Kitchen’s got game

We scanned the landscape to seek out the latest news and trends in surfaces, taps, sinks, tiles, handles and lights.

The kitchen’s main purpose as a place of food preparation has endured, but over the years we’ve made other major changes in “the heart of the home”. We’ve added social space and showpiece to its list of deliverables and have taken away the duty of wash area in many cases by separating out kitchen from scullery. 

Today’s kitchens have the pressure of combining beauty with function as the removal of walls and hatches (remember those?) has put everything on display. To keep up with appearances, integration (of fridges and unsightly appliances) has become the name of the game with a decidedly styled and curated iteration of the kitchen now under the spotlight. 

With the more quotidian parts of the kitchen now tucked away behind sleek, timber doors and beneath countertops of monumental appeal, the kitchen island has come into its own as a space to gather, eat or keep the cook company during Sunday lunch. And if you’re British mega designer-retailer and legendary maximalist Abigail Ahern, your kitchen island is a repository for stacks of books and plants…a bit like a window display.

We reached out to see what’s new in each of the kitchen’s departments and here’s what we found.


If it’s a unique natural or engineered stone and porcelain surfaces you’re after, Cannata has always been at the top of their game. And when we say always, we mean for more than a century. Now in the hands of the fourth generation, this family business has not only kept up with the times, but they’re also leading the charge. Their expertise in the fabrication and manufacture of surfaces means they’re adept at establishing the specific needs of their clients and executing them seamlessly.  

Your countertop, backsplashes and cladding make up for a large portion of your kitchen’s visual language and can set the tone for this space, so consider your options carefully. Terrazzo cladding has seen a major comeback of late and is loved for its timeless character and sustainable credentials. Typically, it incorporates aggregates like marble chip or recycled glass into its makeup but we’re eyeing out Cannata’s recent inclusion of seashells into their terrazzo. 

For classic elegance, marble’s rein continues but if you want something that requires less maintenance then you could opt for extra-large format porcelain tiles that successfully mimic the real thing from the likes of Maxfine and Diesel. And if we’re talking artful mimicry, Diesel’s collection of Metal Perf tiles offers the guise of aged industrial metal tiles but are in fact made from double-fired ceramic. Some even come with “rust” marks so you can pull off the worn look without the leaky pipes. 

According to Cannata, just about anything can be added into the mix. Here they’ve incorporated seashells and elsewhere brass construction waste for a major dose of individuality.


This sector has seen a lot of action of late with the colour of taps and faucets coming under review in favour of black and gold or brass. The former brings a contrasting and masculine edge to either classic or industrial spaces while the latter (brass and gold) bring warmth and old-world sophistication. Those on the hunt should look to Flush for their covetable collection of sinks, mixers and taps. 

Today’s taps can save you time too, and who doesn’t want that? Dornbracht’s Sync range of single-lever taps, for example, offers you the convenience of a pull-down sprayer and the choice of two water pressure types with a push of a button.


Taking their cue from the lost art of early Renaissance intarsia, the painstaking and masterful wood inlay technique has informed Italian tile masters Ceramica Sant’ Agostino’s latest collection available at Italtile. Called Intarsi, the range channels grand heritage buildings and teams look-alike wood and marble in precision-printed matt porcelain.  We’re mad for this collection and love its ability to pull off an instant aged look in a modern kitchen.


They may be small considering the scale of the kitchen, but handles are the finishing touch to this stylish space and can help further the look you’re trying to achieve. Not so long ago, the rounded bar shape was as daring as this department got, but the available selection has really improved. 

One of the newcomers to this category is Douglas and Douglas, the KZN based furniture and interiors studio who delight us with their designs. They recently added handles to their inventory and we like! “When designing custom cabinetry for our interior design projects, we felt that we could never find a handle or knob which would complement the design. We craved something different and thus decided to design our own collection,” says founder Wendy Douglas.

Their handles draw inspiration from near and far. For example, their Inca Knobs nod to the Pre-Columbian empire and come in a male and female design while the Kennedy range oozes sophistication with its brass and timber combination and recalls Titanic style cabinetry and Downton Abbeyesque hardware. Expect a weighty, hand forged feel with an abundance of geometric shapes and honest materials like steel, brass, oak and walnut.


Ranking as one of the most underestimated tools in making a house a home, lighting is a weapon in the style stakes. It can bring moodiness, soulfulness, character and a lived-in feel that’s hard to achieve from other sources. Layering different types of lighting is essential in winning the game. In the kitchen, this means good overhead lighting, statement lighting in the form of pendants or floor lamps and – if you want to dial up the mood even more – table lamps with low kelvins (that’s warm light).

Here in SA, Crema is the source of some of the world’s leading lighting brands with a selection of renowned feature lights worth saving for.

Words: Mila Crewe-Brown
Production: J-P de la Chaumette
Images: Supplied and hero image, featuring kitchen by Cannata, with photography by Adam Letch (as featured here)