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Kitchens Oct 8, 2020

Optima Kitchens: 50 Years of Industry Knowledge & Innovation

Optima Kitchens has seen the evolution and revolution of the kitchen industry over the last half century. Fanie Marais earned his first job in the industry in 1970 and eventually founded Optima Kitchens 21 years later, which is now a leading kitchen furniture store in South Africa.

We chat to Fanie’s son, now CEO of Optima Kitchens, Stefan Marais, about what it takes to create a stylish yet functional kitchen in the 21st Century.

What’s the first thing one should consider before renovating a kitchen?

I have always had good relationships with the top estate agent in the area where we live. We would discuss the average property price as well as the highest selling price. Based on this info a budget is set based on a return on investment.

My rule of thumb is between 5% (conservative) -10% of the selling price can be allocated towards a kitchen renovation.

Other considerations include:

How long do you intend living in the property? If 10 years, the investment is recouped over a longer period and you have the benefit of enjoying your new kitchen for a longer period of time.

If you intend to sell during the next year, one might cut back on the nice to haves and stick to a budget with the goal of an amazing kitchen and a sale on the first show day.

Prior to selecting a kitchen company for a quote, we recommend clients to do research. The first thing will be to ask for a personal recommendation from your architect, contractor or a friend that recently embarked on a renovation project. Deal with an established KSA Kitchen member for a peace of mind installation.

What are some of the latest built-in ideas and trends for a modern kitchen?

  • Combining industrial frames and sleek kitchens shelves into kitchen designs.
  • Play with textures, thicknesses, and colour as per the render below.
  • Lastly, we love art in the kitchen. Open plan structures have blurred the roles between the traditional living room and the kitchen. We’ve noticed a lot of our clients taking advantage of this and complementing the style of their kitchens with striking artworks and sculptures. It is the perfect way to create focal points and augment the individual tastes of our clients.

How can one make the most out of space and storage in the kitchen?

When renovating, take the opportunity to get rid of clutter. Decide on what you really need. There is no use in creating storage for stuff you hardly ever use. Tip: Follow Jamie Oliver; he has a list of utensils in his recipe books.

To maximise space in a small kitchen, we recommend using drawers, drawers, and more drawers. These are great for easy access and maximum packing space.

What would you recommend for space planning in a kitchen?

We prefer Blum’s dynamic space planning tool which incorporates different zones in the kitchen. The idea here is to consider your family’s unique storage space needs. If you’re looking for the ideal kitchen design for your family, we would discuss the client lifestyle and really listen to understand our client’s routine, and how the individual or family lives.

Questions we would ask: Who does the breakfast routine? Do you have lunch at home? Do the kids do homework around the breakfast bar? Do you entertain? Do you love cooking? Every aspect needs to be considered. With all of these factors in mind, we would come up with a design that suits the needs of clients. Blum’s Zone Planner is a great tool to help you calculate your requirements. You can select items, enter quantities and you immediately get ideas for functional cabinet solutions.

Kitchen renovations can be stressful. How do you offer peace of mind to clients?

We continually strive to create beautiful and ergonomic living spaces in which families and friends can spend time together, and we are adept at handling every stage of the kitchen-creation process, from design to installation, making your renovation experience as stress-free as possible and ensuring that you end up with a valuable addition to your home.

For more visit Optima Kitchens.

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