The 2024 must-haves for every kitchen
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The 2024 must-haves for every kitchen

As every real estate agent knows, kitchens sell houses. Set yourself up for success with designs for every space

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Jan 5, 2023 9:42amGrey Clock 5 min

As a new year kicks off and summer holidays stretch out before you, it’s the perfect time to reassess your home, your property and your investments. Whether it’s time to sell or renovate, putting a kitchen renovation at the top of your to-do list for 2023 will set you up for a successful year. There’s no better time than now to start planning for a spring sale or summer entertaining so that, no matter the size of your space, you can have a beautiful, hardworking kitchen. Check out these three Sydney kitchen case studies in large, medium and small.

Large kitchen: The drinks are on us

By the time award-winning kitchen design duo Darren Genner and Simona Castagna from Minosa started working on this generously proportioned kitchen, their clients already had a pretty firm idea of what they wanted.

Overlooking the Bay Run in Sydney’s inner west, the property had already been partially renovated in a palette of steel blue and soft grey, setting the palette for the kitchen colours. 

“They wanted something really beautiful and the kitchen had to reflect what we had already done in the parents’ retreat, which was a contemporary feel with a bit of colour,” says Genner.

Part of a larger open plan living area, the original kitchen was characterised by a walk-in pantry and corridor, which shut down the floorplan and did not serve the owners’ needs given cooking wasn’t necessarily the highest priority.

“They are not really big cooks, they prefer to order in,” says Genner. “So the kitchen becomes more furniture-like.”

Streamlined joinery and integrated appliances ensure the kitchen naturally feels a part of the living area. Curved edges on the central island bench ensure easy circulation and straightforward access to the Vintec wine fridge, as well as a concealed bar for the owners’ gin collection.

“We call it hidden bling,” says Castagna. “They are really unassuming people who appreciate the finer things but they don’t like to show off. 

“We’ve worked with them before and every time we do a renovation, they go away and leave us to it.”

The kitchen was completed over a 10-week period. Joinery is finished in dark stain American oak while the splashback is polished concrete render. For the island benchtop, Genner and Castagna specified Laminam, a hi tech porcelain product ideal for areas where large, hardwearing slabs are required. The project was highly detailed to achieve such a clean, streamlined look. 

“There’s a lot of little detail,” says Genner.

Medium kitchen: The spice of life

Kitchens are hardworking spaces but it’s important that they say something about the people who live there. Interior designer Monique Sartor from Sartorial Interiors was keen to lean into the owners’ Sri Lankan heritage and their love of cooking to create this contemporary open plan space packed with storage at their home in Maroubra.

“The brief was ‘modern Sri Lankan’,” Sartor says. “The old kitchen was U-shaped and did not relate to the living room. It was cluttered and they felt it was dated but they still needed lots of storage.”

Sartor opened the space up, replacing the U-shape design with floor-to-ceiling joinery and a spacious central island bench with waterfall edge overlooking the dining area. Integrated appliances, including a French door fridge enhance the sense of continuity between the kitchen and living spaces. 

“Everything is integrated,” she says. “The dishwasher is under the island bench, and the cooktop is all induction except for one gas burner so that they can keep doing wok cooking. Appliances are not particularly attractive so the less you can see, the better.” 

Instead, attention is on surfaces, which have been selected for their natural look and feel.

“The kitchen is finished in Laminex Rural Oak. It needed to have that hand worked feel to it to give it some texture and warmth,” she says. “For the benchtops, Smartstone is so beautiful. This one had been discontinued and we tracked down the last five slabs.”

Key to the success of this space, however, is something that serves no practical function but brings the clients joy. Sartor chose a custom designed mural-style wallpaper from Kingdom Home to run the full length of the dining space.

“As a plain wall, it had no personality and it didn’t help to bring any interest into the space,” she says. “You want something that will reflect their story, and their heritage. It’s a vintage etching but it’s also very contemporary, especially with the design of the kitchen.”

Small kitchen: Making every centimetre count

Pictures: Jacqui Turk

If  large kitchens require an abundance of materials, small kitchens insist on an abundance of planning. The owner of this kitchen in the inner Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst loves to entertain but with just a narrow galley space to work with, design director at Bondi Kitchens, Charlotte Riggs, had her work cut out to pack everything in.

Fortunately, Riggs understood the space almost immediately.

“When I walked in I knew how the kitchen had to be configured,” she says. “It’s very narrow with a small nib wall, which was the perfect spot for a full height pantry. The most practical pantries are shallow because you don’t lose anything.”

Because it is separate from the dining room, which is on another level, Riggs says the kitchen needed to be a pleasure for the owner to work in, just on her own.

“There’s a little terrace just outside so when it gets warmer, she can eat outside,” she says. “But there’s things like a sink near the window and a fridge to the far right and a bi-fold nook next to the pantry for the kettle and toaster. 

“It’s very practical and logical as a layout.”

Given its location in the heart of the city, the owner was keen to create a sophisticated ambience in the kitchen. All appliances such as the fridge, rangehood and microwave are either hidden or integrated for a clean look. Riggs opted for navy cabinetry in a Shaker profile with classic cup door pulls in brass – the kitchen equivalent of a tailored suit with brass buttons.

“It’s all in the little details,” she says. “All the drawers and panels are 35mm thick for that extra deep Shaker cut out.”

Underbench strip lighting ensures that the benchtops are well lit when the kitchen is in use as a workstation while wall sconces provide optional mood lighting for later in the evening.



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A ‘cheeky’ seat takes out the top prize at Australia’s Next Top Designers Awards

A cash prize from Kanebridge Quarterly magazine, offered for the first time this year, drew a record number of entries for the design competition

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Mon, Jun 17, 2024 2 min

A versatile stool with a sense of fun took out the top prize at the Australia’s Next Top Designers awards at Design Show Australia last week.

The ‘Cheeky’ stool designed by Maryam Moghadam was the unanimous winner among the judging panel, which included Kanebridge Quarterly magazine Editor in Chief, Robyn Willis, Workshopped Creative Director Olaf Sialkowski, Design Show event organiser, Andrew Vaughan and Creative Director at Flexmirror Australia, Matt Angus.

Designed as an occasional stool or side table, the Cheeky stool comes in a range of skin tones. The judges applauded its commercial applications, its flexibility to work in a range of environments, and its sense of play.

In accepting the $10,000 prize, designer Maryam Moghadam quipped she was pleased to see ‘other people find bums as funny as I do’. A finalist at last year’s awards, Moghadam will put the prize money towards bringing her product to market.

Winner Maryam Moghadam said the $10,000 prize money would be put towards developing her product further for market.

Australia’s Next Top Designers is in its fourth year, but this is the first year a cash prize has been offered. Kanebridge Quarterly magazine has put up the prize money to support the next generation of emerging industrial design talent in Australia.

Editor in Chief Robyn Willis said the cash prize offered the winner the opportunity to put the money towards whatever aspect of their business it would most benefit.

“That might be prototyping their product further, spending on marketing, or simply paying for travel or even childcare expenses to allow the designer to focus on their work and take it to the next stage,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be supporting this design program and nurturing emerging design in a very practical way.”

The Coralescence lamps from the Tide Pool series by Suzy Syme and Andrew Costa had strong commercial applications, the judges said.
The Mass lamp by Dirk Du Toit is crafted from FSC-certified oak or walnut.

Two finalists were also awarded ‘highly commended’ by the judges — Mass lamp by Dirk Du Toit and the Coralescence lights from Suzy Syme and Andrew Costa at Tide Pool Designs. The judges agreed both products were beautifully resolved from a design perspective, as well as having strong commercial applications in residential and hospitality design. 

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