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All the right ingredients

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While one end of this colourful kitchen caters to the cooks in the family, the other end provides an informal seating area and a multifunctional work top

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For most families today, the kitchen remains the centre of activity in the home. As such, it has to meet the needs of the cook while also catering to the social needs of the family. And it has to achieve all this with maximum style and functionality.

For the owners of the kitchen featured on these pages, a clean, modern look was a requirement, says designer Matthew Rao. The materials as well as the furniture needed to be functional and reflect a contemporary, open design approach.

Working closely with owner and interior designer Carol Bernstein, Rao concentrated the food preparation and cooking areas at one end of a long island. The other end of the island is cantilevered and can be used as a seating or multifunctional work area.

"Having an open end to the island helps to scale down its mass," Rao says. "In addition, to visually break up the long room we chose not to wrap all the walls in cabinetry. We also varied the look of the fittings, combining dark Nubian Brown oak doors and drawers with Grey Structure laminate and frosted glass. The glass cabinets are also built into the wall to enhance the streamlined look."

Aluminium detailing provides visual continuity, featuring on the edge of the granite benchtops and door and drawer pulls. It is also used to frame the frosted glass cabinetry and for the legs on the island and separate butcher's block. In addition, the chairs at the end of the island are aluminium.


As the owner likes to cook and entertain, two ovens and a large, 120cm gas hob were positioned on the end wall.

The owner says the butcher's block has proved to be an indispensable work surface. Its proximity to the refrigerator, pantry, cooktop and both sinks – one on the island and one on the side wall – makes it the centre of a very convenient work triangle. Two integrated freezer drawers next to one of the ovens are also within easy reach.

To enhance the horizontal lines of the kitchen, two cabinets were added to the wall on either side of the large window. These feature the SieMatic fold-lift doors, allowing easy access to storage. Other SieMatic detailing includes tailored wood inserts in cutlery drawers, 120cm-wide pot drawers and two pull-out rubbish bins.

The addition of a bright green colour on the walls keeps the kitchen bright, cheerful and welcoming, says Bernstein.

"We didn't want it to be cold and boring," she says. "We wanted to create a happy environment, and the colour and art work help to make it so."

First published date: 23 February 2004

Credit List

Kitchen designer Matthew D Rao CKD, Rao Design Studio (Georgia, USA)
Interior designer Carol Bernstein
Builder Province Properties
Kitchen manufacturer SieMatic Corporation
Cabinets Atlanta doors in Nubian Brown oak and Scio doors in Structure Grey laminate
Benchtops Azul Platino granite and maple chopping block
Flooring Limestone from Walker Zanger
Bar stools Eneco by Philippe Starck from Retromodern
Table Ash Oval by Ligne Roset
Chairs Noave by Donghia
Lighting Translite from C Lighting above island, Arc lamps from Hera Lighting USA and Egg from Itra (C Lighting) over table
Splashback Grey Structure laminate and stainless steel from SieMatic
Taps Supremo from KWC
Oven Gaggenau
Hobs and microwave Dacor
Ventilation and dishwasher Miele
Refrigeration Sub-Zero
Waste disposal In-Sink-Erator