New York deli meets light industrial in this entertainer's kitchen

Subway tiles, 1920s light fittings, reeded glass cabinets and commercial-look appliances combine to create the look and feel of a restaurant chef's table setting in this kitchen renovation

Ceiling beams were introduced together with traditional 1890s countertop, interior design, kitchen, room, gray, brown
Ceiling beams were introduced together with traditional 1890s light fittings to help evoke the period charm of the mansion that this kitchen forms part of.

What to draw on for your kitchen renovation beyond reflecting trends that might be here today and old-hat tomorrow? One way forward would be to achieve a look and feel that calls to mind favourite places and experiences.

Having travelled to New York on a regular basis, this family asked designer Simone van der Plas of Encompass for a kitchen reminiscent of eating at the chef's table in the kitchens of several famous New York restaurants.

"Essentially, they wanted a 1920s New York deli-style meets light industrial themed kitchen for a large, grand 1890s mansion," she says.

Their existing kitchen had been out of scale, and suffered from pinch points. In addition, it wasn't suitable for large-scale catering or for use as an eat-in kitchen for a large family features the owners wanted from the new design.

"To add to the litany of woes, the windows in the old kitchen were in the wrong position, so most natural light was at the closed off end," says van der Plas. "Plus all the architectural features of the room had been removed in an earlier renovation, so the room lacked ambience."

This renovation by designer Simone van der Plas ceiling, countertop, dining room, estate, home, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, gray
This renovation by designer Simone van der Plas has transformed a dark, characterless kitchen with pinch points into an open, flowing New York deli-look space with a light industrial accent.

To bring character back into the space, she designed new feature ceiling beams and sourced large-scale light fittings appropriate to the era and style of the home.

Due to the room's scale, the new cabinetry was built to a generous 2.8m high. To access high storage areas, van der Plas designed a custom steel and aluminium hook-in ladder system.

"We powdercoated the upper cabinetry's aluminium door frames in a special colour to match the ladder and industrial-look lighting. Doors on the upper cabinets feature 1920s-style broad-reeded glazing, which adds texture and offers a filtered view through to the interior shelving contents."

A gleaming commercial-style rangehood and steel side shelving with its own LED lighting system provide a focal point in the cooking area. Bevelled subway tiles on all the walls are also reminiscent of the 1920s restaurant feel.

"As the owners regularly engage caterers for functions of up to 100, people they wanted appliances and cooking clutter to be out of view. So we effectively created a second kitchen in the reworked scullery, where party prep can be carried out behind closed, reeded-glass pocket doors that match the fronts on the upper cabinets."

A custom ladder and hook access system is cabinetry, countertop, interior design, kitchen, brown, gray
A custom ladder and hook access system is a practical and visual feature of this kitchen and scullery by designer Simone van der Plas.

The scullery has its own hob, rangehood, sink and dishwasher, with the main oven tower and Miele fridge and freezers close by. Custom dispensers for foil, wrap, and baking paper line the underside of the open shelving in this space.

A wine and drinks station is adjacent to the granite-topped dining table or chef's table and the crockery cupboard and dishwasher are also within easy reach.

Built on a sturdy steel frame and castors, the chef's table is designed to be easily moved. Tall replica antique-bronze Navy stools provide comfy seating while keeping in with the New York deli-meets-industrial theme of the room.

Credit list

Simone van der Plas, Encompass Ideas Interior Design
Cabinetry hardware
Heritage Hardware handles, custom Katalog steel rope handles, Hafele/Blum and Hettich fittings; custom stainless steel and aluminium library ladder system designed by Simone van der Plas; custom stainless steel dispensers
Bevelled subway tiles from Tile Warehouse
Bello Casa
Miele and Whirlpool Gas on Glass, both from Kitchen Things
Water dispenser
Zenith Hydrotap
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Highly Commended
Dezignatek doors and custom aluminium with broad reeded glass inserts
Bramco Premium Black granite and Bramco Calacatta marble; stainless steel in scullery
Feature light by ECC
Kitchen sink
Miele from Kitchen Things
Custom hood and shelves, Miele motors
Bosch 450mm and Bosch 600mm wide
Wine fridge
Kitchen Things

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Paul McCredie

10 Nov, 2017

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