Kitchen Covet | Exploring a Designer’s Eye for Details

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    We reveal a designer’s eye for details in 12 exceptional kitchens.

    This feature originally appeared in est magazine issue #48, Kitchen Confidential

    Paris, France

    Maastricht Penthouse by Nicemakers

    Maastricht, The Netherlands

    In the Dutch city of Maastricht, Amsterdam-based interior studio Nicemakers have amalgamated the top two levels of a 1960s office building, stripping the interiors back to a Brutalist concrete shell. “The building’s architect had insulated the building from the outside, which meant we could keep the raw concrete exposed,” Nicemakers co-founder Dax Roll says.

    Upon entering the penthouse, the kitchen is the first space you see, designed for entertaining. “The client didn’t want a standard kitchen; they wanted something lighter than a kitchen island, more like a table,” Dax says. Collaborating with Amsterdam-based makers Eginstill, they conceived an antique brass and enamelled lava stone custom counter and custom range hood as the kitchen’s focal point.

    Dax says it was the first time they’d used enamelled lava stone – a durable material “seen more in Parisian bars than in kitchens”. “You almost touch everything in a kitchen; it’s a sensory experience,” Dax says. “Like the enamelled lava stone, we believe everything you touch should have the right texture and details.”

    Hawthorn House Kitchen by Fiona Lynch Office

    Melbourne, Australia

    Leather is an unlikely material to use in the kitchen, but it defines the unique sculptural island in Fiona Lynch Office’s Hawthorn House. Director Fiona Lynch describes the combination of ruched taupe leather detailing, shark nose Vaticano marble and unfilled travertine as bold but at the same time natural, as the materials play on scale, texture and form. “The wrapped stone rangehood is a wonderful detail to encase a practical element in a beautiful material,” Fiona adds.

    The kitchen’s curves reference arched windows overlooking a courtyard garden. A Volker Haug Anton wall light and brushed brass tapware add metallic accents to the material mix, further highlighting Fiona’s belief that craftsmanship underscores the design of every successful kitchen

    Mariehill by Liljencrantz Design

    Stockholm, Sweden

    The Mariehill kitchen lies within an Arts and Crafts red-brick apartment in central Stockholm, originally designed by Swedish architect Isak Clason. The architect was an influential figure at the turn of the century in Sweden– a legacy multidisciplinary practice Liljencrantz Design principal Louise Liljencrantz wanted to embrace in the kitchen design process. “Our research started with a box of architectural drawings and family photographs from the apartment’s early days,” she says. “Seeing the original kitchen inspired us to design overhead cupboards with a sliding ladder and to clad an entire wall with hand-glazed zellige tiles.”

    A Transylvania limestone island, Dornbracht tapware and Veermakers Strict walnut and leather bar stools designed by Liljencrantz Design, complete the designer’s contemporary take on preserving the home’s old soul.

    East Village Apartment Kitchen by GRT Architects

    New York City, North America

    In an early-20th-century apartment in East Village, New York City, GRT Architects have honoured the building’s original idea of a room – where spaces were separated by function – in a contemporary way. Floor transitions mark the separation of the kitchen, and some of the cabinetry is suspended on brass legs to give the kitchen the “unique feeling of being defined as a room and connected to surrounding spaces,” GRT Architects founding partner Tal Schori says. Brass also intersects the ceiling, cabinetry and benchtop to “support the concept without calling detail to themselves”.

    Burgundy tiles clad the kitchen island as an ode to the building’s mosaic corridors and lobby, while oversized solid oak pulls are a practical and playful cabinetry detail. “The kitchen can feel like the part of a home that most resembles a product showroom,” Tal says. “I think what we showed with this kitchen is that customised details and foregrounding colour, shape and texture can go a long way to making the kitchen feel more integrated with the rest of the home,” he adds.

    Ultramarine Kitchen by Decus Interiors

    Sydney, Australia

    As the heart of a Federation-era home in Sydney’s Mosman, the Ultramarine kitchen by Decus was designed to be “simple with thoughtful details”.  Following the client’s brief for a kitchen that wasn’t too formal, the result has accentuated waterfront views through corresponding curves and a coastal-inspired material palette.“We wanted to bring texture to the space without making it feel too heavy,” Decus founder and director Alexandra Donohoe Church says. “Layering materials helped us achieve this; the oak and granite feel warm together while also capturing the coastal context that we wanted the whole home to exude,” she adds.

    Bullnose detail across the vertical and horizontal surfaces and the granite’s leather finish soften the design, together with custom-stained American oak joinery that leads into an adjoining scullery. “Beyond its functionality, the kitchen experience is incredibly tactile,” Alexandra says. “It’s one of those spaces you want to run your hand across every surface.”

