The kitchen is the perfect space to blend beauty and functionality. With a range of versatile options available to create a space that is liveable, gorgeous and, above all, tailored to your lifestyle, a well-planned and executed kitchen can be the pinnacle of interior and home design. Complete Home influencer Kate St James outlines some of her most important design principles and illustrates these with a showcase of some of our favourite Grand Designs Australia and Home Design kitchens
Today’s kitchens really are the centre of our world. When you consider just how much time we spend in them, whether cooking for a family dinner, making breakfast with the kids, serving a cuppa or a glass of bubbles to your guests or helping the kids with their homework at one end while you cook at the other, the kitchen is a hard-working space. They should therefore reflect you and the way you live, as well as being functional, beautiful and durable.
Creating a practical kitchen requires a great deal of thought and planning. Consideration must be given to space planning and workflow to ensure ease of use and safety, before thinking about aesthetics. Getting the right cabinets for storage, appropriate benchtop surfaces, hinges and drawers, lighting, flooring and appliances should all be thoroughly thought through.
There is a huge range of materials, appliances and products available to complete the perfect working and living space for your home. Don’t just go for the same old — be adventurous and explore the options. And when you’re ready to design and build, call in the experts to ensure the job is perfectly planned and expertly crafted.
Your kitchen should reflect the way you and your family live. There’s a tendency for people to do what’s on trend or play it safe, white-on-white, because it’s too hard to do something different. While there’s nothing wrong with white kitchens, yours doesn’t have to be if you want something a little different. Start with a simple injection of colour; this could be in splashback tiles or some cabinets, but it could be so much more.
There’s an almost inexhaustible range of appliances and fittings available, too. To help you find the look and products you love, we’ve put together this bumper feature. With hints and tips from the experts, you’re certain to find a style, products and appliances you’ll love and which will work for you for many years.
The better the quality of your materials, appliances and build, the longer the life of the kitchen. Remember, do it once and do it well. There’s no reason why your kitchen cannot last 20 years or more; a good kitchen can set you back a fair sum, but done well it should last at least that long, if not longer.
1. His ‘n’ hers
Design: StJames Whitting
Photography: Marian Riabic
Designer Catherine Whitting was called in to design this kitchen for a couple who take their cooking seriously. The brief called for a space for each to prepare and cook, separately. The scheme started with the beautiful American marble sourced by the client. Catherine encouraged them to work with the colours in the marble, finding the perfect aubergine for the joinery. Teamed with a crisp white for additional joinery and the Silestone benchtop, along with a beautifully crafted timber table, this kitchen is the perfect example of elegance, originality and quality.
Adjoining rooms are painted with soft, elegant colours and the timber floor adds an extra layer of texture and warmth. Seriously fabulous Gaggenau appliances and simple but chic stainless-steel tap and sink complete this timeless look.
2. Top of the block
The Block contestants Julia and Sasha created this jaw-dropping, sleek and luxurious kitchen, which was a winner with the judges. The stunning contemporary, open space features matt black joinery, black marble island benchtop, white marble benchtops to cooking space and island cabinet. Notable features are the timber rail and ladder, allowing access to high cupboards. Two pyrolytic ovens sit side-by-side, one incorporating added steam, microwave oven, warming drawer, built-in coffee machine and semi-integrated dishwasher. Glass overhead cupboards add a different dimension while downlights provide more illumination. One decorative pendant over the island bench adds mood and style to this kitchen, which is the perfect balance of high-end luxury and practicality.
3. A blaze of glory
Designer: Shaynna Blaze
Photography: Vanessa Hall
The former residence was a lolly factory in a past life and features iconic windows, steel beams and exposed brick — strong bones for a revised interior that would suit the clients and their pet Schnauzer. Designed by Shaynna Blaze, the kitchen required a total update as there was no functionality in the storage or connection to the rest of the space. The streamlined design was broken up with black lines, mirroring the horizontal lines of the original windows. Bronze accents are incorporated into the space through the splashback, adding warmth and a touch of glamour. A feature is the timber bar which runs around the island bench, creating the perfect place for easy meals, breakfasts and casual entertaining.
4. Brilliant by design
Designer: Lynn Malone
Photography: Marian Riabic
Interior designer, Lynn Malone, created this chic, compact kitchen for an inner-city apartment. Joinery is designed to hide almost all the appliances and fixtures, and blend in with bookcases and storage for hi-fi equipment. A central island bench is the only real giveaway that this is indeed a kitchen; even the overhead exhaust fan appears as a funky pendant light. A striking element to this design is the glorious red stripe around the white cabinets, which forms a lift-up cabinet concealing the ovens and coffee maker. Deep drawers house all the accoutrements for preparing and cooking culinary delights, for which the homeowner is renowned. The central island bench doubles as a sitting area where one can read the paper and enjoy a casual meal. A Dekton benchtop, with custom timber shelf and mirror finish to the base, turns this island from a kitchen cabinet into an elegant piece of furniture, perfectly suited to the form and function of this elegant apartment.
