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Stand-Out Kitchens To Inspire

Interiors

For our interiors columnist Lauren Li, the kitchen is at the very centre of family life. It’s where birthday cakes are baked, pancakes are flipped, and roasts are a-roasted. But more than the delicious meals, are the memories created here – from licking the spoon with Nan, to drinking Milo at the kitchen bench after school.

Home life is so centered around the kitchen, it’s no wonder that this space is often the most exciting (and daunting!) to design. Here Lauren provides a smorgasbord of kitchen styles to inspire.

20th May, 2019

Natural stone on show in this stunning kitchen designed by Decus. Photo – Felix Forest.

Lauren Li
Monday 20th May 2019

Lately, I’ve been seeing a return to maximalism in kitchens – think tiled splashbacks, figured natural stone and decorative lighting. I’m also seeing a variety of contrasting materials and decorative details used together, like fluted glass in black steel frames, coloured paint finishes and then an array of artwork and ceramics. There’s more expression in our kitchen designs than ever before; maybe Instagram has something to do with it?

Now dear reader, I’m assuming that you are across the classic white kitchen with white/grey marble…. so here I’ve tried to share kitchen ideas that are little more interesting, textured and WOW-factor. And don’t worry, I’m not going to use the word ‘trend’ even once!

A bold project by Nina Maya Interiors in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Photo – Felix Forest.

The stone selection here is a perfect blend of the warm timber tones and grey flagstone paving. A perfect kitchen like this is no accident! Designed by Studio Esteta. Photo – courtesy of Studio Esteta.

Not only does a stone like this look striking, it’s so much easier to live with. The veining in the stone will hide any accidental spills that may stain the stone. Designed by Decus. Photo – Anson Smart.

When you love marble so much that even the kitchen sink is marble. This kitchen is ticking a lot of boxes right now, from its curved rangehood, stone shelf for display, a serious Fisher and Paykel cooker, wall lights and even a pot-filler. This gorgeous kitchen was designed by Athena Calderone, for her own home. Photo – Sarah Elliott.

‘There’s more expression in our kitchen designs than ever before.’ – Lauren Li.

Natural Stone

Pink, green, beige, brown and black. We simply cannot get enough of gorgeous natural stone in our homes. Each piece is totally unique, and really becomes a work of art to enjoy every day in our kitchens.

Where once 60mm thick benchtops with a waterfall edge were preferred, we’re now loving the elegance of a slim 20mm thick benchtop, or even finer. We’re moving away from the white/grey varieties of marble and instead, we’re exploring richly veined marble and coloured stones.

Natural vs man made: There is not one right way to go, it really depends on your lifestyle. If you’re very fussy about spills and stains, a man made bench top will offer a  you peace of mind – try Cosentino or Caesarstone for a robust kitchen surface with the look of natural tone.

If selecting natural stone, look for one with an interesting vein so that if there are some spills, they’re kind of hidden. I prefer my stone to show signs that a great cook-off was had, and oops, those tequila shots seemed like a good idea at the time.. (until the lemon stained the bench top!). But hey, life isn’t perfect and my stone benchtop doesn’t need to be either.

A ledge that runs over the benchtop is a great way to extend the bench space, and also an opportunity to style the kitchen so it integrates into the rest of the house. Designed by Richards Stanisich. Photo – Felix Forest.

The open shelves give this kitchen designed by Richards Stanisich a fresh relaxed vibe. Photo – Felix Forest.

(left) Client Back House by Amber Interiors. The perfect balance of keeping everyday items on display and still looking neat and tidy, this incredible kitchen in Venice, California by Amber Interiors. Photo – Tessa Neustadt. (right) Kagan House by Kennedy Nolan. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Athena Calderone designed her kitchen in her New York brownstone for her family, and also as the backdrop for her gorgeous lifestyle blog, Eye-Swoon. (Athena is a chef, author, interior designer and Pinterest superstar!) Photo – Sarah Elliott.

The use of open and closed storage using a combination of materials adds personality and is the antithesis of ‘cookie cutter’ design. Designed by Richards Stanisich. Photo – Felix Forest.

