Hidden jewel

Concealed from view atop a commercial building, this apartment is well set up for entertaining, with the kitchen the centre of the action
view of the kitchen featuring darkwood veneer wall, apartment, ceiling, estate, floor, interior design, real estate, gray
view of the kitchen featuring darkwood veneer wall, timber flooring, glaass cabinets, stainless steel sink/ taps kitchen appliances

Apartments pose plenty of restrictions when it comes to refurbishing an interior. The building envelope and the position of key services cannot be changed. Space constrictions can also mean compromises are made. But even with such restrictions, it is still possible to update an apartment to better reflect the lifestyle of the owners, as this project illustrates.

Kitchen designer Leon House says that although new, the apartment's decor did not reflect the owners' tastes. Peach-toned kitchen cabinetry and apricot terracotta floor tiles did not impart the contemporary sophistication they were looking for. There was also a problem with the entrance to the apartment, which opened directly into the kitchen with a view straight through to the main living area.

"While we couldn't move the entrance, we could make changes to create the sense of a small lobby," House says. "We clad the doors and the full-height wall at the end of the cabinetry with a dark chocolate-stained ash veneer and introduced a graphic glass panel to screen off the living area. The same dark timber veneer also features around pillars and walls beside the entrance, creating a small, warm and inviting space that sets the tone for the rest of the interior and the kitchen."

As the entrance leads into the kitchen, House also designed a landing spot at the end of the long island a raised benchtop in Mink CaesarStone with a matching waterfall drop side.


view of the outdoor entertainment area featuring cane architecture, daylighting, furniture, interior design, living room, table, window, black
view of the outdoor entertainment area featuring cane couches,drinks table

"This is a high, oversize piece of furniture, which differentiates it from the rest of the island and the kitchen," he says. "It also anchors the space and is a place to drop bags when you first enter the house."

The kitchen continues the contemporary, linear theme, and features a subtle mix of materials. On the casual seating side of the island, solid, dark chocolate-stained ash benchtop provides a surface that is warm to the touch. The business side of the island has a stainless steel benchtop which incorporates Gaggenau modular cooktops, and a customised tray for storing utensils, chopping boards, a tissue box and oil bottles.

"This deep tray drains away water and also prevents oil spills clinging to the bottom of the bottles," says House. "One of the secrets to a successful kitchen is having a place for everything, with items stored right where they're used."

A second, deep sink on a white CaesarStone benchtop accommodates large dishes and pots. The depth of the sink also allows pots and pans to be kept out of sight when entertaining, maintaining the sleek uncluttered look.

view of the wine cellar featuring dark wood floor, flooring, furniture, hardwood, interior design, light, lighting, table, wood, wood flooring, black, orange
view of the wine cellar featuring dark wood veneer shelving, white caeserstone benchtop

Cabinetry features two distinct styles. Drawers and doors on the island and beneath the large sink are lacquered in a mocha shade, while the wall units feature white, back-painted glass cabinets that conceal a wealth of storage options. As well as an integrated refrigerator to the right of the wall oven, there are slide-out pantry drawers, and cupboards concealing drawers within drawers.

The sleek, sophisticated look imparted by the combination of green glass and dark wood veneer is further emphasised by sliding glass doors along the rear wall. The doors open to reveal dark wood veneer shelving, decorated with rows of glassware and liqueur bottles.

"The kitchen decor doesn't just end with this space," says House. "We wanted to continue the story through the apartment. For this reason, a galley-style passage with additional kitchen facilities leads to a wine cellar lined with the same dark wood veneer."

The adjacent living area also has visual links to the kitchen, with a freestanding mocha half-wall accommodating audiovisual equipment.

Jul 29, 2006

Credit list

Interior design
Leon House and owners
Window and door hardware
BGC
Benchtops
CaesarStone; timber; stainless steel
Paints
Dulux
Sink
Abey
Oven, cooktop and ventilation
Gaggenau
Dishwasher
AEG
Kitchen manufacturer
Fergusons
Cabinetry
Paint; glass; timber veneer
Flooring
Oak by Harold T
Splashback
Colourback glass
Taps
Gessi
Refrigeration
Whirlpool
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