Unfitted kitchen combines organic design with a handmade feel

Layout, size and scale, selection of materials and references to the past all contribute to a kitchen design that’s far from predictable

Story by: Paul Taylor Photography by: Peter Ellery
In this unfitted design, each element in the architecture, countertop, daylighting, interior design, kitchen, white, gray
In this unfitted design, each element in the kitchen is a character piece – such as the oversized, custom made stone sink.

When designer Leon House describes the kitchen he designed for his own home, functionality is obviously a key element. But there’s another factor that was just as important to him – unpredictability.

“I wanted an organic design with a handmade feel rather than something that looked as if it was made by a robot,” he says.And the layout, size and scale, selection of materials and references to the past all contribute to an end result that’s far from predictable.

The kitchen is large, set against a wall running for 12m along the central line of the home. Much of the service side of the design – ovens, fridge, storage – is in the pantry off one end of the kitchen. This is only partially screened from the living areas, so House has added a nod to the past as a feature – a plate rack for 160 plates. 

This example of building the kitchen from individual pieces rather than having one highly regimented look continues in the open part of the kitchen.

“I didn’t want everything to be too built-in, so it’s more of an unfitted look, like the freestanding furniture pieces in kitchens by English designer Johnny Grey,” says House The central island is a case in point. At 5m long it could have over-dominated the space. 

But by varying heights and materials along its length and adding furniture-style feet, it has a more balanced scale and proportion.

“It’s using unfitted design without drawing attention to it, so when you look at each piece, it’s got its own character.

”The same approach was taken for the kitchen components on the wall behind the island, where there are more references to the past.

Custom made from dolomite stone, the huge kitchen sink is 1500mm long, 600mm wide and 450mm deep in the middle.“It’s like an old concrete laundry basin. It’s deep enough so water doesn’t splash out, plus you can easily stash dirty dishes in there out of sight before clean-up.

”Above this back benchtop is a practical arrangement of cupboards and drawers, but again with a point of difference.

“Instead of glass in the cabinet doors, I’ve used brass – something I remember seeing in my grandmother’s kitchen.”In between the sink bench and overhead cabinets is another unusual touch. 

The splashback is pre-finished timber floorboards installed in a Chevron pattern. House says the boards are ideal here, being both waterproof and hardwearing.Meanwhile, set at right angles in front of the island is an oversized table that also functions as a bar and gathering place when guests first enter this social kitchen.


May 08, 2018

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Leon House
Manual Ocean, Masia Blanco and Masia Negro from Myaree Ceramics
Oven and cooktop
Dimension 8
Leon House Cabinetry
Victorian Ash painted black and quartz stone, by Antry Cabinets
Alba Dolomite, custom made by Aurora Stone
Alba Dolomite by Aurora Stone
Armando Vicario Tink mixer from Sea of White
Pendant lights
Sourced at French vintage market
Victorian Ash from Copenhagen Timber
Water dispenser
Zip Hydrotap
Refrigeration and wine fridge
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Winner





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