A narrow shelf provides stylish and useful storage for everyday items in a narrow space. Designed by Louise Liljencrantz for Swedish kitchen brand Kvanum. Photo – courtesy of Kvanum.

A beautiful light-filled space with gorgeous soft curved details. Though Esora is a gorgeous new restaurant in Singapore, there is some beautiful kitchen inspiration here. Photo – Jovian Lim.

On display

The kitchen with things on display is having a moment right now….. just when we had gotten used to the idea of a kitchen with everything hidden! We’re seeing open shelving replacing overhead cupboards, which makes the space feel more relaxed and open, and offers limitless opportunities for styling with artwork and objects to reflect the rest of the house.

There’s something so comforting about a kitchen with pots hanging and eclectic vintage plates on display… it’s the sort of place you want to hang out. The radio hums in the corner whilst hours are spent preparing food for guests. Everyday items such as glasses, coffee cups and cereal bowls are all on display and within arm’s reach, whilst herbs displayed in a ceramic pot or vase add life, and smell great too.

An impactful use of a 3D wall tile in a kitchen designed by Louise Liljencrantz for Swedish kitchen brand Kvanum. Photo – courtesy of Kvanum.

Wrapping the entire island bench in a single material makes a bold confident statement. Robson Rak are masters at designing gorgeous kitchens. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The Tableau kitchen designed by Cantilever and DesignOffice. Photo – courtesy of Cantilever.

Tiles

The great thing about tiles is the sheer variety available, and the countless ways they can be used… the right tile really can completely transform a space.

We are seeing tiles everywhere from the typical splashback application to covering rangehoods, island benches and entire walls.

There are so many amazing stockists for interesting tiles in Australia, some excellent options include Urban Edge Ceramics, Artedomus, Signorino and locally made Anchor Ceramics.

This minimalist kitchen by Sisalla was made for parties. The fridge and pantry are hidden in the butler’s pantry. The materials selection of warm timbers and travertine stone floors give this a sophisticated yet intimate feel. Photo – courtesy of Sisalla.

An elegant and refined kitchen with a gently curved island bench in a limited materials palette yet rich in detail. Designed by Alwill. Photo – Pru Roscoe.

Designed by Alwill. Photo – Pru Roscoe.

Designed by Louise Liljencrantz, this Stockholm based designer has layered Portuguese limestone with stained oak cabinets for kitchen brand Kvanum. Photo – courtesy of Kvanum.

Minimal in form, yet rich in materiality. Flack Studio know how to design a sophisticated, yet warm kitchen. Armadale Residence Kitchen, designed by Flack Studio. Photo – Brooke Holm.

Soulful Minimalism

Brown, that’s right folks. Warm walnut wood tones are taking over from the pale plywood / beech look that we all know and love. Walnut is more luxurious and ‘grown up’ and works so well with stone and brass accents.

These kitchen spaces are minimal yet soulful. Earthy tactile materials like marble, timber and bronze only get better with age.

(left) There is a familiar warmth and textured approach to this kitchen in this gorgeous kitchen by Hecker Guthrie. Photo – Shannon McGrath. (right)Slow Beam is a new boutique accommodation by photographer Lauren Bamford in Hobart. They are nearly ready to open and are already taking bookings. This incredible interior is carefully layered and captures so much atmosphere, I have a feeling that this is going to be booked out in no time! Photo – Lauren Bamford.

Kitchen details in the Darlinghurst Residence. Designed by Richards Stanisich. Photo – Felix Forest.

Combining a black handmade tile gives this kitchen depth and warmth. Designed by Nathalie Deboel in Belguim. Photo – Thomas De Bruyne.

Blue Moon project by Bayley Ward. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Recently awarded a commendation in the Dulux Colour Awards this kitchen by Flack Studio layers beautiful dark materials to create a luxurious atmosphere. Elmore Residence Kitchen, designed by Flack Studio. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

The Dark Side

We’re (finally) moving away from white kitchens and gloss finishes, towards a darker palette of materials. Using a richer palette in the kitchen lends a sense of cosiness, warmth and interest – plus, mess and clutter recede into the shadows. There really is no reason a kitchen has to be white!

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