Marcus Phillips

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As an Interior Designer, Marcus Phillips from Designer Living Kitchens has always maintained a focus on creating aesthetically pleasing, practical kitchen design by taking into account how it relates to the lifestyle of the owners. FOCUS grabbed a coffee with Marcus to find out more about his professional background and current kitchen trends.

Four years ago, Designer Living Kitchens opened their brand new showroom in Coffs Harbour, adding to the existing locations of Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Ballina and Central Coast. Designer Living Kitchens says that although the company had been servicing the builders on the Coffs Coast for thirty five years, the new showroom also needed to cater for the renovation segment of the market. With this in mind, they enlisted the services of Marcus Phillips, an award winning interior designer with 28 years’ experience in kitchen design.

Marcus started his career in design after attending Julian Ashton’s Art School at The Rocks in Sydney, where he completed a fine arts course. He later went on to complete advanced interior design studies.

In the mid 1980s, Marcus commenced his kitchen design career with one of Australia’s best known kitchen companies in Sydney and a few years later, took up the position of Head Designer in Brisbane. Marcus then went on to hold that position nationally (Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane). As Head Designer, he was responsible for training designers and running the design team in three states

Marcus won his first Kitchen Design Award in 1989 and a number of awards since then, including outright winning Kitchen of the Year.

Moving to the country three years ago, he has designed two complete showrooms, the last of which won Showroom of the Year 2013.

As an Interior Designer, Marcus has always maintained a focus on creating aesthetically pleasing, practical kitchen design that takes into account how it relates to the lifestyle of the owners. “It’s important for me to find out how many in the family, how they like to entertain their friends and relatives and how the new kitchen should relate to the adjacent areas,” Marcus said.

After working for a German kitchen company a few years ago, Marcus says that the European experience has reinvigorated his desire to create functional design along with a “wow factor” in every kitchen.

The Design Process

The process of buying a new kitchen may seem daunting to those brave folks thinking about it. After all, it’s a major surgery to the home. That’s why Marcus has, over the years, developed a smooth, hassle-free process whereby you will feel that you have been listened to and received relevant design input, including advice on colours and finishes. With unique and cutting-edge design software, our combined ideas come to life with a virtual walk-around your new kitchen. By giving you a number of pricing options for various finishes, you are able to make informed decisions based on your needs.

Kitchen trends by Marcus

Trends, of course, come and go, but classic staples such as satin polyurethane “Shaker” doors leading into full “French Provincial” will always impress. Flat panel polyurethane high gloss doors giving a sleek, upmarket feel have been very popular over the last fifteen years, providing a seamless, “no edge” appearance.

Solid timber doors have always had a place in kitchens, with their natural rich lustre and a range of stunning Australian timbers available. Having said that, it’s quite unusual to see full timber kitchens these days.

Timber veneers and lookalikes are holding their own, and are still widely used to great effect in commercial applications; however, they’re not as widely used in kitchens as they were a few years ago…

Lamiwood doors are and have been for years the most popular finish, with greater and more interesting varieties coming on to the market, including the new semi and full gloss lamiwoods. With great flexibility and endless design options, as well a favourable pricing point, lamiwoods will rule into the future.

Bench tops have evolved over recent years from mostly laminate, then to natural granite, solid timber, Corian and now predominantly manmade or “engineered” stone. As this has become more popular, the pricing has become reachable for most new kitchen buyers and adds considerable value to the home. Engineered stone is less porous, a lot stronger than real granite and 97% quartz. Having said that, real granite has an amazing depth and uniqueness to it. Marble can be used to great effect as splash backs and special features. It’s not practical as a bench top as such, due to its porosity.

There have been in recent years, huge leaps in lighting technology for kitchens, with the advent of LEDs and low voltage lighting. Now more than ever before, we are able to “light-up” our work surfaces, as well as create amazing atmospheres at night that will turn a working kitchen into the entertainment centre of a home. There are now lighting solutions for every aspect, including under cabinet, internal cabinet, under bench and kick board lighting. Due to the low power draw, LEDs can be utilised for longer periods, without the dreaded power bill woes.

Cabinet hardware technology is turning our kitchen spaces into ergonomic masterpieces. With inventive slide out mechanisms that literally bring everything out to you, the “dead corner” is becoming a thing of the past. Soft-close drawers and doors are standard now on most kitchens.

Advanced lift and sliding doors as opposed to hinged for overhead cabinets are is taking hold in Europe. Sliding doors can be used to great effect by simply sliding to reveal an alternate finish, colour and feel.

With great design, imagination and attention to detail, the kitchen becomes the centre of your living space, where you entertain your family and friends, and is something that you’ll be proud of for many years to come.

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