THE MasterChef juggernaut has seen people casting a critical eye over their kitchens like never before, according to kitchen designer Jayme-lee Cooney.
Ms Cooney, a cabinet maker and director of OBeachy Designs, left school at 15 and was the only girl of 80 students in her Box Hill Tafe course.
Launching her Ringwood business five years ago aged 21, Ms Cooney said people wanted bigger, more comfortable and relaxed kitchens.
She said shows such as MasterChef and My Restaurant Rules had been a huge influence.
"It's not that people are asking for grand or commercial-style kitchens," she said.
"But there is definitely a move to wanting space for serious cooking and for family and friends to be able to gather in the kitchen area, as opposed to a separated family area."
She described it as a throwback to the 1950s and 1960s when everyone sat together around a kitchen table.
"Clients come with a list of 'to dos'. It might be that they like to sit around reading a paper on Saturday morning, have kids over after school or friends around on a Saturday night," she said.
Ms Cooney is an ambassador for 'Wood, Naturally Better', a campaign promoting the use of sustainable wood products.
She is also a focus of campaigns getting women into trades.
The National Association of Women in Construction estimates about 13 per cent of women work in construction, but most are in administration.
"I have been in the trade for 11 years and been in the business for nearly six and I would like to see more women getting into trades," Ms Cooney said.
Her business is named after a lightweight wood called obeachy.
She said early in her career she made some surfboards from obeachy which was lighter and more cost effective than balsa wood.
Tips for getting the kitchen you want
* Keep a file of magazine clippings of things that you love.
* Visit showrooms.
* Look at trends online.
* List everything that needs storage so your designer can accommodate them.
* Think about where you want to put the tea towels and dog bowls.
* Do your design before you do your budget - a good designer can adjust materials and fittings to meet your budget.
- From: Herald Sun
- September 10, 2010