How to achieve the perfect handleless kitchen
8th September 2016
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Contemporary kitchens are one of the most popular styles for homes at this time. With the new build and renovation markets booming, a cutting edge, sleek, handleless kitchen is the icing on the cake that makes a truly stylish home.


Did you know there’s more than meets the eye to a genuinely handleless kitchen? Many kitchen units that claim to be handleless are in actual fact, a slightly modified version of a regular kitchen unit with hidden handles. Not that this is a bad thing, these handleless look kitchens allow the design element, but reduces the cost – as long as it does reduce the cost that is...

The handleless look

A flat fronted kitchen unit with a routed groove along the top edge of drawers, or down the opening edge of cupboards that forms a ‘J’ shaped recess for your fingers, is not a truly handleless kitchen. The closers are still soft and the mechanism still smooth and silent, but here ends the similarity.

Often the space for fingers is too small when it comes to integrated appliances, and is inadequate in allowing your fingers to get a purchase strong enough to break the seal typically on a fridge or freezer.

Some styles of ‘handleless’ kitchen are manufactured using an electric motor system, that you push to open and gets powered out or in. This is not great if you have a family; accidental opening, surprise openings at toddlers head height and the 4-5mm gap can create a risk of finger trapping.

Others use a electric paddle based system at the rear of the drawer which assist the drawer opening when pushed but are less aggressive in the opening action, these are now more widely used in manufacturing and allow the drawer to be fitted with the soft closure system. This type of design requires no off set rail system and has a truly handle-less look.

The most common approach to handle-less design entails some ingenious design and engineering

To achieve a handle-less kitchen an engineered rail is routed into the base cabinet. The line and shape of the doors is then left without the need for any handle, thereby achieving that ultimate sleek look.

The Blum Tip-On system is widely used for unit doors so that they can be pushed to open, however this does in many cases mean you can’t have the soft closure system many people like and this is why the offset rail system mentioned above is generally more popular.

Appliance manufacturers have recognised the need to have appliances that compliment this type of design and for the truly handless look, SMEG and Miele have produced dishwashers that you can either push to open or simply knock on!

J&S House of Design work closely with leading manufacturers because of the precision engineering and equipment they offer. If you want soft close, push to open or even the seemingly magical ‘knock knock’ opening, we can provide it.

Handleless kitchen appliances

The difficult areas for designing handleless doors is with appliances, though the industry has come up with some seriously clever designs to tackle this:

SMEG has a push based opening mechanism for their dishwashers whilst Miele innovated the ‘knock knock’ system, where, yes you guessed it, you knock and it opens – brilliant for integrated appliances!

In March this year, Tip-On devised a soft close system that is activated on the runner itself, eliminating the need for the electric paddle system, it releases and pushes drawers forward and allows soft closure, achieving that truly handless look at a lower cost than before.

And Blum has also developed a most ingenious piston and magnet system that acts on the closing mechanism, which when attached to the carcass allows handleless use of dishwashers, fridges and freezers to be opened by simply applying a push on the door…

It’s so different from the norm that many kitchen fitters really aren’t sure what to do with it! Whilst fascinating, this new technology is all about learning to live differently; more easily and with a little more comfort.

There are ways to adapt the basic application of the handleless designs, for example tall appliances and cupboards may be more suited to vertical recesses when applying the handleless look kitchens, whilst the push and release designs in true handleless fashion need no adaptation. With these ways no matter how tall or short you are, you will always be able to comfortably access your cupboard or fridge-freezer.

Unique handleless kitchens by J&S House of Design

Every one of our kitchen designs is unique, they always will be regardless of the number of handles! And with this German precision engineering now readily available, more and more of our clients are seeing the benefits of this lustrous style. Designing kitchens for kitchen users is our passion, and finding and making use of the best technology and most cutting edge design is our joy.

For assistance in choosing your perfect kitchen, including a 3D rendered vision of what could be achieved, get in touch on 01865 596768, or visit us at our showroom in Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, or at the Potton House at Swindon’s National Self Build and Renovation Centre.


About the Author

Helen I

Member since: 10th July 2012

I love Abingdon and am passionate about promoting the businesses and events that are centred there. I want everyone to realise how great they are and how we should all be using them!

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