Kitchen Closeup | Enter Stephen Crafti’s Unconventional Kitchen

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    Design writer Stephen Crafti welcomes us inside his award-winning home by Robert Simeoni Architects to share insights on his unconventional kitchen.

    The kitchen has become the hub of the home, with a wide central island bench allowing for a number of people to prepare a meal, with those refraining perched on a stool with a glass of wine. Although this model can be seen in most kitchens, our kitchen, designed by architect Robert Simeoni, followed a brief for a non-kitchen, more akin to a gallery space.

    Produced in partnership with Bosch

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    Elements of a traditional kitchen, aside from the mixer, are recessive. The Bosch series 6 semi-integrated dishwasher is integrated into the MDF joinery, next to a bookshelf dedicated to Stephen Crafti’s books.

    This brief seemed appropriate since it was designed for a couple of empty nesters who prefer to eat out rather than cook. There are the traditional kitchen fixtures such as an island bench, Bosch series 6 gas cooktop (60 centimetres), a concealed fridge, a sink and open shelves for storage. But there are a number of traditional kitchen items not included: a flue or exhaust system as meat is rarely cooked, the cantilevered in situ concrete island bench is relatively narrow (80 centimetres), and rather than bookshelves lined with cooking books, there’s a slither of shelves within the main joinery (made from MDF) that is used to display the books I have written on architecture and design.

    There is an oven: a Bosch series 6 HBA, a multi-functional oven with four heating functions. This is located adjacent to the laundry, below the microwave oven. And there is a Bosch series 6 dishwasher, integrated into the MDF joinery. We certainly enjoy using these appliances, their ease of use and their streamlined aesthetic. But they are not the primary focus of the kitchen. The art/fashion photography by the late Robyn Beeche is featured across one entire wall, including her distinctive ‘Two Sonia’s’, a double-exposed photo of the same model wearing a Stephen Jones creation.

     

     

    “Here, we could free up the kitchen and make it feel integral to the dining area. It’s quite sculptural, but still functional.”

     

    – Robert Simeoni

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    The kitchen opens up to a small courtyard through the Bi-fold fluted glass steel-framed doors.

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    The Bosch series 6 gas cooktop was selected to be an industrial feature on the custom concrete island.

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    The bi-fold fluted glass steel-framed doors in the kitchen and dining area are the defining feature of Stephen Crafti’s home.

    As there’s only one dining area, adjacent to the island bench, this double-height space benefits from soft northern light primarily through the ribbed industrial glass steel-framed wall and pivotal door. Additional light enters through a highlight window, also orientated to the north that creates an ever-changing ‘mural’ or light show on the white wall above the joinery. So, while there are elements seen in a traditional kitchen, the appliances, apart from the kitchen mixer, are recessive.

    Given that preparing lavish meals was not the key driver in the design (although a keen chef could easily produce gastronomic results), the selection often came down to aesthetics. The gas cooktop is not flush with the bench. The burners are raised creating a more industrial feel.

    Although Simeoni designs a cross-section of homes, from renovations to new homes, the words ‘non-kitchen’ rarely surface in the initial briefing. “Predominantly, the kitchen is the focal point, as it is here, but generally there’s more bench space for preparation and always an exhaust fan, even if this is concealed. Lower windows in the glazed feature wall flip out with the touch of a switch for additional ventilation,” Robert says, who received numerous awards for this renovation. “Here, we could free up the kitchen and make it feel integral to the dining area. It’s quite sculptural, but still functional,” he adds, who was mindful of the placement of appliances and their ergonomics.

    Our kitchen is definitely a kitchen, with great appliances that deliver all the right things. But it’s also a kitchen designed more like a gallery, where utilitarian features, such as the cantilevered bench, become art in itself.

    View est favourites from the Bosch range in the Product Library here.

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    Artwork by Anne Karin Furnes

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    Architect Robert Simeoni with client Stephen Crafti

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Stephen's Kitchen Essentials