Generous, heart-of-the-home kitchen opens up to both the living and outdoor areas

Dark cabinetry contrasts with light on this kitchen while the rich tones of brass and walnut accentuate both – this design is all about drama and extensive, if somewhat played down, functionality

​​​​​​​Looking a little like a perfectly balanced abstract architecture, bar stool, cabinetry, countertop, benchtop, floor, flooring, home, house, interior design, kitchen, Darren James, wood veneer, bar stools
​​​​​​​Looking a little like a perfectly balanced abstract painting, this kitchen by designer Darren James features dark wood veneer matched with dark-and light-toned porcelain sheeting. Brass and walnut accents complete the composition.

Retiring from work certainly doesn’t mean retiring from a busy social and family life. In fact, with more time spent on the home front, the emphasis on stand-out look and ergonomic design for your kitchen is actually all the greater.

Setting the scene for this project, the homeowners had bought a large coastal property, with a vision of transforming the mid 90’s-style residence into a home that would be ideal for their retired life, says designer Darren James.

​​​​​​​Decluttering a cluttered existing interior layout has ensured architecture, Kitchen, cabinetry, countertop, benchtop, Island, cupboard, design, floor, flooring, furniture, hardwood, oven, loft, Darren James
​​​​​​​Decluttering a cluttered existing interior layout has ensured this new kitchen – at the heart of the home – has improved connections to the living spaces, deck and views.

“For the kitchen, they wanted a space that would set the tone for the home aesthetically.”

At the same time, the kitchen needed to be functional, hardwearing, large enough to bring the family together and also make the most of the panoramic views over the bay.

“In response, I came up with the concept for a generous, heart-of-the-home cooking space that opened up to both the living and outdoor areas,” says James. 

“To achieve this, we repositioned multiple hallways into the kitchen and ensured a clear view from all living spaces back to the kitchen in the centre of the home.”

Replacing the existing constraining kitchen, the layout of the new kitchen was opened up to a galley style format, featuring a large island with a wooden servery bench and a separate casual dining space alongside.

“To meet the need for a durable kitchen, the wall cabinetry is finished in Navlam Sandblasted Oak,” says James. 

“And the splashback and rear benchtop are in dark Laminam Cava/Blue Stone porcelain sheet while the island benchtop and cabinetry are in pale grey Laminam Calce Grigio.

“The custom powdercoated cabinet handles recede to the eye, while the kitchen’s high-end Miele appliances all but disappear into the dark tones of the oak veneer cabinetry.”

​​​​​​​Apt companions – a counter-weighted lighting fixture shines architecture, bar stool, countertop, design, furniture, kitchen, light fixture, lighting, Darren James, Brass Lighting
​​​​​​​Apt companions – a counter-weighted lighting fixture shines light on this kitchen’s island countertop. The brass elements of the light connect with other brass highlights in the room.

The light and dark finishes are set off by the use of solid walnut for the servery bench, the table top and the shelving above the bench seat, also finished in the same wood. In addition, bi-fold doors conceal a walnut-lined drinks station.

The warm-toned wood is accentuated by concealed lighting and by the casual dining table’s contrasting custom brass table support.

As pleasingly in balance as the kitchen itself, a sculptural, intricate lighting fixture above the island completes the design picture.

Credit list

Daren James, Darren James Design
Laminam Cava / Blue Stone
Vola, from Elite Bathware & Tiles
Cliffstone tile, from Ace Stone & Tile
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Runner up
Perimeter – Navlam Sandblasted Oak; island – Laminam Calce Grigio porcelain sheet
Perimeter – Laminam Cava / Blue Stone; island – Laminam Calce Grigio
Kitchen sink
Oven, cooktop, ventilation
Water dispenser
Sculptural chandelier from Ladies & Gentleman Studio

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Toby Scott

21 Sep, 2019

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