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Chunky blocks of yellow cabinetry help to break upthe perimeters of this kitchen, adding a sunny feel that complements the home's beach location

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Vacation homes are made for relaxing with family and friends. To accomplish this, their design should accommodate an escape from normal routine. This temporary shift in lifestyle usually means meals are eaten at a more leisurely pace, and quick, simple cooking is the preferred option.

With these criteria in mind, architect Gabriel Poole set about designing this kitchen for a family beach house.

Set a few steps up from the living room, the kitchen is spacious with a simple, streamlined style. Overhead cabinetry painted a vivid shade of yellow helps to define the perimeters of the kitchen, as well as visually anchoring its key areas. The bright blocks of color also help to reinforce the fun and sun aspect of the home's design, says Poole.

For contrast and practicality, stainless steel and wood were chosen to accent the rest of the kitchen. Lacquered in a two-pack silver finish, the metallic tones of the lower cupboards and drawers complement the built-in stainless steel appliances, emphasizing the cabinetry's smooth look.

Stainless steel also forms the backsplash behind the oven and cooktop, and the sink. A stainless steel trim accentuates the thick countertops, made from Australian white beech.

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This same detailing has been used to highlight a dining table that takes center stage in the kitchen. Its large proportions comprise strips of Australian white beech supported by square frames of stainless steel at either end.

"Rather than adding a pair of chunky legs to what is already a very substantial table, we decided to choose something that would maintain the kitchen's sense of spaciousness," says the architect.

In keeping with this, the table has been teamed with black canvas director chairs set in slim, aluminum frames. Hanging above the table are three stainless steel light pendant lights.

"As this is the main dining area of the home, it was important that the owners did not feel as if they were eating in the kitchen and had the flexibility to host a formal dinner if they wanted," says Poole.

"The elegant lines of the lights have a subtle sophistication that balances the casual feel of the chairs."

In a departure from the polished concrete found in the living area, the flooring in the kitchen is wood. The color is reminiscent of driftwood, and the floors have a natural warmth that helps to connect the kitchen to the adjacent family room.

This connection is further emphasized by a large cut-out in the kitchen wall, which enables a person working at the sink to chat with those in the family room.

First published date: 24 August 2003

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Credit List

Architect Gabriel Poole, Gabriel & Elizabeth Poole Design Company
Builder Juergen Geotzmann, Traditional Geotzmann Homes
Kitchen manufacturer JC Bain & Sons
Flooring Tarkett in Nordic White
Cabinetry Lacquered in a two-pack silver finish
Countertops Australian white beech and stainless steel
Refrigerator Fisher & Paykel
Dishwasher Fisher & Paykel
Dining table Custom designed Australian white beech and stainless steel trim