New lean-to adds valuable space to this retro kitchen makeover

Panelled doors, traditional cabinetry pulls, a retro fridge and subway tiles are all in keeping with the age of the home in this kitchen renovation

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Mark Scowen
Classic elements like panel doors, brass pulls, subway countertop, estate, floor, home, house, interior design, kitchen, property, real estate, room, window, gray
Classic elements like panel doors, brass pulls, subway tiles and a retro Smeg fridge all create a period feel on this kitchen design by Architecture Smith + Scully. But the layout and access to various spaces suggest a more modern sensibility.

What a difference a few added metres make. The existing kitchen prior to this renovation had been pokey and poorly oriented the result of an earlier 1970s refit. As part of a reorganising makeover of the entire transitional bungalow, Architecture Smith + Scully created a seamless lean-to that added valuable space for the kitchen.

Architect Carolyn Smith says the additional metres and a reorientation of the kitchen now opening to the outdoors and adjacent dining room created a space that feels more generous than these changes would suggest.

"The new layout is contemporary in flavour with its open connections and wealth of natural light, but the look of the kitchen is in keeping with the home's 1920s origins," says Smith.

"Elements like the butler's sink, brass pulls, and subway tiles not to mention the gleaming retro Smeg fridge are all suited to the period."


A modest extension beyond this homes envelope provided backyard, cottage, estate, facade, farmhouse, home, house, leisure, lighting, mansion, property, real estate, residential area, swimming pool, villa, gray
A modest extension beyond this homes envelope provided enough room for a modern kitchen to expand into, on this renovation project by Architecture Smith + Scully

And while slender countertops are again the order of the day in modern kitchens, they also fitted well with the retro feel of this design.

There's a lot of texture in the kitchen the owners definitely did not want a minimal look hence the panelled doors on the cabinetry.

"We added a hearth with shelving at the back of the space, which also suited the period."

The kitchen's low ceiling had to be retained, constricted by other earlier reworkings upstairs. Exposed beams were part of this and now have feature pendant lights suspended from one of them signalling the most social area of the kitchen, the island and pull-up stools.

The hearth-like joinery at the rear of this ceiling, countertop, cuisine classique, home, interior design, kitchen, room, gray
The hearth-like joinery at the rear of this reworked kitchen calls to mind earlier times and provided design opportunity for display shelving and a glass display cabinet. The batten ceiling was continued from the adjacent dining room and the existing floors were retained and reworked to suit the new room and cabinet layouts. Subway tiles complete the picture of a classic kitchen in a classic home.

"We extended the batten ceiling from the dining area for continuity," says Smith. "And similarly, the existing floors were retained and reworked for a seamless flow throughout."

These provide an ideal contrast for a kitchen design where everything is white or cream.

Nov 16, 2017

Credit list

Carolyn Smith,
Morrinsville Industries
Cabinetry hardware
Blum hinges with soft-close, Blum drawers
Kitchen sink
Robertson Industries
Subway tile
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Highly Commended
Swney Builders
Perrin and Rowe
Oven, cooktop
Falcon Classic Deluxe
Matai from South Pacific Timber





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