The original layout was tired, outdated and cramped, with low ceiling beams not helping – however, a negative was turned to a resounding positive in this now open and airy kitchen

Designed by Darren Genner, Minosa

From the designer:


Who knew this modest southern Sydney suburban home was inhabited by two funky design conscious empty nesters? 

Upon entry, the house revealed an amazing split-level design, with the kitchen/lounge space situated on the lower level that felt subterranean and cocooned into the gully on which the house rested.

Bring nature in, create drama and 'we are not doing this again!' were the key takeaways. 

The space had to cater to the owners' expanding family and grandchildren. 

Plus, the couple both loved to cook and entertain and the kitchen had to be stylish, quality driven, functional and feel like it had always been there.

The original layout was tired, outdated and cramped –  it felt dark and claustrophobic – and the ceiling height was concerning, with three steel beams sitting low & running the length of the room.  

This existing situation had the designers scratching their head! 

The space needed to open up.   


Non-load bearing walls were removed and a spectacular space emerged – a great open plan space for the kitchen, dining and living but also brought the garden indoors.

A masterstroke by the designer was to emphasise the ceiling beams. 

Plywood arches with LED strip up lighting were installed in-between.  

By highlighting the arches & reflecting the light, a design feature prevailed – the illusion of height. 

A single large downlight centralised over the island was all the other lighting required.

Tall storage sits along the rear wall while an L shape kitchen design runs adjacent, including a small round island.  

Opposite sits the lounge, ideally situated for the chef to converse with visitors while prepping. 

The dining and new informal sitting areas take up the remainder of the area. 

The view is uninterrupted as the furniture is set low, with the garden visible from every angle.

The owners’ request for drama was conveyed via a dark moody palette.  

Dark timber doors, Black Dekton benchtops and the most amazing organic black leathered marble splashback all feature.  

Fittings were all selected in black and nestled into the design with the dark aesthetic also playing off and highlighting the greenery outside.

Great spaces materialise when design decisions are a direct response to the sites’ problems and the homeowners' needs. 

The innovative design solutions here have created an individual space where the owners feel completely at peace.

Key points

  • Take the poorly laid out rooms and make then highly functional
  • Multi-functional
  • Three children all grown up return home regularly with partners & grand children
  • Up to 15 people sharing the space when entertaining
  • A timeless, organic and eclectic design

Credit list

Farmers doors & New Age veneer
LED Lighting and Inlite
Kitchen sink
Fisher & Paykel
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Highly Commended
Simona Castagna, Minosa
Wine fridge

Designed by: Darren Genner, Minosa

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Sirus

27 Mar, 2022

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