Dark and handsome

Desigend by Lara Farmilo, Poggenpohl Studio, this high-functioning kitchen combines minimalist charm with character connections to the home

Designed by Lara Farmilo, Poggenpohl Studio

When a homeowner says to a designer: ‘we have loved the kitchen you designed for us ten years ago, so please wow us again,’ then that is an exciting challenge.

These particular clients were building a new older-style home in a predominantly traditional neighbourhood. 

They requested a modern, efficient kitchen, laundry, scullery and wine cellar, but using natural materials.

The whole space is defined by the dark-stained oak panelling, which is a nod to the late 19C houses that are common in the area and that are similar in style to this new house.

In the main kitchen/living room, this cabinetry was maximised in height to accentuate the three metre-high ceilings. 

The back wall of the kitchen was designed asymmetrically, with an open shelf drawing the eye towards the outdoors and its alfresco barbecue kitchen and the swimming pool. 

The rangehood and refrigeration are integrated along this wall while the only visible appliances are the oven and steam oven, which have a complementary black finish.

In contrast, the Fusion granite benchtops turn seamlessly up the wall as a splashback, creating a beautiful natural, organic backdrop. 

The play between the vertical-grained veneer and the horizontally grained granite provides interest in itself.

The island is also finished in the dark-oak veneer. 

Again, it has a Fusion granite top, but here this is offset by a raised, solid-timber table top for casual chat, drinks and snacks. 

The island conceals the room’s air-conditioning outlets through a hidden matte black grilled plinth.

There are no handles on the cabinetry, which completes the minimalist look.

In a ‘more than meets the eye’ subterfuge, one of the dark-oak panels swings inward, giving access to the scullery and wine cellar – offering additional storage, sink and a second dishwasher, all kept out of sight and out of mind.

The laundry is finished in matte black with a Nero Assoluto granite benchtop. 

It is dark, but the integrated LED lighting makes it into a very special room in the house. 

There is also a kitchenette downstairs to service the downstairs bedroom and lounge.

The owners are over the moon with the result. 

The man of the house has found a love of cooking that he did not know he had, and he maintains that he does more than half of the cooking for himself, his wife and their two grown-up (still living at home) children. 

We are not sure if his wife agrees with that comment, but she is happy that he’s happy.

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