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Oriented to its harbor views, this revamped kitchen is both a practical workstationand an inviting setting for guests

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When a client's brief for a design makeover is left open, the designer has the freedom to reinvent the space in a manner specifically suited for its intended use. Where diverse purposes are important, such as family work flow and ease of entertaining, the trick can be identifying a plan that caters for all of them.

The owners of this kitchen asked designer Morgan Cronin to revamp the space, and their instructions were that there were no instructions.

"This gave me the opportunity to create a more elegant, practical space. The original kitchen went around the corner into what's now the scullery. Creating a separate room for the scullery gave me a better, more uniform space to work with."

This separation allowed the designer to create a contemporary kitchen area that is focused on living and entertaining. The generous scullery is separated by a sliding door, to enable preparatory work to be done out of sight of guests.

The designer followed the room's natural orientation to the view and completely revamped the entire space. Only the original parquet timber flooring remains, in a rejuvenated state.

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"The view and the homeowners' love of entertaining were two formative factors," says Cronin. "Also of importance were a functional flow between elements and a clean-lined décor."

Central to the room's contemporary design was the creation of a furniture feel to the cabinetry.

"For this reason, both the dresser and the outer face of the island are designed without handles, emphasizing their long, horizontal look. The desired effect was easier to achieve because I manufacture everything I design," says Cronin.

Other elements further the room's horizontal motif. By housing the extractor fans inside the cabinets, the designer created a more streamlined look while avoiding the vertical lines of a standard rangehood. Another subtle horizontal feature is found on the cabinetry's surfaces. Australian ash was chosen for its consistency of grain pattern and color, with the grain running horizontally on lower units to emphasize width.

A TV and stereo in the original layout were replaced with a plasma-screen TV mounted on the wall and the stereo equipment housed in the island, creating more space and reducing clutter.

Oriented to the view and the dining area, the kitchen has everything close at hand within a relatively small space. To make cleanup easier after entertaining guests, two full-size dishwashers are tucked under the island countertop.

"The great part about this job was that the clients gave me a free hand to do what I wanted," says Cronin. "The only real difficulty was working around the post in the middle of the room, as this could not be moved. Initially, this seemed like a problem, but I was able to work my design around it."

Cronin aligned the center of the units on the front of the island, the faucet and the center of the oven, with the post off-center so it doesn't draw the eye.

First published date: 24 August 2003

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Credit List

Kitchen designer Morgan Cronin
Architect - house David Irwin, Paterson Cullen Irwin Ltd
Kitchen manufacturer Cronin Kitchens Ltd
Cabinets Ash veneer
Cooktop surround and countertop Stainless steel
Island countertop Stonex Systems
Backsplash Back-painted glass
Faucets Clear Tap from Ideal Standard
Oven Fisher & Paykel
Stove and cooktop Galaxy from Fisher & Paykel
Ventilation Fisher & Paykel
Refrigerator Fisher & Paykel
Dishwasher DishDrawer from Fisher & Paykel
Waste disposal In-Sink-Erator
Artwork Carlo Criscuolo
Barstools Lem barstools