We decided after 10 years of living in our home that it was time to create our dream kitchen. We contacted Russell because his history of award winning kitchens gave us the belief that we would get something special.
When we first built the house we just wanted a practical kitchen to prepare meals for our new family and didn’t really put a lot of thought or money into it. Fast forward 10 years and now that we have a better understanding of how we live and entertain as a family we were ready to invest into the most underutilised space in the house that we believe will be our forever home.
The design stage ended up being quite a long process due to us wanting to get it right and arriving at the showroom with a very long wish list. Russell was ever patient with us as we deliberated over ideas, made a trip to the Sydney Home Show to take a closer look at certain products, and did a lot of our own research. During this process Russell suggested a couple of different design ideas and products to use which we were very negative about to start with but now they are actuavlly some of the favourite things in our kitchen! These include the photo splashback, the Bora cooking equipment and the acrylic benchtops.
Once Russell’s tradesmen turned up at the door the whole job just moved at a great pace as they worked efficiently and consistently. From Russell’s staff to the trade sub-contractors he used, they were always respectful of being in our family home and nothing was ever too much trouble. It is crazy to think how changing one room can make such a difference to your life but our new kitchen is a joy to be in and we are finding we are cooking even more and even the most banal kitchen tasks are a pleasure.
When I was commissioned to design this kitchen and I visited the house, which is set in a stunning piece of tropical paradise in the foothills of Cairns, I realised that there wasn’t actually too much wrong with the existing kitchen. It was dated, had vinyl wrap doors, it had a big walk-in pantry which was an inefficient use of space, and a free-standing upright stove facing the wall, so it would have been considered a very standard type of kitchen for its day.
I could see the potential to enhance the clients’ lifestyle, to be more social and family orientated. My suggestions to the clients were to get away from the old fashioned “facing the wall while you cook” situation, and experiment with the idea of having the cooking zone, and introduce a prep sink in the island bench. This configuration would allow sociability and interaction with family during meal preparation and cooking. This then allowed us to think outside the box and have the main cleaning zone against the wall, because let’s face it, who washes up these days anyway?? We created the “L” shape which incorporated two massive family sized fridges, a pantry with 650nm deep slide out drawers, a wall-oven tower and then an appliance cabinet tucked into the corner.
The back wall of the kitchen is feature-packed with a glass splashback containing an image of an area that both the clients grew up in, the photograph has special meaning to both of them. This is a wonderful way of bringing a real feeling of connection to their past, every time they use the kitchen area. There are overhead cupboards above the art-work which are a motorised lift-up Aventos system, where they are push activated and then a button is pressed to retrieve.
The island bench in this kitchen is, without a doubt, the main feature. It is a “T” shape that has multiple things going on. For cooking you have a choice of the BORA range of products, including a Teppan Yaki bar, a down-draft extraction system, and a full zone induction cooktop. Behind this is a secret panel with a motorised lifting mechanism to reveal a TV concealed within the bench, allowing the client to watch the news while cooking. This also revolves to face the table area so programs can be viewed while enjoying their meal. On opposite ends of the “T” are a bar fridge, and an oven, utilising every possible space.
The table area on its own is totally unique. The bench-top is a brand new product called Ciment which gives a very organic, honed concrete finish. The timber panels cladding the table support structure are made from recycled boats, and give this kitchen an authentic mix of modern, rustic and industrial materials. The main bench-tops are made from an acrylic Himacs material chosen because of its hygienic seamless construction properties.
In conclusion this space has been transformed to better suit the clients’ family and social life. It works successfully in conjunction with the outdoor areas, and has improved their lifestyle.