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Tropical splendour

A hero that doesn't get lost in a large, open surrounding space, this kitchen also addresses its tropical environment

Designed by MyStyle Homes and Kim Duffin Design

From the designers:

This kitchen forms part of an expansive home located high above tropical Cairns with panoramic views of heritage listed rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. 

The kitchen is the key interior space. So the designing of this space began very early in the overall building design process, to ensure all elements and aspects were carefully considered.

The kitchen needed to be a true reflection of how the family live, plus capturing the views of this very special part of the world.

The kitchen is the centre point for all activities in the home and transitions beautifully from day-to-day activities to be the sophisticated entertainer where a caterer can easily feel right at home.

The owners wanted to enable multiple users in the space. This has been easily created with an expansive main work zone on the front island and another zone on the rear wall. An effortless workflow has been created between the sink, cooktop and adjoining zones.


Linking the kitchen to the pantry is a pass-through, hidden in the rear splashback.

The spacious, well laid out pantry  complements the kitchen with plenty of bulk storage plus appliances like refrigeration, cooking and cleaning.

The open plan layout also allows the space to remain the hub of the home and the pivotal point in the adjoining living and entertaining spaces.

Aside from the architectural elements showcased in the space, the key feature of this kitchen is the island bench.

Framed in Queensland Walnut and topped with scratch, stain, heat and fire resistant Dekton's Aura15, it houses an induction cooktop with a downdraft extraction system.

Due to the suspended nature of the cabinet design for the island, finding a solution to house the electrical and ducting requirements of these appliances created a challenge.

The solution was to bring the power and ducting up from the floor – all camouflaged by a mirror-clad plinth. The mirror helps the housing to reflect as much light as possible therefore enabling it to blend into the background and allow the open feeling created by the suspended cabinets to remain.

The kitchen features Sub-Zero refrigeration – chosen in part for its reliability in a tropical climate – and Wolf cooking appliances.

The colour palette of neutral tones was chosen to create a light, airy and effortless look that would allow the home to remain timeless for many years to come. However, it is the architectural details and tropical accents that give the home and interior spaces character and a touch of elegance.

Queensland Walnut was used in the lighting feature over the island, overhead cupboards at the rear of the kitchen and in the shelving inside the pantry.

The timber brings warmth and the grain gives a linear accent to the space.

The benchtop used in the kitchen and pantry is Dekton Aura15, chosen for its durability, versatility and UV resistance (important in a tropical climate and a home with plenty of natural light.

The marble-style vein through the Dekton surface lifts the neutral palette and complements the warm Queensland Walnut.

An architectural element found in most homes in the tropics is high ceilings. However, this home was designed around a large void that allows light and air to flow through the home.

Therefore, there was a need to frame and highlight the kitchen so it did not get lost in the expansive void. A split joinery design was the solution for the overhead cabinets at the rear of the kitchen.

The light-coloured upper cabinets create long term storage while the lower can be easily accessed for day to day items. Depth was created in the space by using the walnut timber to clad the lower overhead cabinets. This was also used for shelving in the pantry.

This area was designed to cleverly conceal the fixings for the main stairs which were bolted through the wall into the pantry. The shelving creates an abundance of bulk storage for the household.

In lighting the space, the main challenge was to create a feature light over the island that was both aesthetically pleasing yet would provide ample lighting performance while not detracting from the space created by the expansive void. With such an expanse, getting power to a light was a challenge as well.

To overcome this, stainless steel cables were installed between walls that allowed for power to run to the custom-made timber feature piece.

The timber has recessed diffused LED strip lights which illuminate the island. This feature light draws the eye up and is an impactful feature from all angles.

LED downlights have also been placed in the underside of the overhead cabinets on the rear wall of the kitchen and pantry spaces for task lighting. The lighting complements the natural light created in the space during daylight hours while filling the void to ensure the space is well lit at night.

The strong architectural influences set by the home were thoughtfully considered when designing and creating the kitchen and pantry spaces.

The collaboration between a functional design, a tasteful, timeless colour palette and modern materials and appliances create a unique space that complements the range of living, dining and entertaining areas within the home.

Credit list

Kitchen designers
Cabinetry
Queensland walnut veneer feature doors; drawfronts and panels – 18mm Shaker Style, recessed panel doors; island support frame – Queensland walnut solid timber
Sinks (pantry and kitchen)
Abey
Splashback
Toughened Mirrorguard
Cooktop
Neff
Dishwashers
Miele
Freezer (pantry)
Electrolux
Benchtop
Dekton – USC - ultra compact surface (porcelain/glass combination)
Tap
Zoe, by KWC
Oven, steam oven
Wolf
Microwaves
LG
Refrigerator (kitchen)
Sub-Zero
Awards
HIA Australian Kitchen Design

Designed by: MyStyle Homes

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