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Studio Snell kitchen design trends: Blending functionality with lifestyle

Studio Snell kitchen design trends: Blending functionality with lifestyle


Joe Snell’s insights in Australian Design Review’s Kitchen Trends report offer a glimpse into the future of kitchen design, where versatility and personalisation lead the way in creating spaces that truly reflect the heart of the home.

Joe Snell. Photography: Jacqui Turk

Snell is passionate about creating spaces that are not only beautiful but highly functional. His knack for such designs has won Studio Snell a following among Australia’s A-list, including pop singer Guy Sebastian and his stylist wife, Jules, who worked with Joe on ‘Sebastian House‘ in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. “Joe opened up our world,” enthused Sebastian post-project.

Sebastian Home. Photography: THEPALMCO.COM.AU/

Snell’s charm and expertise have also landed him a co-hosting role on Channel 9’s, Australia’s Best House alongside supermodel Megan Gale, property investor Andrew Purdie and interior design influencer Briellyn Turton. His achievements include a recent IDEA shortlist nomination for his retail fit-out with GS Diamonds in Brisbane and a role as an ambassador for James Hardie.

Shortlisted: IDEA Interior Design Excellence Awards 2023 – Retail category. Photographer: Kristian van der Beek.

Snell joins Australian Design Review from a borrowed office space on the Gold Coast. “I’m at a mate’s studio while my studio is being built,” he explains. “I apologise for the fake greenery; I know biophilia is ‘so hot right now,’ but here I am amongst the fake plastic plants!”

Currently, he is immersed in his latest personal project, ‘The Ute House’, a unique blend of home and workspace located on the cusp of a residential and business zone on the Gold Coast. “I’ve designed a house where we live behind and above the office,” Snell says. “So I’m truly merging this concept of home and work. Hence I’ve called it The Ute House.”

Like a mullet hairstyle, the architectural project is all about business at the front and a party at the back.

PALA Residence. Photographer: Kristian van der Beek

The multifunctional heart of the home

Snell observes that it’s not just his own home becoming a multifunctional space; it’s a significant trend among his clients. With the kitchen as the home’s nucleus, ensuring it meets everyone’s needs is crucial. “The primary trend in home design relates to the significant changes brought by COVID-19,” Snell says. “This shift affects how we design homes, particularly kitchens, which must now accommodate both relaxation and work. I typically design kitchens with an open plan that combines the kitchen, dining and living areas.”. This philosophy reflects the kitchen’s evolution from a mere meal prep area to a central, versatile gathering spot.

House For An Interior Designer. Photography: Simon Whitbread

Embracing the outdoors

Snell also touches on the trend of integrating indoor and outdoor kitchen spaces. “What used to be barbecue areas are now outdoor kitchens,” he says. “I find ‘barbecue’ a bit outdated, so I always replace it with ‘outdoor kitchen’ in my plans. This shifts the perception that these spaces are an integral part of the home.”

PALA Residence. Photography: Kristian van der Beek

“In many of my projects, I connect the indoor kitchen directly with the outdoor kitchen, creating a unified wall. I’ve had a lot of fun with this concept, using materials like James Hardie’s Axon, which has a vertical pattern, both inside and outside.

“I refer to this integrated feature as the ‘service wall,’ accommodating all the essentials for a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living, especially suitable for Queensland and NSW’s climate,” Snell says.

“If you’ve ever had an outdoor kitchen far from the main kitchen, you know the hassle of carrying items back and forth. That’s why I always include fridges in outdoor kitchens—to ease preparation. Linking the two kitchens simplifies logistics considerably.”

PALA Residence: Photography: Kristian van der Beek

Some clients still prefer a distinct, separate space, perhaps by the garden or across the pool. However, as lives get busier and efficiency becomes crucial, more people opt for a blended indoor-outdoor setup.

Through his exploration of current trends and project highlights, Snell paints a vivid picture of the kitchen’s evolving role in the modern home.

As these spaces adapt to our changing lifestyles, the emphasis on functionality, aesthetics, and the blending of indoor and outdoor environments remains paramount.

Check out a counterpoint to bold maximalism with Smart Designs contemporary minimalist kitchen


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