5. Good as gold
Design: Sarah Healey Design
Photography: Anna Rees, The English Tapware Company
When designer Sarah Healey and owner-builder Ben Harris decided it was time to replace their outdated kitchen, their industry backgrounds enabled them to create the perfect solution. They designed what they loved and suited their lifestyle — classic and functional with a touch of sophisticated elegance. Features include French oak flooring in a chevron pattern, a Perrin & Rowe satin brass gooseneck mixer tap from The English Tapware Company, brass handles and pendant lights by Ross Gardam, with beautifully crafted joinery in Dulux Oolong. The benchtop and splashback in Smartstone Athena and the underbench Acquello sink from The English Tapware Company complete this luxurious space.
6. Cool and colourful
Design: Luchetti Krelle
Photography: Michael Wee
This home’s extension includes an open-plan kitchen and dining area designed to evoke a laid-back feel that would simultaneously complement the clients’ lifestyle as well as embrace the coastal location. The designers were inspired by clean, natural and colourful living spaces where a bit of family fun could be had. They also knew the clients liked simple Scandinavian design that wasn’t fussy or extravagant. The result is a home that exudes a typical Sydney beach aesthetic without being kitsch. Light timbers and faded pastels are both tranquil and modern. Pops of colour contrast with a traditional Scandinavian palette, making the space feel playful and relaxed. “We wanted to create an ambience where guests feel at home sharing a meal,” says designer Rachel Luchetti.
7. Italian luxe
Design: Diff Studio
Created by two young Ukranian designers, Vitaliy Yurov and Iryna Dzhemesiuk of Diff Studio, the interior of this luxury Italian countryside residence is an exquisite combination of classic and contemporary styling. The chic monochrome kitchen features luxury Valcucine furniture, artistic intarsia-designed parquet flooring and glamorous lighting from Brabbu. While the design is pared back and minimal, the efficiency and amenity provided affords the homeowners the perfect balance between form and function.
8. Metal magic
Design: Festen Architecture, Abimis
Designed for a world-renowned photographer, this kitchen in a Paris loft was designed by Festen Architecture and kitchen firm Abimis. Combining French and Italian sensibilities, the design portrays a contemporary ambience within a historic building. The stainless-steel palette, ergonomic design and integrated storage create a seamless flow between cooking and living spaces. A dining table with stainless-steel top complements the choice of materials. Above the kitchen island, a five-lamp gold pendant contrasts against the silver palette. The large kitchen island anchors the space and provides ample room to prepare and serve meals.
9. Top transformation
Design: Kitchens by Design
For this rebuild within the domain of a beautiful and authentically styled Italian country villa, Shane George for Kitchens by Design devoted a great deal of time to interpreting the client’s brief and transforming it into reality. Frequent entertainers with a penchant for almost semi-commercial cooking extravaganzas, the clients provided a list of appliances which had to fit into the space. They included three refrigerators, four ovens, two dishwashers, two trash compactors, a cooking hob and, of course, a plumbed-in coffee machine. The open, easy flow of the room accommodates multiple cooks and their avid audience, while the rich palette of materials, fixtures and finishes lends a soft, intimate look to the overall character of the kitchen. There’s nothing left to say about the result except — bellissimo!
10. Rich and raw
Design: Designer Kitchens
Proving that family-friendly doesn’t have to be understated, this lush space by Phil O’Brien for Designer Kitchens is equal parts stylish and practical. The eye is instantly drawn to the dramatic island bench, with a mix of marble, timber and stainless steel creating an elegant look with an industrial twist. The combination of such durable materials also makes this kitchen incredibly easy to clean, an essential for the owner’s growing family. The breakfast bar adds a social element to the zone, while the open-plan layout maximises every centimetre of space. The proximity to the outdoor entertaining area cleverly brings the outside in, flooding the room with natural light and creating a sense of airiness and vibrancy. Matt black appliances reaffirm the element of modish sophistication, upstaged only by the design of the tubular Smeg rangehood. Abundant storage was also a major design consideration, with the Polytec cabinetry stylishly hiding all the kitchen essentials.
Edited by Kate St James
Originally in Home Design magazine, Volume 20 Issue 4