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Big, bold stainless steel appliances, housed in a large central island, dominate this contemporary beach-house kitchen

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The kitchen is traditionally seen as the heart and hearth of the home – a safe, comforting place that nour?ish?es the senses in many ways. However, this con?cept of a cozy kitch?en doesn't appeal to everyone. Some, like the own?ers of the home pictured here, have a very different idea in mind.

The clean-lined, light and airy design of this kitch?en is the result of the own?ers' wish for an open, clutter-free space that wasn't so much nurturing as functional, prac?ti?cal and easy to keep clean.

Robyn Labb from Kitchens By De?sign says the owners wanted a very in?dus?tri?al look for the appliances, a number of which are imposing in size and fin?ished in stain?less steel.

"The large, commercial-looking oven and stainless steel hood and cooktop, all located in the kitchen's island, act as a focal point of the design," she says. "In order to accommodate these ap?pli?anc?es, as well as two sinks and the dish?wash?er, the island had to be larger than usual, but it allows many peo?ple to use the kitch?en at once."

"Being over the island, the hood had to be hung from the ceiling," says Labb. "This meant the flue had to be fitted around the ceiling's timber beams."

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The combined weight of the oven and the 2¼inch-thick terrazzo countertop also made strengthening the floor necessary.

Another feature of the kitchen is the lighting, which adds to the industrial look of the stainless appliances and hard?ware. Rather than unobtrusive light fit?tings, large, wall-mounted spots sourced in Belgium by the owners are cantilevered on long poles over the kitch?en island.

The owners' preference for a neu?tral col?or palette is reflected in the cabinetry and walls. White, orig?i?nal?ly cho?sen for the wall col?or, was foregone in fa?vor of pumice, which is less stark, says Labb.

"The high, pitched ceilings with their exposed beams and the washed, tongue-and-groove paneling on the walls give the space a boat-shed feel," she says.

The nautical theme is also reflected in the collection of model sail boats that decorate the living area.

Rimu hardwood floors add an element of warmth to the kitchen, din?ing and living area, as do the European dining table and chairs.

First published date: 24 August 2003

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Credit List

Designer Robyn Labb, Kitchens By Design
Kitchen manufacturer Fyfe Kitchens
Cabinetry Finished in Resene two-pot satin lacquer
Countertops Terrazzo Sand from Thomas Andrew & Son
Flooring Tongue-and-groove rimu hardwood
Faucets Allegra steel, Hansgrohe by Hydratech
Oven and cooktop Viking
Ventilation Viking
Refrigerator Sub-Zero
Dishwasher Viking
Waste unit In-Sink-Erator
Lighting Imported from Belgium
Hardware Hettich Innotech