Kambah, Canberra Residence

The design brief was to provide this family with a functional kitchen that would offer adequate storage and preparation space. With a family of five it was essential that the kitchen be the heart of the home. This house was built in the late 70’s so it was important that whatever selections we made that is was in keeping with the era of the building.

The old canary yellow laminate kitchen was a third of the size compared to the new design. The old kitchen lacked in working bench space and storage. It was a confined space and if any more than two people were in the kitchen at the one time it became crowded and inefficient. Because of this it was a high priority to open the space up and create functional and separate work areas.

The new design encompasses multiple work stations so that each space can be occupied without affecting the other spaces. Even though there are separate work stations the design principle of the working triangle works to its full extent. Having the cooktop, fridge and sink all in close proximity without any flow interference provides an easy to work in kitchen.

The design of the new kitchen boasts itself of enormous amounts of storage. Every item has been carefully thought about and designed around so that nothing is left without a home. Huge pantry space allows for the everyday items to be in close range as well as bulk storage items. Kitchen appliances such as the coffee machine and toaster are easily accessible within their own cupboard. The use of a Tambor door in this area allows it to be closed off should these items want to be kept out of sight. Display items of fine crystal and glass have been made into a show piece. Displayed behind beautifully crafted inlaid Lucere doors they create a real homeliness to the space.

No expense has been spared when it comes to the choice of finishes and appliances within this kitchen. It was always a requirement to use beautiful high quality materials that would not only look elegant but also be durable.

The combination of the Golden Teak Veneer balanced with the Dulux Linseed satin polyurethane cupboard fronts create a stunning modern look with magnificent warmth. The cupboard finishes produce a modern take on a 1970’s colour scheme so there is a beautiful harmony with the structure of the home. The benchtops were thoughtfully designed to be innovative not only in the design itself but also in the choice of materials. A unique combination of reconstituted stone marries well with the sleek patterned stainless steel. This contrast of material is a feature within the kitchen, the luxurious sheen of the stainless steel elegantly runs down to the base of the island where it is met with the stunning floor tile. This large format porcelain tile was selected not only for its practicality as porcelain but more so for its amazing natural stone look.

This beautiful tile promotes a rich natural look which brings character and warmth to the kitchen and adjoining areas. Its large size sits proportionally well within the scale of the kitchen and adds to its grandeur. The hand snapped mosaics that were selected encroach outside of the boundaries of your ‘traditional’ splashback. Its stunning facade dances in the light creating an extravagant back drop which ties in the different areas of the kitchen. 

Everything about this kitchen has completely transformed the lifestyle of this home. Its open plan design creates a hub in the home in which all family members can gather around. It provides a beautiful space to entertain guests with more than adequate preparation area and storage. Display cupboards and carefully placed lighting produce a soft and elegant atmosphere to this cosy home. With its beautiful finishes and the highest quality of workmanship it is now a modern and elegant kitchen that makes the owners look forward to coming home to.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY Emma Hampton Photography and Genevieve Hinton

"Sarah Nolen of BIRDBLACK DESIGN was contracted by us in 2012 to do a major redesign of our main living areas, including the kitchen and dining areas. The brief she was given was to extend the kitchen area and to incorporate into it a contemporary yet functional design with a focus on added storage and display areas. The space had to be user friendly and to become the ‘centre’ of the home. The living areas were to be complementary and there was to be a relaxed flow from one space to the next. Sarah achieved these requirements to the highest level. Her choice of earthy tones and textured surfaces brought a wow factor to the spaces while retaining a homely feel. 

In regards to functionality, again we have been satisfied with all our needs met to an outstanding standard. Her choice of Meile appliances added the finishing touch that any home cook would be proud of. Abundant storage was one thing that actually brought tears to my eyes. We could not recommend Sarah more highly. She displayed sensitivity to us as her clients and listened to our thoughts while communicating innovative ideas to us that were not even in our spectrum. I must say they have worked very well. 

We have no hesitation in recommending her to anyone who would like sensitivity to their brief along with cutting edge design ideas". 

 - JAMES & SUE BOWMAN