    Holiday Home by Nathalie Deboel

    Knokke-Heist, Belgium

    A concrete beam was the starting point for the Knokke-Heist kitchen, designed by Nathalie Deboel for a holiday home in the Belgian seaside town. Based on a concept where the soft balances out the hard, the interior designer says they see the kitchen as more of an installation within the industrial setting. “We wanted to integrate the concrete detail into the design, instead of hiding it,” Nathalie says. “For us, it’s a story about contrast and harmony; the concrete beam and the stainless steel, in combination with the softer palette of polished concrete floors and clay wall finish.”

    The stainless steel door panels reveal the work of the maker, allowing  for the kitchen to feel as much a part of the living area without “taking over the space”.

    Gloss House by Studio Doherty

    Melbourne, Australia

    For their design of a mid-century-inspired home, Studio Doherty chose to hero the D-tile system in the kitchen. “The versatility of this tile left us in awe, and we were really excited to experiment with its possibilities,” Studio Doherty director Mardi Doherty says. Following the client’s preference for terrazzo floors, the studio selected the 3D tile system to connect the walls, floors, kitchen bench and sculptural island.“Made to order, we built the space tile-by-tile in a 3D model to ensure perfect quantities,” Mardi explains. “It was like one giant mathematical puzzle. It is a testament to the builder and the tiler that this kitchen looks so good.”

    As the home’s name suggests, the D-tiles’ glossy finish reflects the northern sun, just as the effect of light and shade on the grey-toned space creates depth and interest. “The kitchen design is also driven by a desire to be very practical, with large amounts of bench space and lots of storage underneath and on the adjacent wall,” Mardi adds.

    Salsa Verde by Arent&Pyke

    Sydney, Australia

    A client’s free reign to embrace colour, pattern, and materials underpinned Sydney interior studio Arent&Pyke’s approach to their Salsa Verde kitchen. Designed for family connection and to be “full of spirit”, the kitchen is composed of Guatemala Verde stone, maple burl, zellige tiles and soft terracotta terrazzo floors inspired by the kitchen’s green outlook. “The textural form in each material challenges the rectilinear configuration of the kitchen,” Arent&Pyke principal designer and director Juliette Arent says, working with format and balance to maximise the long and narrow footprint. “The marble veining, the knotting in the burl timber, and the terrazzo aggregates offset the uniformity of design. The Achille Castiglioni Diabolo pendants create a crisp contrast,” she adds.

    For Juliette, the unexpected asymmetry of the island leg provides a glance at the richness the kitchen presents; “materials that are decadent yet timeless and full of character.

    Apartment, St. Hanshaugen by Jonas Gunerius Larsen and HAMRAN

    Oslo, Norway

    The St. Hanshaugen apartment by Jonas Gunerius Larsen is adjacent to a park of the same name, just north of the city centre in Oslo, Norway. The kitchen by bespoke kitchen designer HAMRAN was central to the apartment’s redesign. “Situated in the middle of the home’s traffic, one cannot avoid the kitchen,” Jonas says. “The kitchen island becomes an anchor in the home – or a roundabout, where one side creates a social space, and the other is for pure function,” the architect adds.

    The commercial-inspired kitchen comprises white-oiled oak veneer, a burned solid oak island and stone for the benchtop and back wall. The back wall also features pegs and shelving that playfully allow elements to be displayed in the workspace.

    Wunulla Road by Richards Stanisich

    Sydney, Australia

    The Wunulla Road kitchen by architecture and design studio Richards Stanisich reflects its Sydney context while being reminiscent of Mediteranean homes. This design statement is achieved through an organic palette of solid spotted gum joinery, Marrakesh wall render and Tadelakt finishes on gentle curves, such as the kitchen benchtops and cutout shelf detail. “We wanted the raw materiality and tactility to hero the space and naturally coexist with the background of Sydney’s coastline,” Richards Stanisich director JonathanRichards says. “Continuity was an overriding principle throughout, and the Tadelakt finish was selected to achieve this in a literal sense.”

    The scale of the kitchen island deliberately makes it a place for cooking and conversation, revolving around this central form. “The kitchen palette is minimal to let daylight and sculptural forms be the most memorable aspect of the overall experience,” Jonathan says. “The kitchen details have a beautiful handmade quality, and these details continue through every room in the house,” he adds.

    Residence GV by Pieter Vanrenterghem

    De Haan, Belgium

    The traditional range cooker is a focal point in the GV Residence by Belgian interior designer Pieter Vanrenterghem. “We created a neutral palette around the Lacanche oven so as to contrast with its black finish,” Pieter Vanrenterghem says. While the homeowners like to cook, they also wanted their kitchen to appear “quite architectural when not used”. “That’s why we ensured everything could recede into the background, the oven being the only visible piece,” Pieter adds.

    A travertine island, clay-finish wall joinery, smoked-oak herringbone floors and terracotta tiles fashion this subtle backdrop. “Designing and creating a kitchen is always a big conversation and study between my studio and the craftsmen,” Pieter says. “We sometimes need to push their limits, but we must be certain that what they execute is lasting.”

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