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Positioned in the middle of the house, this kitchen is the centre of attention for a busy family

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For many people, the most appealing aspect of a home is the casual, relaxed lifestyle that goes with it. Comfortable decor, easy flow between rooms and a seamless transition to the outdoors all contribute to the enjoyment.

It's a way of living that the owners of this house wanted to hold on to, say designers Todd Pritchett and Craig Dixon.

"The family has a holiday home which we also designed," says Pritchett. "It provides a very casual living environment, and the owners wanted their new house to incorpor-ate some of these elements – but with a little more sophistication."

A central kitchen was crucial to the design, Dixon says. As the owners like to entertain, and have several children, the kitchen is the hub of activity.

"Everything flows to the kitchen. It was always going to be a very social space, so we fully integrated it into the architecture of the house. The floor plan is a modern layout with light-filled spaces, but detailed with the understated elegance of a historic home."

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Painted and glazed cabinetry that complements the wood detailing elsewhere in the house helps to visually link the kitchen with the adjacent rooms. These include a breakfast room and a family room which leads out to a courtyard and pool. The kitchen also opens to a walk-in butler's pantry, formal dining room, home office and a laundry.

With so many openings, designing the workspace wasn't straightforward, says Pritchett.

"Trying to get the traffic to flow through the space, yet still provide for plenty of storage, was challenging," he says. "The large size of the kitchen also posed problems with respect to scale."

A gabled, beamed ceiling helps to define and enclose the space. Positioning a large island in the centre of the room also serves to separate the work area from high traffic.

A 4m-long oak benchtop wraps around a granite-topped island. When viewed from the family room, the island resembles a country table.

"Using a combination of materials and levels for the benchtop helps to break up the mass, so the island is not overwhelming," says Dixon.

Despite the size of the kitchen, the work triangle is compact. Twin ovens are close by, built into an appliance pantry. Lifting-pocket doors above the ovens slide away to expose a microwave oven and coffee machine.

Dixon says the kitchen is designed so more than one person can work at the benchtops at a time. There are two additional sinks – one beside the cooktop, and one on a benchtop that also serves as a beverage centre.

First published date: 29 July 2006

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Credit List

Architecture and kitchen design Todd Pritchett and Craig Dixon, Todd Pritchett Design Studio (Atlanta)
Interior designer Anne Lippincott Interiors
Flooring Wide plank oak
Custom cabinetry Painted and light-glazed maple
Benchtops Bianco Romero granite and French oak
Splashback French limestone by Walker Zanger
Sinks Blanco
Taps Rohl
Ovens and refrigerator GE Monogram
Ventilation and cooktop Thermador
Dishwasher Bosch
Underbench refrigerator and icemaker U-Line