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Penthouse apartment kitchen by Leuschke Kahn Architects

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A contemporary, light-filled galley kitchen in a double-height space, orientated to harness the views of Auckland Harbour.

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Apartment renovations come with their own set of challenges, but they can also be an opportunity to carefully re-evaluate and optimize the space at hand.

When designing this kitchen, part of a two-story penthouse renovation, Paul Leuschke of Leuschke Kahn Architects ensured it would take a central position in the home.

Originally built more than 20 years ago, the penthouse sits above a three-story building, and was tired and in need of a remodel, says Leuschke.

"The owners wanted to maximize the views and create a sense of spaciousness. This really drove the design of the penthouse and ensured the kitchen was an integral part of the wider living space."

With this in mind, several walls and floor joists were removed to create a light-filled space that opens into a double-height void, and the kitchen and living room were relocated.


"We moved the kitchen to a position where it had some links and substance and where we could create that height. This meant changing places with the living area, where you spend most of the time sitting down. We felt it was more important to have height in the kitchen – it isn't so important elsewhere," says Leuschke.

The contemporary family kitchen centers on the island countertop, which extends into the floating wooden breakfast table, harnessing the waterfront views.

However, with large floor-to-ceiling windows and the elevated aspect, privacy was a concern. To address this, the architect carried the long stainless steel counter past the windows and raised the cabinetry off the ground to let in light. This bench forms the cooking center of the kitchen, with an integrated cooktop, steam oven and sink.

To maintain a connection to the wider open-plan space, the island counter faces into the living area.

At the end of the island unit, a Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawer was installed, alongside a separate drawer for glassware to ensure easy access from the living areas.

Directly opposite, dark-stained wood cabinetry provides additional storage and houses both the refrigerator and built-in coffee machine.

The warm richness of the stained oak is set against the crisp white Caesarstone surfaces of the island unit and countertop, giving definition to the streamlined kitchen, says Leuschke.

"The stained oak on the floors and cabinetry gives the kitchen warmth and strength while the bright, clean white pares it all back and connects nicely with the rest of the penthouse."

First published date: 03 March 2014

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Credit List

Kitchen designer Paul Leuschke NZIA, Leuschke Kahn Architects
Cabinetry J & T Concepts
Countertops Caesarstone
Sink Burns & Ferrall
Faucets Dornbracht Tara
Walls Resene in Double Alabaster
Lighting Pendant from ECC; Inlite
Blinds New Zealand Window Shades
Flooring Superior Floor
Hardware Halliday and Baillie
Storage systems Blum
Ovens and induction cooktops Miele
Ventilation Miele
Refrigerator Fisher & Paykel
Dishwasher Asko
Coffee machine Miele