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Dragonflies, hand-painted onto the tiles behind the oven, add a whimsical and personal touch to this traditional family kitchen

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Elements such as ceramic tiles, painted cabinetry with inset panels, and turned wood, all point to a traditional kitchen. However, one small touch is often all that's needed to give a space its own personality.

The owners of this home were happy with the general layout and position of the kitchen within their family living area. But 18 years and six children later, the cabinetry was in need of replacement.

"The old kitchen had worked very well, and although I wanted to keep to a traditional style, I really felt it was time for something a little more exciting," says the owner.

The new kitchen, designed by Kitchens By Design, takes traditional English style and gives it a subtle French country touch.

Using the same shade of dark blue as the kitchen walls, the designer had some of the tiles hand-painted with dragonflies. These tiles were then used to create the backsplash behind the cooker.

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"I have always had a passion for dragonflies, and I liked the idea of adding something to the kitchen that was totally my own," the owner says.

The layout of the kitchen is simple and convenient for a family with teenagers. A kitchen table in the center of the room provides a focus for family life. Several separate work areas enable the owner to get on with meal preparation while teenagers make their own snacks without getting underfoot. A large walk-in pantry opens off the centre of the back wall of the kitchen.

The main preparation area under the window includes the refrigerator and a double sink. The entire unit beside the sink slides out from under the bench. A wooden chopping board, inset into the top of the cabinet, creates additional preparation space or can be lifted out if necessary.

On the opposite wall, the main cooking area is dominated by a large, 36in-wide Rangemaster cooker set against the tiled backsplash adorned with hand-painted dragonflies. A ventilation unit is concealed within the traditional, turned wood mantel.

For the owner's convenience, the kitchen includes a desk and drawers for storage of family paperwork and other paraphernalia, while bookshelves provide storage for cookbooks.

A glass-fronted china cabinet marks the transition between the kitchen and family living spaces, which open out to the terrace and swimming pool.

First published date: 03 March 2006

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Credit List

Kitchen design Kitchens By Design
Kitchen manufacturer Fyfe Kitchens
Cabinets Labrador Antique granite; blackwood
Tiles Country Tiles
Sink Franke
Faucets Mimas
Oven, hob Toledo
Refrigerator Fisher & Paykel
Dishwasher Asko
Waste unit In-Sink-Erator