Material link

Shelves help to unify this kitchen and open-plan living area, making a small utility area feel more spacious

A view of the kitchen and living area, floor, flooring, hardwood, home, interior design, living room, room, wood, brown, orange
A view of the kitchen and living area, wooden flooring and cabinetry, large rug, pendulum and spot lights, stone benchtops, many accessories, wooden coffee table and side tables, sofa, black cooktop, splashback, stainless steel oven, frdige, faucetry and sink.

A kitchen does not need to have a large floor area to be practical and functional. Instead, clever storage options and interesting materials will have a huge impact on the efficiency and convenience of the space.

This was very much the case in this small kitchen, designed by Jay Serrao of Serrao Design/Architecture. The owners of the house felt it was time to upgrade, but there was no room for expansion, therefore the new kitchen had to go back into exactly the same space.

"The size wasn't of concern to the owners. They were more interested in creating a modern space with some playfulness in its composition," says Serrao.

"We achieved this with the use of colour and interesting materials, and by varying the combination of cabinetry and shelving around the space. Closed cupboards are more practical, but shelves are visually more interesting and make the space feel larger," he says.

A view of a kitchen, wooden flooring and cabinetry, countertop, floor, flooring, hardwood, interior design, kitchen, room, wood, wood flooring, brown, orange
A view of a kitchen, wooden flooring and cabinetry, stone benchtops, many accessories, pendulum and spot lights, stainless steel fridge.

The kitchen is completely open to the adjacent living area, so shelving also provides a visual link.

"Because the kitchen is so small in size, rather than having designated areas for various functions, we have tried to blend the space, so the whole living area becomes one. This makes the kitchen feel bigger and more engaging," says Serrao.

To maximise storage, drawers with hidden handles are concealed in the kickboards, and a flip-up work bench between the island and main bench creates more usable space when needed. Alternatively it can be folded down out of the way to make movement through the kitchen easier. Shelves on the end of the island provide display spaces for the owners' collection of objets d'art.

Serrao says creating an environmentally sensitive kitchen was just as important as function for the owners.

A view of the kitchen area from the bookcase, cabinetry, floor, flooring, furniture, hardwood, interior design, kitchen, shelf, shelving, wood, wood flooring, orange, brown
A view of the kitchen area from the stairway, wooden flooring and steps, wire railing, pendulum and spot lights, wooden cabinetry, stone benchtops, many accessories, stainless steel oven, living area beyond.

"Renovating appeals because you work with something that already exists. Then, to build the kitchen, we chose sustainable materials, such as milled bamboo plywood. This was laminated in layers for the cap on the stair rail, the flip-up work bench and the shelf on the top of the island."

Cabinetry is finished in a veneer of white fir, also a sustainable forestry resource, and left natural or dyed. To introduce the note of playfulness requested by the owners, cabinets are in a mix of clear, red, orange and yellow finishes; benchtops and splashback are in yellow recomposed stone; and lights over the island are also yellow.

Credit list

Benchtops and splashback
Yellow Eurostone
Door hardware
Schlage in brushed stainless steel
Cooktop, ventilation
Waste unit
Vertical grain white fir veneer laid up on Medite II
Blanco stainless steel
Oven, dishwasher

Story by: Trendsideas

29 Jul, 2006