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Kitchen renovation opens up surrounding spaces for better flow and functionality

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As well as wanting their new kitchen to be open-plan and light-filled, the homeowners needed enough space for more than one family member to use it at a time

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What are the stand-out heroes of the design? It's a question that architects and interior designers ask themselves on every project. On this kitchen design, part of a comprehensive whole-house makeover by architect Melonie Bayl-Smith, the heroes were the abstracts of space and light.

"Prior to this renovation, the interiors had a compartmentalised feel, says Bayl-Smith. "The original heavy, wooden kitchen had been situated at the end of a dead-end U-shaped space."

"This had meant there wasn't room for more than one person to be using it at a time."

Together with wanting an open-plan, light-filled new kitchen, the owners needed sufficient usable space to accommodate more than one family member. They also wanted it to be discreet within the wider area and Bayl-Smith took several approaches to achieve this.

"We decided to hide the kitchen in plain sight. But first we took out walls and opened up the spaces while being mindful to create an overall sense of scale that would be in keeping with the new look.


To this end, we removed the old ceiling and replaced it with a raked version to follow the roofline – opening up rooms while retaining low ceilings can create a flat look.

A two-sided clerestory window was also added over the kitchen area."

Having a large bulkhead containing the air conditioning, services, rangehood and lighting allowed the cabinetry and cooking area to integrate with the building.

Using components in the Aleve kitchen model by Stosa Cucina, the architect's integrating strategy also included placing pantry cupboards in a nearby stairwell, thereby keeping food storage close by but out of sight.

The light-toned benchtops and glass-fronted doors and drawer fronts reflect light across the space, while the darker cabinetry anchors the island bench in the larger dining and living area.

Large-format tiles on the splashback respond to the proportions of the now open-plan volume.

First published date: 26 October 2017

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Credit List

Architect Melonie Bayl-Smith, Bijl Architecture
Interior designer Vanessa Tang-Lee, Bijl Architecture
Cabinetry Aleve glass doors in Bianco Opaco and Grigio Piombo, satin finish; pantry glass doors in Azurro Opaco, satin finish; internal carcass and shelving in Champagne melamine
Cabinetry hardware Grass soft-close mechanisms and aluminium profile handles
Benchtops Caesarstone
Flooring Preference Cannes European Oak, from King Cork
Lighting Nimbus, Brightgreen LED downlights by Koda; MondoLuce LED strip by Eurolife
Splashback Lea Ceramiche City Tiles by Bisanna
Kitchen sink Smeg, from Winning Appliances
Taps Blanco Linussa, from Winning Appliances
Awards Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Winner