Modern mode

A period house doesn't guarantee the interior will be a museum piece the latest technology is right at home in this renovated kitchen
Story by: Lori Nims
View of a modern kitchen in a classical cabinetry, ceiling, countertop, cuisine classique, floor, flooring, furniture, hardwood, interior design, kitchen, laminate flooring, room, table, wood flooring, gray
View of a modern kitchen in a classical house which features a large marble island with overhead cabinetry that has glass panels, other lacquered perimeter cabinets, timber flooring, appliances, lighting, bar stools, sinks and tapware.

Renovating a 130-year-old house doesn't lock you into re-creating a traditional look. A modern style can blend as smoothly into an older house as into the most contemporary dwelling.

When Keith Sheedy of Focal Kitchens designed this kitchen update for a circa-1880s house, the result was a gleaming white space, accented with coloured glass and bright aluminium. Other than the aged wood floor a modern reproduction there's no hint of the past.

The new kitchen anchors a renovated living space, combining living and dining areas where the family gathers to share meals and relax. But the space is upscale enough for entertaining.

"Because the room is so large, the kitchen is on a grand scale. Everything is oversize," Sheedy says.


View of extra cabinetry next to kitchen which cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, floor, home, interior design, kitchen, room, gray
View of extra cabinetry next to kitchen which features a marble benchtop that matches the rest of the kitchen.

The unusually thick marble on the island contributes to the monumental feel of the work area, he says. A bank of cabinets suspended from a dropped ceiling platform above the island adds to this effect and hides the rangehood. To prevent the cabinets from appearing too heavy, they are fronted with glass panels to reflect light. Behind the glass, a surface painted in a tawny colour contrasts with the white cabinetry.

At the south end of the island is a separate coffee-making area. Drawers are just the right size to hold cups and saucers, coffee beans and other paraphernalia.

Long drawers, together with rectangular panels on the central cabinets, emphasise the horizontal lines of the kitchen. Slim aluminium handles accentuate the smooth surface of the drawer and cabinet fronts.

The room also hides an unexpected secret. Tucked behind a pair of doors disguised as a cabinet is a full commercial kitchen.

View of large marble island with cooktop, sinks cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, floor, interior design, kitchen, real estate, gray
View of large marble island with cooktop, sinks and tapware, overhead cabinetry that has glass panels, other lacquered perimeter cabinets.

"The client entertains often but didn't want the caterers to use the everyday kitchen, so the commercial space was concealed," Sheedy says.

It was important the doors blended in therefore, special hinges were used to ensure the faux pantry merged unnoticed with the rest of the floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. A 3mm aluminium kickrail helped foster the illusion by ensuring the finishes on all the lower cupboards shared the same look. But when an event is in full swing, the doors open so the caterers can easily bring food and drink to guests.

With the doors closed, the space becomes a sleek, contemporary kitchen once again.

Aug 28, 2009

Credit list

Oven, cooktop
Gaggenau
Dishwasher
Miele
Waste disposal
BE 75
Paint
Dulux Palms Springs Tawny on central cabinets
Lighting
Low Voltage by LPA
Refrigeration
Liebherr
Sink
Franke PPX
Cabinetry
Two-pack lacquer and coloured glass with fine aluminium trim
Benchtop
Calacatta marble
Ventilation
Qasair
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