Discerning Elements for an Intelligent Kitchen with Designer Alice Villella

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    Join us alongside AV-ID designer Alice Villella as we discover key design elements informing a winning entertainer’s kitchen. We explore the selection of intelligent, next-generation appliances which, when seamlessly integrated, create a flawless and harmonious kitchen aesthetic.

    AV-ID (Alice Villella Interior Design) is a boutique Melbourne design studio that specialises in residential and commercial interiors, priding themselves on their close relationship with clients. AV-ID, in collaboration with Cera Stribley Architects, was asked to design a kitchen within a local home in Toorak that required wine storage for more than 3,000 bottles. A unique client with a keen enthusiasm for wine preservation; Alice Villella’s skilful design resolution has led her to become well-appointed when it comes to wine storage and refrigeration.

    Taking a closer look at the key design elements that inspire an opulent kitchen space, we sat down with Alice Villella to unpack her industry insight on what it means to build a polished and precise kitchen that meets the requirements of both form and function. Read on to hear more about the selection of quality finishes, bespoke materials, designer pieces and innovative appliances that Alice weaves together to craft a state-of-the-art kitchen design.

    Produced in partnership with Liebherr

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    The Toorak House wine wall was designed by AV-ID, in collaboration with Cera Stribley Architects and client Peter Kerr (PLK Interiors).

    “People spend a lot of time in a kitchen so it’s easily the most important room to design within any house.”

    – Interior designer, Alice Villella

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    When considering modern kitchen functionality, Liebherr’s Monolith Wine Cabinet combines innovation with renowned German engineering.

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    Toorak House, a collaboration between AV-ID and Cera Stribley Architects, in consultation with client Peter Kerr (PLK Interiors).

    Foundational Features:

    The foundation for any good kitchen design starts with listening to the client’s specific needs and meeting these requirements with clever spatial planning. “I always ask them how they use the space,” Alice says. “How often do they cook? How often do they entertain? What do they like to have at their fingertips? How do they want the space to feel?” Alice says she looks closely at the architecture to see how the kitchen is informed by its surrounding envelope. “People spend a lot of time in a kitchen so it’s easily the most important room to design within any house,” she adds.

    The positioning of key zones from food prep areas to butler’s pantries all play a foundational role in establishing functionality. “Good space planning with the end-user front of mind helps balance form with function,” Alice says. “I like to start with listing everything the client wants and how much storage they need, then I plan out the kitchen according to these specifications.” The designer often focuses on the placement of ovens, fridges, sinks and dishwashers as they are the most-used elements. “I always start with function then I move to create a look and feel around it,” she says.

    The client’s brief behind Alice’s most recent project, a Toorak Home redesign, was to create a kitchen where they could cook incredible meals whilst entertaining friends. Alice’s clients love to indulge in cooking and entertaining and so an area where they could host pre-dinner cocktails without it interfering with their cooking zone or feeling “too much like a kitchen” was essential to informing this highly personalised space.

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    Balaclava Residence by AV-ID

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    Balaclava Residence by AV-ID

    Materiality and Design Details:

    From the routed solid American walnut on the oversized island and American walnut veneer joinery to the feature Apparatus Arrow Pendant light and integration of appliances, every material and detail contributes towards the final dramatic aesthetic – without sacrificing on performance.

    “I think materiality is incredibly important; it can change the whole feel of a space,” Alice says. “I love using natural stone which offers an instant element of elegance and sophistication while using timber warms up a kitchen space.” The designer adds metal detailing for a level of modernity and joinery detailing, such as bespoke routed panels. “It’s about finding a marriage of materiality,” offers Alice.

    At Toorak Home, AV-ID in conjunction with Cera Stribley Architects, ensured the kitchen connected seamlessly in from the living and foyer areas and extends glimpses of the home’s sculptural staircase and Den Holm table in the fore. “We wanted to craft a kitchen space that was beautiful but also functional,” Alice explains.

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    Balaclava Residence by AV-ID

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    Balaclava Residence by AV-ID

    Appliances and Technology:

    When it comes to selecting appliances for any kitchen, Alice emphasises the importance of positioning products within the space to maximise functionality. She considers the latest in technology and engineering a good way to future-proof a modern, epicurean kitchen.

    “At Toorak Home, we introduced a wall of integrated fridges to meet the homeowner’s needs including one and a half wine fridges, two cooling drawers and a full fridge/freezer column combination. We then added in another beverage ‘hub’ in the butler’s pantry,” Alice says.

    Alice believes that state-of-the-art appliances from expert brands make all the difference, which is where leading luxury brand Liebherr stands out. Engineered to be the best in the world, Liebherr’s Monolith refrigeration range is customisable to suit any kitchen space, fusing touch technology through its own smartphone or tablet app. The premium cooling range also now offers an even more impressive selection with their latest addition of the Monolith Wine Cabinet.

    A large-format wine cabinet that is impressive on the outside and inside, the Monolith Wine Cabinets are an ultramodern design that offers a virtually silent operation and unparalleled reliability synonymous with world-leading German engineering. Liebherr’s wine storage cabinets create ideal conditions for in-bottle ageing by providing a climate similar to a wine cellar, making it the perfect kitchen inclusion for clients such as the homeowners at Toorak Home who take wine preservation seriously.

    To explore the next generation of wine preservation at home, explore Liebherr’s latest Monolith range here.

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    Toorak House bar, a collaboration between AV-ID and Cera Stribley Architects, in consultation with client Peter Kerr (PLK Interiors).

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    Toorak House bar, a collaboration between AV-ID and Cera Stribley Architects, in consultation with client Peter Kerr (PLK Interiors).

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designing a winning entertainer's kitchen