Kitchens have become a standard modular feature. But do the fancy fittings and features cater to individual tastes? A look by Nandhini Sundar

In an era where open kitchens are increasingly the norm rather than an oddity, the manner in which the cooking area is presented has gained importance with its décor impacting the rest of the house.

With modular kitchens coming into vogue, where fancy fittings and amenities are taken for granted, an attractive kitchen has become a standard feature. Yet, do these fittings and features cater to individual tastes and conveniences? Perhaps not.

Fittings incorporated are in general of a standard nature, addressing general needs rather than customised to suit specific requirements. Given varying preferences and lifestyles, customised features can be as essential as having a charming kitchen.

Understanding this need to customise, Chhaya Navandar, proprietor of Smeshindia, has come up with multiple customised options to suit unique individual needs. The options she has on offer are structured to provide maximum convenience in the kitchen.

Says Chhaya, “Customised options in a kitchen can address many facets.

Ranging from the design of the kitchen counter to the cabinets, the kitchen could pack in plenty of novel features starting from an enchanting breakfast nook, to opening on to a green patch to lend the feel of an outdoor kitchen.”

According to her, how the accessories assisting cooking are structured will finally determine how work friendly the kitchen is and this has to be designed to specific individual tastes.

Pullout draws

Keeping this in mind, Chhaya fashions her cabinets with custom-made baskets. Her cabinets typically have pullout draws where the entire unit can be pulled out. Based on type of storage, the strength as well as the size of these units are decided.

For instance, if a wet grinder is to be stored, the pullout unit is fashioned to take the load as well as offer the convenience of using the grinder while still placed in the unit. The baskets in the individual units are also designed to be removed to facilitate easy maintenance.

Says Chhaya, “Since these individual units can be pulled out completely, it is a good idea to line the cabinet compartments with marble as this facilitates easy cleaning as well as rids cabinets of pests. The chill of marble makes it uncomfortable for pests to infest the corners.”

Each basket is custom-made to house the utensils, where the baskets incorporate compartments based on the type and size of utensils. Thus, if the customer has odd-sized utensils or pans, the compartments would be designed to house the same.

“Provision of partitions within the removable baskets enables segregation of items and easy as well as fast removal while cooking,” she avers. The partitions inside the baskets enabling segregation are also made flexible so as to alter their pattern if the requirement changes in the future.

According to her, an added advantage of customisation is the lack of dead space behind the pullout baskets, thus increasing storage space. For instance, corner units typically have dead spaces because of their inaccessibility. The inaccessibility as well as dead space is removed by providing two units that can be drawn out.

Besides allowing segregation, the customised baskets allow the organisation of a range of items ranging from masala holders to large grain storage tins by designing the size and shape of the compartments in accordance.

Customisation is also extended to storing items that may not be housed within the kitchen cabinets.

Thus, potatoes and onion holders, fruit holders, oil can trays, cup holders are all customised based on individual requirements in a manner that they occupy the least amount of counter space while being aesthetically appealing.

Spaces beneath…

Customisation is extended to even spaces beneath the sink where storage bins for wet and dry waste are placed along with provision for slots to store detergents.

Similarly, customised drain board option is available to be placed in the cabinet above the sink.

Even unique requirements such as cooking on the floor occasionally is addressed by providing a special pullout compartment to house the gas stove.

Says Chhaya, “One of the customers wanted to retain the traditional heavy grinding stone and a pullout heavy duty trolley had to be designed specifically to house it.”

While the accent is on aesthetics, functionality of the kitchen is addressed first to ensure convenience.