks, plug sockets, spice racks, kitchen-roll holders — are being hidden in compartments that disappear into the cabinetry at the touch of a button. These gadgets used to be seen only in designer kitchens, but are now included in less expensive ones too. For example, Ikea has a spice rack (£200), knife block (£200) and row of three power sockets (£170) in its Intensitet range that pop up from a space below a worktop. Magnet Kitchens has a motorised rectangular storage solution called Cabinet Plus as part of its kitchens. Press a button and a compartment lowers from an overhead cupboard then disappears back into the cupboard space when not being used.
Appliances are also on the hit list when it comes to kitchen aesthetics. Ideally they should neither be heard nor seen, and this includes the kitchen sink. To overcome this Magnet has the Illusion sink, from £895.83, where you can push down the tap and slide a
panel over the sink to create a continuous benchtop.
Those with bigger budgets are getting designers to hide their kitchens. Danieli Brutto is the co-founder of Hub Kitchens, which specialises in creating minimalist kitchens, from £20,000. One kitchen he has designed features a wall unit housing knives, spices and oils, that appear and disappear, controlled through an app on a phone. Another is a kitchen that resembles a dining table with cupboards behind it — when the cupboard doors are opened, a microwave and storage cupboards are revealed, while the table transforms into a sink and a hob. Once everything is cooked and put away, it returns to being a dining table and cabinet.
Brutto first came across the concept of the hidden kitchen at a design fair in Milan in 2000. Today he says up to 80 per cent of his clients choose to conceal something; or in some cases everything, such as the clients who opt for a galley kitchen that can be hidden behind bifold doors that resemble part of the wall.
“The demand for hidden kitchens has come about because open-plan living has become widespread. Kitchens are more on display and the things that aren’t attractive need to be hidden,” Brutto says. “Concealing used to be reserved for top-end kitchens, but it’s filtering down; it’s becoming easier to do.”
Levels of disguise
■ Mild where homeowners opt to integrate appliances into the walls (no ugly microwaves on the work surface or bulky coffee machines hogging space). Another version of this is larger kitchen cupboards, where the toaster and blender stay plugged in on a waist-height bottom shelf.
■ Moderate the sink is concealed, replaced by a piece of worktop that fits the shape of the sink; a hot-water tap is installed to remove the need for a kettle.
■ Major this is the “now you see it, now you don’t” look that homeowners with modernist interiors strive to achieve. This is when a beautifully designed table becomes a hob and a sink. Or when the entire kitchen is hidden behind bifold doors that act as a false wall. You can cook dinner before guests arrive and, on hearing the doorbell, close the folding doors so no one need see the dishes. This is unlikely to be a feature in family homes.