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10 Inspiring Kitchens That Connect With the Outdoors

It’s April and the signs of summer are here in the UK. Blossom is blooming, the sun is shining and we are all enjoying the longer days in the lead up to summer. This time of the year, the milder weather and sunshine draws us out into our gardens, whether for the children to play outside, BBQs with friends or simply a relaxing weekend in the sunshine. A home that connects with the outdoors and nature is a joy to live in whatever the season, encouraging light and a relationship with the natural environment.

That’s why we have chosen to write about beautiful ways to connect your home with the outdoors. In this blog, we will share 10 KCA kitchen projects that connect the kitchen with the garden, celebrating the physical and visual harmony between the kitchen and its natural surroundings.

Read on for swoon-worthy spaces that will have you counting down the days until summer!

A Brief Introduction to Biophilic Design

Throughout the history of interior design, nature has been a source of inspiration. Traditionally this was evident in the organic materials used in our homes, the nature-inspired artwork and the floral patterns used in our furniture and textiles. As we develop and improve materials and construction techniques, architects and designers are free to go further to satisfy our innate need to affiliate with nature in our cities, buildings and homes. As we all become more aware of the importance of our environment and its influence on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, our homes are taking a human-centred approach suitable for how we live today. Since we spend 90% of our time in a human-made environment, we are looking to foster a connection with the outdoors as we turn towards nature for its health benefits.

As we mentioned in our 2021 trends blog, the pandemic has made many of us evaluate our lifestyle and how we spend time outdoors. As a result, design trends are taking a biophilic design approach. Biophilic design is an approach used to create homes that increase an occupant’s connectivity to the natural environment through direct nature, indirect nature and space. A biophilic design approach focuses on those aspects of nature that, over evolutionary time, have contributed to our health and wellbeing.

  1. A Modern Kitchen Diner with Triple Aspect Bi-Fold Doors

This kitchen maximises natural light with skylights and bi-folding doors across three aspects. Wherever you stand within the kitchen, you are visually connected to the garden. We love how the dining table is positioned in the sunniest area of the room to enjoy the garden in all seasons. By opening up the bi-folds, the dining area transforms into an indoor/outdoor dining space that could be used as a shaded dining area for BBQs with family and friends.

2. A Traditional Kitchen Full of Light

This shaker kitchen positions the island parallel to the bifold doors, with an accompanying window to let in natural light throughout the day. In addition to the large dining table, the kitchen island also features breakfast bar seating for two.

4. Minimalist Kitchen with a Family Breakfast Bar

This ultra-modern design is set within a kitchen extension which benefits from bi-folding doors on all three aspects. As our clients had a separate dining room, the kitchen island is the main seating area in the kitchen comfortably seating the whole family of five.

4. Indoor Outdoor Living

A connection with the outdoors doesn’t mean you have to have a spacious lawned garden full of shrubs. For urban walled gardens with patio or decking, creating a connection to the outside is just as important. This cosy open-plan space is kitchen, dining and living all in one, featuring a projector screen for cosy cinema nights.

The chosen finish for the decking closely matches the interior floor finish, creating a seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces. This is a great trick to make your indoor space feel larger and to create the feeling of one large space when the doors are open.

5. An Open Plan Living Space With Room for the Whole Family

Well, what isn’t to love about this beautiful family open-plan kitchen? The large footprint created room for generous cooking, dining and lounging areas with plenty of space for the family to be together comfortably. We’re especially fond of the hob being positioned on the island, allowing our clients to enjoy views of the garden while cooking. Once again, complementary interior and exterior floor finishes have been chosen, although this time we see it using a neutral-toned tile.

6. Natural Finishes

As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, connecting with nature can go beyond strategically positioned windows and doors that offer views to the outside. Choosing natural finishes is another way to foster a relationship with the natural environment. In this kitchen for a lake house in the Cotswolds, we collaborated with Barclay Interiors to create a design that combined the style of urban city living with nature. We’re especially fond of the sun-dried aged fir wood which is used for the cabinets surrounding the appliances, the base cabinets along the back wall and as a feature panel on the island. This texture perfectly complements the timber decking and exterior of the lake house, connecting the interior and exterior spaces.

7. Classic Kitchen with Roof Lantern

This stunning handmade kitchen positions the island beneath a large roof lantern which floods the space with natural light. When the sun goes down, the statement pendants hanging from the roof lantern create a cosy, intimate atmosphere. This space celebrates the view out to the garden, which is beautiful even when covered in snow.

8. Dark Tones to Create Contrast

One of the benefits of kitchens that are flooded with natural light is that you don’t have to shy away from using bold or darker colours. The angled roof and large skylights provide plenty of sunlight, so our clients could choose a dark grey colour scheme without compromising on the feeling of light and space.

9. Flowing Light

This kitchen goes one step further than connect the open plan kitchen to the garden. By opting for critall glass internal doors, the natural light flows through the kitchen into the adjoining hallway and living room, offering views of the garden from the moment you walk through the front door. 

10. Controlling Light Levels

This classic kitchen looks just as striking from the outside as it does from within. The full-length curtains give our clients the option to draw the curtains to create privacy or to soften the natural light. This is a factor that can often be overlooked for kitchens with large skylights and bi-folds. As lovely as natural light is, it can sometimes be overwhelmingly bright or warm. Curtains are a great addition especially for south and west-facing gardens and you could choose from solid material or a sheer voile to soften the light without blocking it out entirely. For the best of both worlds, we recommend a double pole with both curtains, giving you complete control of the natural light.

We hope these kitchens have given you inspiration for your own design.

To see how you can connect your new kitchen with nature, contact KCA to speak with a friendly Design Consultant. Call us on 01344 883777 or book an appointment online

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