We sit down with Sanders & King directors Taimi Sanders and Elissa King to unpack signature elements in their kitchen projects and why functionality and durability are at the heart of every design decision.
Melbourne-based design studio Sanders & King are known for their relaxed yet timeless residential interiors. While every kitchen project is unique to its home and client, there is always a common thread: the integrity of materials. Focusing on the heart of the home, we explore Taimi and Elissa’s tried and true approach to kitchen design through three key areas: the context, the materiality, and their signature fixtures and finishes.
Produced in partnership with Blum
Context & Client
To uncover Sanders & King’s secret to success, we take a closer look at two of their most recent projects, the Armadale Residence and adjacent rear Stables – a monumental collaboration with Pleysier Perkins Architects. Far from a cookie-cutter approach, Elissa explains each kitchen project is designed afresh, with the homeowner at the forefront. “The needs of our clients dictate our direction,” she says. “We consider everything from the style of the home, the proposed use of the kitchen space, as well as how we can practically enhance their daily rituals.”.
Within the Armadale Residence, created for a busy family of five, Taimi and Elissa specified a generous kitchen footprint for practicality and flow. An adjacent scullery adds a secondary working space and additional storage. Contextually, the kitchen is sensitive to the home’s Victorian heritage with high ceilings and ornate cornices, while its contemporary finishes bring it into the present day.
The Stables, in contrast, is designed for a ‘different client’. To be utilised by guests or the homeowner’s older children, Sanders & King proposed a more compact kitchen to meet their needs. Honouring its origins, Taimi and Elissa envisioned a farmhouse-style kitchen filled with rustic warmth. Raw timber, brickwork floors and painted brick walls are paired with classic appliances, including an aga freestanding electric oven and premium finishes creating a modern aesthetic.
As Taimi and Elissa are predominately designing for families, their material selection is driven by longevity. “Our main ethos is materials of integrity,” Elissa says. “Our proposals always include natural products such as stone, timber, and occasionally concrete and accents of metals. The way we integrate them varies by project, but generally, you will find these finishes in all our kitchens.”
Stone benchtops and timber joinery feature in both the Armadale Residence and The Stables.” Clients are often concerned with the stone staining; however, we find the weathering becomes part of its beauty and the natural patina,” Taimi adds. Stainless steel, as featured in the Armadale Residence, is utilised in many Sanders & King projects. “Working and cooking on stainless steel benchtops is something we always encourage for our clients due to its durability,” Taimi explains.
“Above all, integrity is paramount. From under sink storage, those difficult corners to one-touch overhead cupboard applications, Blum is a range we can specify with complete confidence.”
– Sanders & King director Taimi Sanders
Sanders & King lean on a combination of lighting, informed by mood and functionality, but natural light takes precedence. Firm favourites include Articolo and Gubi wall lights and Euroluce downlights. Pendants, such as the slimline Archier Highline featured in the Armadale Residence, are also a go-to for the studio. Tapware, while unique in style, is specified based on the strength of its material composition. Brands like Brodware and The English Tapware Company are featured in both the Armadale Residence and The Stables, chosen not only for their aesthetic but also for their robustness and integrity.
Consistently, Taimi and Elissa specify Blum kitchen hardware and cabinet solutions to provide flexibility, storage and flow within the space. A firm favourite for the design duo is the Blum SPACE CORNER, to optimise corner space with full extension drawers, using every inch of storage – for pantry goods or glassware and dinnerware. The Blum SPACE TOWER not only maximises storage but also features clear-fronted drawers to view items stored in higher drawers, for ease and safety of use in a compact kitchen.
“The soft-close Blum LEGRABOX coupled with the delicate Blum AMBIA-LINE inner dividing system is our go-to for kitchen drawers. Its sturdiness and strength meet the needs of even heavily laden drawers,” Elissa says. In the Armadale Residence scullery, Sanders & King designed the space with Blum LEGRABOX drawers in Terra Black, featured on both sides of the sink. The Blum LEGRABOX drawers cleverly integrate cleaning products such as sponges and detergent within easy reach of the sink; making the most of the scullery space, and creating a seamless cleaning experience within it. “Above all, integrity is paramount,” Taimi reflects. “From under sink storage, those difficult corners to one-touch overhead cupboard applications, Blum is a range we can specify with complete confidence.”