Two by two

Designing a kitchen that lives up to the rigours ofday-to-day living and observes religious decreesis never going to be simple
A view of the kitchen, wooden flooring and cabinetry, countertop, interior design, kitchen, room, black
A view of the kitchen, wooden flooring and cabinetry, granite benchtops, stainless steel appliances.

When designing a kitchen, the biggest issue for most people is where to place the appliances to ensure an effective work triangle. However, when matters of faith get added to the mix, the issues are compounded in the case of the kosher kitchen featured on these pages, they were literally doubled.

The Jewish faith declares that a kosher kitchen be designed to keep separate the items used in the storage, preparation and serving of meat and dairy meals.

For designers Linda McLean and Mary Lynn Rockwell who had previously only designed one other kosher kitchen the first step was to get some expert advice.

"Being Gentiles, we enlisted a rabbi to give us a crash course on the Jewish religion and the qualities of a kosher kitchen.

"As the necessity of separate dairy and meat areas became apparent, the notion of two separate kitchens began to take shape," says Rockwell.

The most pressing concern for the pair was trying to incorporate all of the equipment required into the available space, while ensuring the design aesthetic was not compromised, says McLean.

"The contemporary architecture for the rest of the house, with its dramatically high ceilings, offered the opportunity to go up to the full 3.65m height.

A view of a kitchen, wooden flooring, stools cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, dining room, interior design, kitchen, room, red, black
A view of a kitchen, wooden flooring, stools and cabinetry, granite and stainless steel benchtops, stainless steel appliances, spot lights.

"Once the concept fell into place it was pretty easy from there on in and we were able to have a lot of fun with this project."

The next issue became one of accessibility, for which the team came up with a fairly novel solution.

"The interior designer suggested a library ladder. While not unique to this kitchen, the contemporary nature of the design meant a ready-made ladder was not an option," says Rockwell.

Once again, the solution that presented itself was innovative. A wooden ladder was purchased, from which the hooks and rollers were removed. They were then plated in chrome and attached to a custom-built stainless steel ladder.

Run-of-the-mill appliances were not an option, as they too had to fulfil a range of differing functions, says Rockwell.

"The two ranges feature the important programmable Sabbath mode, while the refrigerators were purposely specified in 91cm and 121cm widths to accommodate the full-time use of one over the other."

McLean says that the notion of full-time use was one the design team had to be mindful of.

A view of the kitchen and didning areas. ceiling, dining room, interior design, lobby, real estate, room, brown, black
A view of the kitchen and didning areas.

"When designing a kitchen that has a specialised function, such as this one, you can become caught up in that aspect and lose sight of the fact that the kitchen has to still function on a day-to-day basis as well.

"With this kitchen the two functions are clearly delineated it is, I believe, as close to the protocol of what constitutes a kosher kitchen as we could get it, and yet an efficient design has made it practical for daily use."

The scale of the home means the kitchen is large, yet the open-plan design means it blends in with its surroundings and like most kitchens, becomes a central point of the home, says McLean.

"The architect designed the kitchen to be integral to the rest of the house, it's very open to a lot of the other rooms and is very open to the entry way. It is one of the first rooms you see when entering the home."

Despite the kitchen's obvious grandeur, Rockwell says for her, it's the small details that really make it special.

"Whimsical touches mixing stainless steel drawer fronts with the dark satin wood, along with the custom stainless steel louvred toe kick to accommodate the heating system give a unique character to an already extraordinary kitchen."

Jan 19, 2007
We know the specialists