How to create a hidden kitchen

Eggersmann hidden kitchen with island

You may or may not have heard the term ‘hidden kitchen’ recently. And I admit, it sounds a little odd. A kitchen that’s hidden? Aren’t we all craving open-plan spaces where the kitchen is the hub for family and friends? Yes, but there’s a new design kid on the block. And if you love the streamlined look, this is one for you. A hidden kitchen is exactly that. Hidden behind clever doors so you can conceal it when it’s not in use (cue sleek look) and open it up when needed. I see them quite often in KBB magazine at the moment and it’s a trend that is growing. Here’s why…

Hidden kitchens are especially popular in open-plan schemes, as they look like living furniture rather than, well, a classic kitchen with base cabinets, an extractor fan, and plenty of appliances on show.

Many of them are hidden behind doors, whether they are sliding on a track or clever pocket designs that slide into a pocket of space so they don’t take up any floor area and give you complete freedom to cook up a storm.

Life hidden kitchen gif

Peekaboo! The Alpina veneer doors in this Life Kitchens scheme – in a handsome Fumed Larch finish with a chevron design – open to reveal light grey cabinetry with a striking antique-effect mirror splashback. And because it features pocket doors, this scheme won’t even encroach on precious floor area. Designs from Life Kitchens start from around £25,000.

Why would you have a hidden kitchen?

What, you mean beyond shutting the door on clutter?

I’m kidding (a bit…), but that’s a definite bonus – especially when you’re entertaining and want to concentrate on your friends, rather than the pile of washing up waiting for you.

But hidden kitchens also have the bonus of not taking up much floor area, so they’re ideal for smaller spaces or even studio apartments.

Boffi hidden kitchen

A folding door electronically lifts up to reveal the worktop in Boffi’s ON-OFF kitchen. Neat, right? You can complete the design with floor-
mounted tall modular units and other standard kitchen cabinetry. The ON-OFF kitchen is priced from £48,000.

But how will I store all my bits and bobs?

Kitchen design has come so far in the last years – there are plenty of clever ideas out there to make your scheme work hard, even if floor area is limited.

If, like me, you’re on the shorter side of life and would never opt for full-height cabinetry (listen, I’m 5,4” and know how to wield a ladle to get something off a high shelf, but even that has limits), I bring good news.

There are pull-down solutions, which you’ll often see in accessible schemes too, which bring even the tallest cabinet’s contents right down to your eye level – clever!

Appliances can also be tucked away behind additional doors. After all, it only says your kitchen is out of sight; there’s no limit on how many doors it may take to conceal it.

Mowlem & Co red hidden kitchen

When closed, this kitchen is entirely invisible – but open the doors and the red cabinetry will draw everyone’s eye. The look is complemented by a painted glass splashback to match and the quartz worktops in a colour called Osprey. Not to mention storage won’t be an issue – this scheme uses every inch of space to make the most out of every corner and crevice. Kitchens from Mowlem & Co start from around £30,000.

Are there any downsides to a hidden kitchen?

Yes – and sadly, one of them relates to clutter. Turns out that, because of the limited space, you have to be quite tidy.

This also means that it might simply not be for you if you’re a super-keen chef who’s happiest if they’re cooking for 15 people or more. There is only so much you can squeeze into your hidden kitchen, and a bank of appliances is going to be tricky, to say the least.

Apart from that, you obviously have to open the doors to use it, which might be a nuisance for some of us, and you’ll definitely need an efficient extractor – maybe even one that’s integrated into your hob.

And yes, it has to be opened up even if you’re only running the oven and not actively whizzing around the kitchen yourself – if you close the doors while something is baking, that’s a fire risk.

Ideally, any appliances should feature an automatic off switch anyways, so they can’t physically run when the doors are closed.

Scavolini Box Life system

The Box Life range from Scavolini keeps a kitchen well hidden behind floor-to-ceiling handleless panels, shown here in Clay. It can also hide utility appliances, bookcases, the TV or your desk, be used as wardrobes, or hold a retractable bed. Kitchens from Scavolini are priced from £10,000.

Design ideas

With their sleek exterior, hidden kitchens usually ensure an open-plan scheme doesn’t feel too busy – because, as mentioned, you simply close the door to clutter.

But you don’t have to keep it tone in tone and matching the other walls in your home.

Why not draw attention to your kitchen’s exterior by having the doors hiding it in a contrasting design? Whether you choose a bright colour, a bit of pattern, or even a different material – the choice is yours.

As your kitchen is not always on display, this is also a prime opportunity to be adventurous with your cabinetry.

Black and white US scheme

With your kitchen hidden behind doors most of the time, why not use the chance and choose a bold colour for the cabinets? This design, belonging to architects Vivian and Robert at Edmonds + Lee is exactly up my street. All-black everything? Yes please. This design – located in San Francisco – was created with help from kitchen design practice Sozo Studio, price on application.

Have you been dreaming of glossy red units? Or maybe a matt black kitchen that would make heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne – the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness – jealous?

Well, now’s your chance to make it happen. What are you waiting for?

Featured image: Having a hidden kitchen doesn’t mean you have to miss out on an island – but your should think about what you’ll use it for. In this scheme from Eggersmann, the large central unit is in UNIQUE Pietra Viva marble finish, which contrasts nicely with the tall cabinetry – in UNIQUE Barrel Oak real wood veener – hiding all the essentials. Amazingly, the hob is actually on the island – it’s incredibly well hidden underneath a sliding marble panel. Eggersmann kitchens start from £40,000.

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