Shining example kitchen by Wolf Architects

Architect-owner Taras Wolf talks about his own kitchen
Story by: Colleen Hawkes Photography by: Andrew Ashton
White lacquered cabinets are contrasted by walnut veneer countertop, floor, flooring, house, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, gray
White lacquered cabinets are contrasted by walnut veneer in this sleek, contemporary kitchen designed by architect-owner Taras Wolf. This kitchen is an integral part of a large, open-plan living area that can be opened up to the outdoors on all sides.

An architect's own home is a window on design for the 21st century visually it may well be a conversation piece, but it can also demonstrate true functionality.

There are many innovative ideas in this kitchen designed by owner-architect Taras Wolf of Wolf Architects. But at the heart of everything is a simplicity and purity of form that ensures the kitchen merges seamlessly with the rest of the open-plan interior.

"Because of its position, the kitchen is like a watch tower for the whole house," the architect says. "When I am polishing my classic cars in the dedicated office-display area at the opposite end of the living space, I can still talk to my wife in the kitchen. This connection was an important aspect of the design."

Wolf specified a mix of white lacquer and walnut veneer cabinets. The doors and drawers all have recessed pulls, and the ventilation is concealed to provide flush, streamlined surfaces in keeping with the architecture.

But it is the island-style peninsula that creates the kitchens real centrepiece.

Contemporary open-plan family kitchen countertop, cuisine classique, house, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, white, gray
Contemporary open-plan family kitchen

"Caesarstone tops were chosen for durability, with an extra-large benchtop on the peninsula," says Wolf. "This has a long sharknose profile that extends back 100mm, rather than the standard 40mm. The bevelled edge gives the top the look of a large serving platter, and it is often used for just this purpose."

The sharknose profile also gives the benchtop a sculptural quality it is a floating plane that enhances the sleek lines of the kitchen. On a practical level, it is ideal for socialising, providing a large counter for people to sit around.

Wolf says he allowed extra depth on the benchtop in front of the sink, so plates can be placed there if required. A lowered bench at one end of the peninsula comprises glass over a coloured panel that can be changed should the family want a different colour accent.

Additional bench space on the perimeter cabinets flows through to the outdoor kitchen, making it easy for food to be passed through.

"Our family has an Asian heritage, and we like to do a lot of our cooking outdoors," says Wolf. "It feels as though we are in the tropics, albeit with an East meets West theme."

A long peninsula provides ample space for food cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, floor, flooring, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, gray
A long peninsula provides ample space for food preparation and serving in this contemporary kitchen designed by architect-owner Taras Wolf. At the end of the kitchen a full-height mirrored panel bounces light back into the room.

Other key features of the kitchen include open shelving lined with walnut, which makes a dramatic contrast to the white cabinets.

There is also a butlers pantry, and an appliance garage with a tambour door. For ease of use, this can be accessed both from the kitchen and butlers pantry.

Wolf provided rubbish and recycling bins in the cabinetry these can be emptied from outside the house.

Because the owners follow the Asian custom of removing their shoes indoors, Wolf specified tactile floor surfaces. The living area features wood floorboards while the kitchen has a polished concrete floor.

With its large openings to the outdoors, the kitchen also plays a role in ventilating the house passive design ensures it is cool in summer and warm in winter.

Feb 14, 2014

Credit list

Taras Wolf AIA,
Kitchen manufacturer
LED, from various suppliers
Door and window hardware
Kitchen cabinets
Walnut veneer; lacquered
Franke, available at Kitchen Things
David Toebelmann,
Polished Concrete by CRS; tectonic floorboards supplied by
Doors and windows
Hydronic by H20
Caesarstone; glass
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