All shipshape

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With its galley layout, highly engineered finishes and terrazzo floor, the kitchen in this waterfront house has a strong connection to the marine environment
A view of this kitchen featuring polished concrete architecture, ceiling, countertop, interior design, kitchen, room, gray, brown
A view of this kitchen featuring polished concrete Terrazzo flooring, stainless steel kitchen appliances/ benchtops, marble benchtop, satin stainless steel cabinetry

Beachfront houses can be a little predictable when it comes to interior design possibly because they are often holiday homes. Watery, beach-themed interiors seem endemic. But, as this project shows, a city house on the waterfront can handle a far more sophisticated approach.

Architect Allan Powell says the interior, particularly the kitchen, has a more industrial influence, with elements of marine engineering to the fore.

"I wanted to bring an engineered, ship-like quality to the kitchen," he says. "But at the same time, I was influenced by the sense of leftover, time-worn objects not just the flotsam on a beach, but also the discarded hulks of old ships. The house, for example, is a raw concrete shell, with the walls and floor all made from the same material, much like the skeletal hulk of an abandoned ship."


A view of this kitchen featuring polished concrete architecture, interior design, black, gray
A view of this kitchen featuring polished concrete Terrazzo flooring, stainless steel kitchen appliances/ benchtops, marble benchtop, satin stainless steel cabinetry

The material palette within the kitchen reflects this influence. A terrazzo-finished concrete floor has a distinct beach feel, while grey, sand-blasted walls also have a natural, weathered look. Satin stainless steel cabinets, splashbacks and benchtops are reminiscent of ship fit-outs. The galley shape of the room, with its extra-long island, is another reference.

"The kitchen is central to all the activities in the house," says Powell. "With windows at one end looking out to a pond, and the other end overlooking a swimming pool, the kitchen is almost like a floating raft. From the sink, it is also possible to look directly out to sea, which provides a further sense of connection with the marine environment."

Interior designer Andrea Mancuso says other surfaces in keeping with this theme include the expansive, marbled benchtop on the island, which ends in a waterfall side at each end. One side of the island appears to extend beyond a pillar, further elongating the visual effect. Mancuso says this end of the island provides an area to serve drinks, and can be closed off from the kitchen.

A view of this kitchen featuring polished concrete architecture, ceiling, countertop, interior design, kitchen, room, gray, brown
A view of this kitchen featuring polished concrete Terrazzo flooring, stainless steel kitchen appliances/ benchtops, marble benchtop, satin stainless steel cabinetry

To maintain a clean, uncluttered look, Powell has provided plenty of storage. The refrigerator is hidden from sight, tucked behind the pillar-style wall towards one end of the island.

"Where possible, I have tried to disguise the more functional aspects of the kitchen, and just have the more glamorous elements on show," says Powell. "I like to dislocate the function from the form the big marble slab, for example, is an architectural feature in its own right."

A long bulkhead further emphasises the kitchen's horizontal axis, and conceals ducting and other services.

Aug 24, 2007

Credit list

Interior designers
Andrea Mancuso, Allan Powell; in collaboration with Jacqui Johnson, Bates Smart
Wall surfaces
Polished plaster from Bishop Coatings
Home automation system
Crestron by Cableman
Benchtops
Satin stainless steel by Howard Cook; Statuario marble from Miramar Stonemasons
Sinks and tapware
RogerSeller
Ventilation
Qasair
Bar stools
Gordon Mather Industries
Kitchen manufacturer
Howard Cook
Flooring
Polished Concrete with a terrazzo finish from Meridian Concrete
Cabinetry
Satin stainless steel and painted doors by Howard Cook
Splashback
Satin stainless steel by Howard Cook
Oven, hobs and dishwasher
Gaggenau
Refrigeration
Jenn-Air
Lamp
Philippe Starck
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