Pia is an award-winning Swedish kitchen designer currently working for Sola Kitchens. The company specialise in luxury Scandinavian kitchens and was founded by Sofia Bune Strandh in 2006.
What are your top tips when designing a new kitchen? Let your architect, builder and kitchen designer work together to find the ideal layout for your space. The kitchen should be practical and beautiful. Find a style that is going to last. Decide what elements will make a statement and don’t overdo it. The statement pieces could be the handles or the splashback or even the pendant lights, maybe things that are easy to replace if you feel that you want to change in a few years time. Choose materials that will stand the test of time. Be sure to ring-fence money for the kitchen as it might be the reason why you have decided to do building work in the first place.
What do you try to avoid? We try to avoid doing too much in one space. Our clients endeavour to make the most of their space, sometimes combining the kitchen with snug areas, offices and open plan living arrangements. Though this can work well, it requires a lot of consideration and planning as it risks making a space dysfunctional.
How do you deal with client’s expectation when they ask for something you don’t think will look good or work? It is our prerogative to achieve the very best result for our client and therefore requires a good understanding of their expectations and honesty in our consultation.
What kitchen designs are you most proud of and why? We’re proud to have many, very happy clients. It’s seeing our clients enjoying their new space that pleases me most, as it does when we strike the perfect balance between aesthetics and practicality.
What projects have you found the most challenging and why? Building a kitchen into an older property that has uneven walls and structural beams tends to present more challenges than it does in those that are newly built. We designed and installed into a charming, converted grain store and found its shape posed something of a challenge!
What is the most over the top or unusual thing a client has asked for in their new kitchen? A client of ours asked whether we might design a living tree into their kitchen island – though not without its challenges, we made it happen and our client has a beautiful, lively space to enjoy.
What advice would you give homeowners who are thinking about a new kitchen, but don’t know what they want? We advise that homeowners create a mood board, bringing together a selection of desired styles, colours and features they are fond of. Not only will this help homeowners to better recognise their own taste, but will make it far easier for their kitchen designer to understand what it is they like.
And finally, how do homeowners know which kitchen company and kitchen designer is right for them? It’s very important that homeowners feel both confident in the product they buy and comfortable working with their designer, as they will spend a lot of time working together. A good start is to set a budget and plan a rough project schedule, visit a small selection of showrooms and begin discussing with designers. Homeowners should consider which aspects of their project are most important to them and commission the company that can best cater to their needs.solakitchens | solakitchens.com