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3 ways to think about your kitchen

Architect Jerzy and his wife Anna planned their kitchen from scratch when they moved into a new-build home. Find out how they combined their love of modern architecture with the needs of their children and a desire to live more sustainably.

White cabinets and a large kitchen island with concrete counter top in a white, modern kitchen.
White cabinets and a large kitchen island with concrete counter top in a white, modern kitchen.

Think like an architect

“Having clear counters was important to us,” says Jerzy. “Minimising visual distractions helps the space to flow. So we went for built-in appliances to keep the worktops clutter free. IKEA is simple, smart and easy to customise; I play with it a lot in my architectural practice. We used an IKEA kitchen as a base and added a concrete top, which is a solution that suits our raw style.”

Customise your work triangle

“IKEA helped us design the best kitchen workflow for our lifestyle. Because we like to host big get-togethers and cook-alongs with friends, we separated the oven and hob – that way several people can cook comfortably at the same time. The washing-up area faces out towards the window, rather than being in the island as we’d originally intended. Doing that would have meant compromising on workspace or building an island that was too big for the dimensions of the room.”

Having the hob on the island means we face out towards the living areas when we’re cooking. It’s more sociable and makes it easier for us to keep an eye on the kids.


We dreamed of a kitchen that was open and almost invisible, so we defined it with materials and colours instead of walls or anything too architecturally dominant.

Jerzy, architect, Poznan, Poland

Think like a parent

“The kitchen island on the dining side is full of our daughter Helena’s toys, books and games,” says Anna. “They’re her secret cabinets, where she keeps her favourite things and sometimes stashes sweets. The solution works for all of us – everything she needs to draw or play with is easy for her to get out and put on the dining table, where she likes to spread her things out. When she’s done, it’s easy for her to tidy everything away again. I’m a doctor, so I like a white space!”

Big drawers, small hands

“We’ve organised the kitchen to encourage Helena’s independence. She loves making sandwiches and getting involved at mealtimes, so the large drawers and plate holders make it easy for her to get what she needs. Our son Stefan (1) is also fascinated with drawers – he has a technical mind! – so adding safety catches was a sensible idea.”

Now we have children we think more about safety – Helena’s step stool has anti-slip tape so she feels extra secure when she’s helping out.


Think greener

“Choosing energy saving appliances from the start has helped to make our kitchen less wasteful and more sustainable,” says Jerzy. “We only considered buying those with good energy ratings, like our fridge. We also chose an induction hob because it’s really efficient and had a water-saving tap fitted for the sink. Our bins are under the sink but we wanted to improve our recycling, so we recently added more containers for separating waste.”

Family moments

“We don’t have a lot of mementos around the house, but we do hold on to things with meaning, like the invitation to Jerzy’s 30th birthday last year. Seeing these small things every day brings a smile to our faces as we’re cooking, reminding us of what’s important and the good times we’ve had here with loved ones.”

Green living is important to us and we try to improve our habits. We freeze meat portions, taking out only what we need for each meal, which means fewer shopping trips and less going to waste.


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Photography: Dan Duchars
Styling: Emily Henson