The Gruen Eco Design blog about how to convert your dream from an energy efficient home into a reality.


In the last blog I wrote about the catch up I had with our builder and how it got us thinking. Originally, I was always imagining a home with a nice polished concrete floor. And a white kitchen with lots of timber elements to bring warmth into the house.

But since our meet up with the builder we have now decided to have timber floors throughout. For several reasons. Due to the slope of the land we do need a timber floor at the front of the house anyway. Originally, we thought we would have the entry level with a timber flooring and then the living level as a polished concrete floor. Now we have decided to have the same continuous timber flooring throughout the house, on top of the suspended timber floor at the entry as well as on top of the concrete slab at the rear and also floor boards in the first floor (I’m allergic to dust mites, therefore carpet for the bedrooms is not an option for us).

This means the entire design idea/colour scheme also had to change.

We have now decided to have timber for the flooring and then have a kitchen with mainly white cabinets, constituted stone bench tops and dark grey or black wall cabinets. With only some small timber accents, in form of feature shelving above the base cabinets.

As I had mentioned before, we are going to use ikea carcasses for our kitchen. Therefore, we have to make sure that our kitchen lengths comply with their standard sizes. Main cabinets are available in 800mm, 600mm and 400mm. You also get infill cabinets in 200mm and 100mm.

We do want our kitchen to be symmetric. Because of that we will be using 600mm cabinets and drawer throughout and have adjusted all plasterboard walls surrounding the kitchen accordingly.

When planning your kitchen, you have to think about how you will use it. The main things should be laid out in a triangle: fridge, sink and cook top; with a relative short distance between them.

One thing that is often overlooked is the accessibility of the fridge. Ideally the fridge should be located at the outside of a kitchen. So that someone just wants a drink they do not have to squeeze past the person that is cooking or doing the dishes.

Also, you should leave some clear bench space on either side of the sink and the cook top. Imagine you take something out of the fridge. You need a place close by where you can put something. Similar when do dishes or when you are cooking. You need space close by to put your pots or your food.

Think about where you will put our plates and glasses. Where will your spices go and where will you put your oils and so on.

Our kitchen will be as follows:

At the back of the stairs we will have a fridge. Easy accessible from the side. There will be three 600mm wide high cabinets in dark grey or black adjacent to it. One of them will house a wall oven, the overs will be storage, probably for baking good and utensils.

The island will be mainly open, with two 600mm wide drawer underneath on the one end and a feature timber book shelf on the other end.

On the outside wall we will have a splashback window where the sink is. A total of six 600mm wide base cabinets. On the left will be a zip unit (we are Germans after all and we do love our sparked water). Then we will have an under-bench sink, then a built-in dishwasher, then three 600mm wide drawer. The induction cook top will be centred on this drawer. These three drawers will also have wall cabinets above them, with a build in range hood above the cook top.

Okay, so that will be out kitchen 🙂

Next time I will talk about our pantry/laundry and how we will fit in the ventilation system for the passive house.