Our clients Helen and Peter have a terrific 1920’s home, with a really dysfunctional kitchen. It was small, with nowhere for others to join the cook, and felt isolated from the rest of the house – even though it was physically in the centre of it. The corridor outside of the kitchen that lead to the extension was enormous. It was wasted space, really generous where it shouldn’t have been. We shifted the wall across a metre – which created a useful space in the rear of the kitchen and minimised the corridor without it feeling cramped.
The clients were keen to maintain the kitchen as a separate space, but to strengthen its connections to the rest of the house and critically – the resulting kitchen needed to work. Once the overall space was resolved we mapped-in the work zones and storage areas within the kitchen layout. Then we got down to details, working out what went in every drawer, and making sure it fitted like a glove. We measured favourite sauce brands that where to stand in drawers beside the stove – and made sure they fit perfectly without wasting space – every drawer was totally considered down to the millimetre. Helen and Peter were able to set up the new kitchen with our drawings acting like a map – they knew why that drawer was there and every item it should hold, as it had already been collaboratively discussed.
As the space was tight it pushed the design to solve a variety of issues. The pantry area was a tight space which was made functional via various storage solutions. The area combines drawers, tall sliding doors, flip up parallel and tilted overheads and flaps that pulled down. This combination of different ways you open and close the drawers/cupboards ensured every spec of the space was used and easily accessible.
The island bench top is made from durable resin, and its bold confident colour served as a starting point for the wallpaper selection at the end of the pantry area. We knew we needed wallpaper or similar there to act as a punctuation point – a full stop to the kitchen. Helen found the perfect bold wallpaper by a Berlin designer and it ties the elements together perfectly.
The best thing about the job is that its strong, a bold and gutsy blend of materials. The clients were brave, involved, enthusiastic and trusted us. Even though it’s white, it’s not a safe kitchen. The result is a controlled and complimentary material palette. Stainless steel was used on the remainder of the bench-tops, fine Birch plywood and gloss white laminate on the drawers, and white structured tiles on the splashback continue onto the scattered geometry of the wallpaper.
Photography by Craig Arnold