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Heart of glass

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This contemporary kitchen serves up a light, appealing menu

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When an artistic passion is reflected in the design of a house, it's to be expected that this would continue into the kitchen.

This kitchen, designed by architects Heather McKinney and Will Wood, is in a house which forms a showcase for the owner's prized glass collection. It is predominantly walled in glazed panels, and the sense of transparency, lightness and celebration of glass as a material carries through into the kitchen, says McKinney.

"The backsplash, selected by our interior designer Robin Black, is central to this focus. The long, slender glass tiles echo the glazed panels on the exterior walls, including those of the breakfast room. The hood has a glass base and the upper cabinets have opaque glass fronts.

"These cabinets are framed in stainless steel – another reflective surface – and connect with the stainless steel appliances," say McKinney.

Other elements of the design also contribute to the light, open aesthetic.

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"I lifted and floated most of the base wall cabinets to advance the idea of lightness. Where they do reach right to the floor, they are either deeply recessed or have white toekicks that create the impression that they are floating."

Conversely, the countertops are white above wooden base cabinets – but because the dark tones recede to the eye, these surfaces also appear to float.

With light penetration a priority, McKinney added a skylight to the partly internal room. Views were also important and the architect ensured clear sightlines run down the living spaces and out through the breakfast room to the rear courtyard and pool.

Along with the openness and connections, a degree of separation between the living areas and the kitchen was required.

"The kitchen is close to the dining area in particular, so I introduced a sliding door that separates the two areas. When entertaining, the owner can close off the kitchen from view.

"To keep the space clear of clutter, I built a pantry behind the refrigerator and more storage cabinets in the laundry, which is directly behind the wall housing the cooktop and oven."

The vibrant art glass collection also finds room within the design. Display alcoves top the perimeter cabinetry – finished in white to follow the overall scheme of showing off the glass works in the best possible light.

First published date: 19 August 2012

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Credit List

Architect Heather McKinney FAIA, LEED AP BD & C, Will Wood, AIA, McKinney York Architects (Austin, TX) Interior designer Robin Black ASID, IIDA, RID, M Robbins Black
Builder Signature Homes
Kitchen cabinetry company QSI Custom Cabinets
Range hood Optica by Zephyr
Cooktops DCS
Ovens Jennair
Icemaker Scotsman
Refrigeration GE Monogram
Countertops Silestone
Backsplash Tiles by Interstyle
Lighting Flos
Furniture Breakfast area table, custom by Uptown Woodcraft; breakfast area chairs, vintage Jack Lenor Larsen with Pollack fabric upholstery; island counter stools, Lowenstein with Pollack fabric upholstery