Well connected

This reinvented kitchen presents a light, contemporary air, but several elements tie it back to its traditional villa context
View of a renovated villa kitchen which features countertop, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, room, white, gray
View of a renovated villa kitchen which features a small island with thick Corian benchtop, bleached timber flooring, lacquered cabinetry including frosted glass on the upper perimeter cabinetry, lighting and appliances.

Introducing a modern kitchen into a classic interior doesn't need to evoke a strong contrast. While tone and materials can create a feeling of modernity, there are several ways to connect a new kitchen back to a traditional setting.

This bright, welcoming kitchen is by designer Natalie Du Bois. The original kitchen had been cramped and dark, with a central fireplace dominating the space and blocking the light. The client's brief was to create a light-filled kitchen that would require minimal upkeep.

"To achieve this, I introduced clean, reflective surfaces, including two-pot white cabinetry, white Corian benchtops, and a glass splashback all set off with a variety of light sources.

"Feature lights over the kitchen island and concealed lighting both underneath and on top give these pieces a floating effect," says the designer.


View of a renovated villa kitchen which features countertop, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, room, white, gray
View of a renovated villa kitchen which features a small island with thick Corian benchtop, bleached timber flooring, lacquered cabinetry including frosted glass on the upper perimeter cabinetry, lighting and appliances.

In addition, Du Bois bleached the existing kauri floor, further lightening the space and highlighting the texture of the old wood.

"However, nothing exists in a vacuum and I connected the space to the more traditional surroundings in several ways," Du Bois says. "The door panels on the cabinet are one element that provides a more classic connection. However, bearing in mind the owners' wish for a low-upkeep space, I cut the panels on a 45° angle to avoid dust settling and make cleaning easier."

Open shelving is another element that harks back to traditional kitchens. Above the refrigerator, for example, shelves have separated alcoves and internal lighting to showcase the pieces displayed and provide further illumination.

"In kitchens created at the time this house was built, the dining table often formed part of the kitchen activity, doubling as a surface for food preparation," says Du Bois. "Here I have introduced the dining table on the periphery of the kitchen, although the central island alongside provides a more ergonomic work surface."

View of a renovated villa kitchen which features cabinetry, ceiling, floor, furniture, interior design, kitchen, living room, product design, room, table, gray
View of a renovated villa kitchen which features a small island with thick Corian benchtop that is adjacent to an extendable dining table, also bleached timber flooring, lacquered cabinetry including frosted glass on the upper perimeter cabinetry, down lights.

The island itself contributes to both the classic and contemporary aspects of the space.

"On the side you see when you enter the kitchen, the island benchtop has a thick, country-kitchen solidity," the designer says. "On the other side, a thinner counter surface makes room for the integrated dishwasher."

Aug 28, 2009
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