Strike a balance

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A mix of contemporary and traditional materials allowed the owners of this kitchen to have the best of both worlds
A close up view of one of the countertop, floor, furniture, hardwood, product design, table, black
A close up view of one of the wooden bar stools, wooden flooring and cabinetry, concrete benchtop.

Modern materials such as concrete and stainless steel can make contemporary kitchens seem cold and sterile. One solution is to combine these finishes with warm, traditional materials such as wood.

When architect Tim Bjella from Arteriors Architecture spoke to the owners of this home about their kitchen renovation, a major requirement was to design the kitchen so it would fit comfortably with the rest of the house.

"The owners were trying to maintain the contemporary feel of the existing house, but they didn't want to go cold. Material selection played a big part in that," Bjella says.

A concrete benchtop was chosen for its rugged qualities, and stainless steel for its fresh contemporary look.


A view of a kitchen, wooden cabinetry and cabinetry, ceiling, countertop, cuisine classique, floor, flooring, hardwood, home, interior design, kitchen, lighting, orange, property, room, under cabinet lighting, wall, wood, wood flooring, red
A view of a kitchen, wooden cabinetry and floor, granite benchtops, spot lights, cream tiled backsplash, many accessories, steel hob, stainless steel ventialtion.

The owners wanted to see stainless steel used somewhere that it wouldn't have to be cleaned too frequently. Bjella suggested using stainless steel on the front of the island, as this is the area of the kitchen least likely to get covered in fingerprints and food splatters.

The contemporary materials are balanced by the extensive use of wood throughout the rest of the kitchen and surrounding areas. Mahogany kitchen cupboards from the original kitchen were kept, and a wall of extra cupboards added to create more storage.

The cost of materials was also taken into consideration. Granite was used for areas in public view, such as the island, but the plastic laminate from the original kitchen was re-used in the rear of the new kitchen where it is less visible.

Another reason for therenovation was to create additional space. The entire house had been designed by Arteriors 10 years previously, but more space was now needed to accommodate a growing family. The homeowner says the island in particular was too small.

A view of the kitchen area, wooden cabinetry, architecture, ceiling, dining room, floor, flooring, furniture, hardwood, interior design, room, table, wall, window, wood, red, brown
A view of the kitchen area, wooden cabinetry, flooring and bar stools, concrete benchtop, spot and pendulum lights, large windows, living area beyond.

"Before, there was only space for two people to sit at the island, and ideally we wanted to be able to seat four to five. There wasn't enough practical kitchen workspace either," he says.

The large new island was installed further away from the kitchen cupboards, providing more space for people working in the kitchen. Moving the appliance garage created additional benchtop space, and traffic flow was improved by placing a bar outside the main kitchen workspace.

Jul 29, 2006

Credit list

Kitchen manufacturer
Paints
Sherwin-Williams
Benchtops
Centre island, concrete in Bridgeport Beige, granite in Labrador Green; main kitchen, Nevamar plastic laminate in Charcoal Essence
Flooring
Maple hardwood
Taps
Grohe Ladylux Plus, KWC
Refrigerators
KitchenAid, U-Line
Builder
Emerald Builders
Cupboards
Custom by Arteriors Architecture, maple and mahogany
Windows and doors
Commercial-grade aluminium
Splashback
Limestone in Crema Maron
Single oven, microwave, cooktop, dishwasher
KitchenAid
Ventilation
Vent-A-Hood
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