Door and drawer handles, previously purely functional items in the kitchen, have undergone a dynamic change in the past few years. Now, in addition to being a practical inclusion, we require them to be decorative, aesthetically pleasing and add to the character and style of the kitchen design.
When choosing a handle consider your current and ongoingneeds, taking account of the finish, grip,function and visual appeal of the item. In general, handles willprotrude, be grooved or recessed into the door or drawer, orbe mounted along the top edge.
Depending on the style of the kitchen and your needs, you may choose to specify one type of handle throughout or a combination of styles.
It is very important to consider the weight of the door or drawer to ensure the handles chosen can easily and effortlessly be grasped to open and close the unit. Be aware that integrated appliance doors are often heavier than standard cupboard doors or drawers.
Integrated handles have become very popular as they create a smooth, streamlined finish and make the door and drawer fronts very easy to clean.
If you are considering “knob-style handle”,ensure it is large enough to be easily gripped and does not protrude too far into the walk-space of the kitchen. There are numerous novelty items available in this category, but be aware that these items will date quickly and may need to be replaced in a few years.
A “pull” handle can be installed vertically or horizontally and is generally fixed to the cabinet in two places. There will be space for the user’s handto slip inside to pull the door or drawer open.
Handles can be made from stainless steel, metal, aluminium or wood and may incorporate decorative finishes such as precious stone, glass, crystal or other feature elements.
Ensure you are aware of anyspecial maintenance issues that may pertainto the type of material chosen.
If you are unsure of which style of handle you prefer, we suggest you visit one of our showrooms to touch, feel and try using a variety of handles.
- A horizontal, thin handle will visually lengthen the kitchen
- A vertical handle will visually add height to the space
- Be aware of handle size when considering for comer cupboards or bi-fold doors to ensure there is space for the doors to fully fold back without catching on the handle.
Hinges are one of the most-used Items in any kitchen – doors are opened numerous times during the day (and night), so must be up to the task required. We ensure the hinge we specify is rated for the task and tested to ensure its longevity.
Hinges are also available with a variety of soft-close options. The addition of a soft-close hinge element will take up more space (but not a significant amount) within cupboard, so make sure you allow for this when planning which items will be stored where.
Technological advances also mean that today’s hinges can support heavy doors if required for the design. Push-to open hinges are also available and many homeowners prefer this option as it frees up hands when carrying Hems and can also speed up the open and close motion when cooks are busy.
Drawers are available in a wide range of widthsand heights and can be specified with a variety ofside designs with matching internal organisationalsystems. There are even options for drawer-within-drawer units to fully maximise the space.
There are many types of full-extensiondrawers available andmost homeowners are choosing this option inpreference to the older style of drawer, whichmade a portion of the space at the back very hardto access. However, standard extension drawersare still available if required.
The runner systems will generally be madefrom metal for added strength and damco kitchens offer hettichrunnersthat can managevery wide and deep drawers or take weights up to70kg, making them perfect for pots and pans orheavy casserole dishes.
In addition to the full-extension runners, we also offer a soft-close optionfor drawers and doors. This ensures that thedrawer (or door) will not slam on closing, giving itan added safety benefit as well as protecting thecontents of the drawer. The mechanism slows theaction of the drawer so, no matter how hard it is pushed, it cannot bang closed.
If a handle-free kitchen is required, it is worthconsidering the utilisation of push-to-openmechanisms (although handles can be included with these systems ifpreferred). Push-to-open mechanisms providea hands-free way of opening and closing thedrawer (or door), and are activated by pressurefrom the wrist, elbow, knee or foot, and closed inthe same way.
Many homeowners like and appreciate thisoption as it adds to the efficiency of the workingspace within the kitchen and can be a time-saver during peak preparation times. Most pushsystems can also incorporate a soft-close optionas well. These options are also useful for thosewith limited hand movement, such as arthritis, asit avoids using the fingers constantly.
Be aware that any electronic open-and-closesystem will require power, although doors anddrawers can be opened manually in the eventof a power failure. The mechanism will also takeup some space at the rear of the cabinet, sothis must be taken into account when planning.However, units that we supply are very compactand unlikely to make a significant impact on theavailable storage space.
Options for drawers also now includedecorative panels that can personalise a kitchenand add another dimension to your design. Ifyou are particularly designerfocused, it would be worth pitching the idea ofthese inserts as a way to stamp their individualtaste on the kitchen.
The decorative panels are inserts thatslide along the sides and/or front of thedrawer and are on show when the drawer isopened. Panels are generally available in a rangeof pre-designed patterns and colours or can becustom designed to your environment.
Internal Fit out
Internal fit out refers to the interior elements of thedoors and drawers — not including drawer runners andopening systems (which are dealt with under “DrawerOptions” below). This internal fit out can encompasslazy Susan-type structures for corner cupboards,drawer spacers and dividers, pull-out shelving or wirebaskets, drop-down units, pantry fit out, etc.
When planning your interior space,ensure you give enough considerationaboutyour storage and access needs. It is important tounderstand the types of items you use daily, weeklyand yearly so these are positioned accurately withinthe kitchen and adequate allowance for their ongoingaccess is catered for within your layout.
How you shop and what food (and whatquantity) you need to store is essential informationthat will allow you to design an interior space to suityour needs.
If the kitchen is to incorporate a scullery or butler’spantry, you will most likely utilise a range of internalfitoutoptions to ensure the functionality of the space.Again, your clear understanding of your habitsand requirements will ensure you choose the correctequipment needed for the space.
