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Cas­tor Bay kitchen


Mike Hart­ley, Lloyd Hart­ley Ar­chi­tects


Cas­tor Bay, Auck­land


To cre­ate an open-plan, light-filled liv­ing, din­ing and kitchen area for a young fam­ily. Mike Hart­ley was asked to cre­ate an open­plan, light-filled liv­ing, din­ing and kitchen area, up­grade its flow to an out­door deck, and also cre­ate wel­com­ing ac­cess to the home. All this for clients who are fam­ily, which brought “all the sat­is­fac­tion and drama it pos­si­bly could to the project”, says the ar­chi­tect. De­spite the area’s open-plan na­ture, Hart­ley’s use of steel-grey stone cre­ates an in­ti­mate space that owns its ter­ri­tory in the scheme. It’s stylish yet ro­bust, de­signed to serve the de­mands of fam­ily life with three young chil­dren. How would you de­scribe the de­sign and mood it cre­ates? MIKE HART­LEY Part of the brief was to en­gage with the dense na­tive bush that pop­u­lates the road bank mar­gin of the site, and to pro­vide a res­o­nance with the depth and tones of the bush through ma­te­ri­al­ity in the kitchen. With the view to the bush, the whole area of­fers a feel­ing of peace and re­lax­ation. Talk us through the con­text of the kitchen in the home and how it works in terms of flow and prac­ti­cal­ity. The kitchen was de­signed as a sort of com­mand cen­tre. While pre­par­ing food, it was a must for Brad and Diane to be able to en­gage with the chil­dren in their var­i­ous ar­eas and states of play. By plac­ing the long line of cab­i­netry against the south­ern wall, we were able to dis­guise just how low the ceil­ing gets in this lo­ca­tion (less than two me­tres) while pro­vid­ing a solid, func­tional and com­fort­ing back­drop to the main space. The stone sets the scene – how did it come to be an im­por­tant part of the equa­tion? We re­ally liked the stone right from the out­set; the steely grey with large graphite flecks had the right level of depth and lux­ury. I feel that a stone bench­top in a kitchen like this not only needs to work in with other ma­te­ri­als – in this case the black ply and ex­ist­ing tim­ber floors – but it also needs to work in with the peo­ple oc­cu­py­ing the space. In this case, I knew Diane (my wife Sarah’s twin sis­ter) owned a sil­verys­teel grey dress, so I was pretty con­fi­dent it would be a win­ner. We con­tin­ued the water­fall edge at the end of the bench up the wall to pro­vide con­sis­tency and an en­gag­ing ma­te­rial back­drop. This strat­egy was also used in the cook­top area. What did you use for the cab­i­netry? The cab­i­netry fronts are made from a black high-pres­sure lam­i­nate on birch ply­wood; a ro­bust ma­te­rial. By cham­fer­ing the top edges of the drawer front we cre­ated a dis­creet pull han­dle. The ex­posed ply­wood edges were fin­ished with Osmo oil and we love the way that these golden edges pro­vide depth and re­lief to the panel faces.

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