Kitchen Tour: A Curvaceous Midcentury Kitchen in Slatted Oak
A clever layout decision made this once awkward kitchen into a beautifully functional space
The clients are people who like to cook and entertain for family and friends without any fuss or ceremony. The original kitchen layout was proving to be something of a straitjacket for them, although their love of the home’s overall midcentury style never wavered.
So they cast about for someone to help them realise a better arrangement and invited a kitchen designer to come up with some ideas. Unfortunately, they were a little underwhelmed.
Frustrated, they found some online design software and started to dabble with a few layout concepts. What they soon discovered, however, is that the ideas came freely, but resolving them all into a functional layout proved harder.
Around that time, someone suggested our team at Space Craft Joinery. What we discovered was a lovely couple, who – despite both being very busy with kids and careers – invested all the time we asked for to evolve the brief that would help transform their living spaces.
In their own words, what the clients wanted was “a design that addressed the functional and aesthetic constraints” of the space as well as a “finished product that would complement and build on the overall aesthetic of the home”.
They wanted the kitchen to fit softly within its surrounds and not feel at odds with the period aspect of the home. That said, they were also open to something different, quirky and inviting that the whole family could enjoy.
Early on, we suggested something curvy and their faces lit up. The creative juices were really starting to flow.
The first challenge to be resolved was that the original kitchen was U-shaped [as this ‘before’ photo shows]. The one advantage of that was the fact it offered lots of worktop space. The trade off, however, was that it also brought people into a dead-end zone – both traffic-wise and creatively.
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Our idea was to block off an unnecessary external doorway, which uncorked the genie: this simple change not only opened up the internal traffic flow, but allowed us to extend the length of the kitchen and worktops. It also made way for a servery window and a barbecue directly outside.
Due to the lack of wall space, by the time the fridge went in place, there was only one spot for the cooker hood, so we made a feature of it. We lined up the top with the top of the window to save it from being overpowering.
Blocking up the doorway allowed for extra worktop space, which was one of the client’s requests. We then used two different Caesarstone colours, one for the worktop, and another lighter shade for the back wall and splashback. This subtly introduces earthy tones.
The anchor for the whole design is that tall wall, with its vast store of cabinetry fronted in Ebony Traceless Laminate: this fingerprint-proof finish ensures it will always look great without too much effort. (Using a standard melamine or two-pack polyurethane finish in such a dark tone might look great in a showroom, but would very soon prove hard to live with, especially with sticky little fingers.)
This is where you’ll also find the black oven and microwave tower, within easy reach of the worktop to ensure sufficient landing space.
To offset all that ebony and contrast with the joinery, we chose a slightly grey white for the rest of the island, which reflects the play of natural light coming in from the east-facing window during the day. For night time or on darker days, LED lighting is mounted under the cooker hood as well as directly over the island.
For durability, the cabinets were all topped in Caesarstone (with a matt finish) to complement the earthy vibe that pervades the space, but in two different shades. The idea behind using Caesarstone for the splashback, instead of the usual tiles, was to lessen the textural competition for the cooker hood above it.
There’s also a stealthily hidden drinks cabinet in end of the island [seen here].
The last thing we wanted to do was clutter that look with handles, so we devised a reverse-bevel finger-pull used throughout instead.
Aside from this, timber was used sparingly so as not to compete with the existing floorboards, architraves, window frames and door frames.
Colour palette: Monochromatic with timber, black laminate, grey/concrete-look stone worktops, and white doors and drawer faces.
- Earthy tones with natural elements. Textural elements were important, which is evidenced in the timber ribbing.
- Design of the soft curve of the island visually softened the footprint of the kitchen within the space and created flow in the walkway between zones.
- This curve was visually linked to the curve of the cooker hood block.
- Caesarstone Rugged Concrete for the island worktop.
- Caesarstone Airy Concrete for the worktop and splashback on the back wall.
- Timber island facing joinery in Tasmanian oak.
- Dulux off-white paint on the remainder of the island cabinetry.
- Oliveri Vilo pull-out mixer tap.
- Ebony Traceless Laminate on the back wall.
It’s in keeping with the period of the home, but with a contemporary twist. It’s timelessly modern, because the timber links to existing details in the house.
What do you like about this kitchen? Share your thoughts in the Comments.