Pregnant with twins during ‘a difficult time in the market’ when ‘prices were crazy’, Juliette Arent Squadrito, the co-founder of Sydney-based interior design firm Arent and Pyke, and her cousin, who had recently had a baby, used to joke about starting a commune with their little families.
The fleeting half-joke became a lot more serious when Juliette Arent found that the 1930s art deco apartment block across the street from her then-home in North Bondi was up for sale. ‘The following week we put in an offer for the whole block of four apartments’, says Juliette. And just like that, the commune dream was their reality!
Used as a backpacker’s hostel prior to the cousin’s purchase, the Art Deco building was brimming with potential. Despite its neglect over the years, many of its charming original details had been retained, including the ceilings and architraves. In addition to resealing the floors as well as adding new doors and windows, a new kitchen and bathroom needed to be built in Juliette’s apartment. Arched doorways replaced the traditional doors, opening up the space and creating ‘greater connection between the living room and kitchen’, the areas where most of the family’s time is spent together.
Juliette and her husband undertook a superficial renovation to the kitchen (with one-week-old twin babies!), but it wasn’t until 2017 when the kids were a little older that they were able to give it a real overhaul. ‘The kitchen is the most important part of any renovation we do’, Juliette explains, ‘so much of our lives revolve around it – my husband is a great cook, and my daughters have probably spent 75% of their lives in there’.
Shaker style cabinetry was installed, painted in rich jewel green, with vintage-style brass handles. A sleek black Fisher & Paykel oven was incorporated into the lower cabinetry, while other appliances like the dishwasher, refrigerator, and freezer were cleverly concealed, seamlessly integrated behind cupboard doors. ‘The black knobs on the oven and the black hob means that it all just fades away, allowing the brass to really come forward,’ says Juliette. ‘I prefer for all of those functional pieces to recede and be very subtle, because I think of the kitchen as a secondary living space, rather than a traditional workspace.’
Overhead storage solutions were a must for this narrow galley-style kitchen, maximising space within a small footprint. Mirrored cabinetry with a custom brass-framed edge above the cooking area helped Juliette fake some width, while concealing the rangehood and allowing the storage to almost disappear. The reflection of the trees and sky from the outside is an added bonus!
Fisher & Paykel, New Zealand’s award-winning appliance brand, has become a global force not just in product design, but also in kitchen design. The company is committed to research, development and collaboration and works closely with architects and designers to seamlessly integrate their appliances into kitchens in innovative ways. Visit, www.fisherpaykel.com to find out more.