Corner cupboards, for years the problem area inmost kitchens, have traditionally been dealt with viathe inclusion of some form of corner unit accessory-Today’s corner inclusions offer a range of solutions,with slide-out and pull-out units that bring the back-corner items within reach without compromisingstorage space
Corner drawer units have increased in popularityand are a great solution for a tricky corner space asthey extend fully to allow the homeowner to easilyreach items at the very back without having toremove the items in front. Access can now be mucheasier with these cleverly designed units no longerrequiring kneeling and bending awkwardly in orderto see or reach the back of the cupboard.
A range of internalsolutions for drawer organisationis also available to make your daily tasksmuch easier. Items Include cutlery sorters, insertsthat store plates and bowls, inserts that managestorage of pantry items, as well as drawers-within-drawers for access to items such as spices and oilsfor cooking in the zones in which they are required
Anti-slip mats and drawer bases are great ideas toprotect contents and ensure they will notmove around as the drawer or units are opened.
Specific inclusions for pantry organisationare also available and these include drawers ofvarious heights and sizes which can be installedbehind a cabinet door if required. Pull-out pantryoptions are also available in full- and half-heightsizes. The pull-out pantry is very popular as itallows access from both sides of the unit, whichcan be very useful when unpacking groceries.
Internal items are also available to manageunder-sink storage — again, that has traditionallybeen a problem area. Smaller pull-out unto can beinstalled alongside the sink to maximise the spaceeither side of the dropped-down bowl. These caninclude allocation for tea-towels and cleaningmaterials where required.
Hardware Help from Hettich
- Utilise well-functioning and well-designed hardware to ensure goodorganisation of items within the kitchen.If you can ensure that your clients canput their hands on exactly what theywant when it’s needed, then working in the kitchen will be a breeze
- Take advantage of the brilliant fittings available today to help you get theergonomics of the kitchen just right
- Position your hardware and internal fittings to keep distances short betweenkey work spaces for an efficient and functional kitchen
- Plan and design hardware and internal fittings early in the process to maximisethe results
- Clever internal fitout will assist clientsto access those items stored in the mostfrequently used (middle) zone, betweenshoulders and hips
- Wall units need really good organisational systems to make the mostof the space and allow for easy access.
- Internal fit out can be just as effectively designed as the rest of the kitchen.
Upper cabinets have long posed a problem forkitchen designers because access can be difficultand lesser-used items were always relegated to thisstorage area.
Many designers (and homeowners) now opt fora lift-up door rather than a side-opening door. Thereare a number of benefits in this application but themajor one is unhindered access.
- Bi-fold (where the door folds in half as it lifts). Technically known as Lift advance HF
- Single lift and over (where a single panelis raised and sits back over the topof the cupboard). Technically known as Lift advance HS
- Single parallel (where a single panel israised vertically and sits above the cupboardwhen open). Technically known as Lift advance HL
- Front lift (where a single panel simply liftsup from the pivot point at the hinge). Technically known as Lift advance HK
Our lift-up systems are from hettich and use a hinge that has “stop” points, ie the door can be partially opened and will hold itself in place without falling closed. This can be a great benefit to homeowners needing to quickly grab anitem without having to fully open the panel each time There are also options for automatic open-and-close functions in a range of lift systems. Themain benefit is, again, speed of use during busyperiods. The homeowner pushes a button andthe door opens by itself. Another push and it willclose automatically, leaving the homeowner freecontinue with the task at hand.
There are also options for automatic open-and-close functions in a range of lift systems. Themain benefit is, again, speed of use during busyperiods. The homeowner pushes a button andthe door opens by itself. Another push and it willclose automatically, leaving the homeowner freecontinue with the task at hand.
Other Door Options
Folding doors can be very useful to managecorners or other angled spaces. Most willfeature two doors which, when open, pull backcompletely to allow full access to the cupboardsinterior. Bi-fold doors are also very useful if spaceis limited and you need to allow for traffic flowwhile the door is open. There are many hingesystems for folding doors — some allow the doorto open and lie flat, others fold to one side or liftup as detailed above
Full-length sliding doors, traditionally seen morein wardrobe installations, have become morepopular as we follow European trends. We also offer options for flush-closingsliding doors, which can be used to concealshelving or internal drawers. Sliding door systemscan be used to manoeuvre large doors (forexample, up to 2000mm x 2500mm) and can bevery popular in today’s open-plan kitchens to hidemess when not in use but allow unfettered accessto contents when required.
One of the benefits of a Sliding door is thatthe runners are located at the top of the units,thereby making use of a space traditionally notneeded for kitchen use without encroaching onstorage space with an element such as a hinge.
Another popular option is the pocket door,which folds back then returns within the cabinetto be neatly hidden away until needed. With asystem such as this, it’s important to choose aslide and hinge option that provides excellentstability throughout the movement of the door.Again, check door widths and weights as different manufacturers will offer various products to suitdifferent applications.
For all these options, be aware that handlechoice can greatly affect how the door operates.If you wish for the doors to fold back on eachother, for example, take care not to choose a bulkyhandle that may impede on the door fully opening.
Dave Angus, Marketing Manager for Hettich,says, “Often, because hardware is largely hiddenaway in the kitchen, it becomes an afterthoughtin the planning and design process. Once again,it is important to include hardware research anddecision-making early in the process to get anidea of what is available and to maximise thefunctionality and aesthetics in the kitchen — itbecomes harder and more expensive to retrofitafter the job is completed.”
- Be aware of handle size when considering forcomer cupboards or bi-fold doors to ensurethere is space for the doors to fully fold backwithout catching on the handle
- If space is limited, consider the useof a sliding door to keep walkways clear