Cook­ing up a clean de­sign

The only way is up for this new kitchen, writes Cather­ine Nikas-Bou­los

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - MAKEOVER - Pic­tures Prue Rus­coe Styling Lucy McCabe

This sin­gle-front Vic­to­rian cot­tage in Waver­ley had un­der­gone sev­eral ren­o­va­tions in its life, but a dated 1990s kitchen was prob­a­bly the worst of­fender.

Not only did it not marry up to the rest of the house in terms of her­itage fea­tures, but it was dark and awk­ward in its de­sign.

Can­tilever In­te­ri­ors’ Travis Dean was tasked with ren­o­vat­ing the kitchen to max­imise space and light. His first job was work­ing out what to do with the awk­ward bulk­head run­ning across the ceil­ing.

“It was a real dog’s break­fast,” he says. “Es­sen­tially, be­hind the fridge is a stair­case to the sec­ond level that was cut awk­wardly and plas­tered over in­side the kitchen space.” Travis says the de­sign is typ­i­cal of its time. “In the ’90s, this type of work was of­ten done by a drafts­man and not a sin­gle layer of de­sign was thought through,” he says. “Things just worked around struc­tural el­e­ments and done in way that was eco­nom­i­cal.

“So we had to rein­ter­pret the space and make it look like it was meant to be that way.”

Mood booster

The owner was a new mum who felt the drab colour and de­sign of the kitchen did noth­ing to boost the mood of the house. Hav­ing spent a big chunk of time at home with a baby gave her the nudge she needed for a do-over.

“The idea was to get in there and dis­guise this hor­ri­ble stair­case that was pro­ject­ing into the kitchen space,” he says.

First up, Travis re­moved the dark tim­ber framed win­dow above the sink and put in a splashback win­dow. He added one more win­dow above the over­heads to draw even more light through the kitchen.

Travis and his team looked at var­i­ous lay­out op­tions for the kitchen, but de­cided the U-shape that was al­ready there worked best.

The kitchen was also in dire need of a pantry, which had spilled into the hall­way. A new pantry was in­stalled next to the fridge, where the stove­top once sat. The stove­top moved to where the sink once was, and the sink has re­lo­cated on to the benchtop.

Fi­nally, the un­sightly bulk­head was cov­ered in plaster­board.

Hang­ing a clus­ter of pen­dant lights above the break­fast bar dis­tracted the eye from the squared off bulk­head.

Hand­ing it back

This project was very much a col­lab­o­ra­tion, with the owner quite spe­cific about how she wanted to use her kitchen.

Other than hid­ing the bulk­head, she wanted seat­ing at the break­fast bar.

Travis put in open shelv­ing around the cab­i­netry to al­low his client more scope to per­son­alise her kitchen.

“This is specif­i­cally done so the client can add her own touches to the kitchen,” he says.

“That’s some­thing we are wary of in terms of re­sale as well. Some­one else can walk into this kitchen and put their own spin on it.”

Shelv­ing is made of hoop pine ply­wood and the benchtop is re­con­sti­tuted stone.

The de­sign process did take some time as the ar­chi­tect is based in Mel­bourne, but the on-site build took about eight weeks.

Travis is pleased with the re­sult, as is the owner who now has a modern, sun-soaked kitchen — mi­nus a glar­ing bulk­head.

“It’s nice to have the sink ori­en­tated to­wards the back of the house so she can see where the kids are. That’s some­thing that comes up a bit when de­sign­ing for fam­i­lies with young kids,” he says.

The kitchen wall is tiled, and while this is usu­ally some­thing Travis rec­om­mends clients or­gan­ise them­selves so they can in­ject their own per­son­al­ity into the kitchen, he was on­board with what the owner did in this home.

“I am gen­er­ally on the same page with my clients, but it’s al­ways nice to see what they come up with. In Aus­tralia, peo­ple in­her­ently want to be in­volved. It’s not a case of, ‘No, you do it all’. It’s a more en­gaged process.”

The stream­lined kitchen in­cludes open ply­wood shelv­ing and blown glass pen­dant lights to add warmth. White join­ery helps stor­age blend into the wall above.

The stair­case and dark cab­i­netry used to dom­i­nate the old kitchen.

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