New homeowners, Tessa and Robbie Williams had high expectations when they gave an extremely open brief to a number of kitchen designers but ultimately only one showed the flair they were looking for.
Designer, Shane George presented Tessa and Robbie with two options and they leapt at the opportunity to have their household ‘work station’ reflect his modern interpretation of their ideas.
Use of unconventional materials and balancing function with looks resulted in a sleek, dream kitchen for this young family. It also earned Shane George the coveted Kitchen Design of the Year Award 2006, presented by New Zealand’s National Kitchen and Bathroom Association.
Shane says he aimed to achieve a sense of drama and impact that worked with the fantastic, large space available in the Williams’ architecturally designed, Orewa abode which takes in stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf and the expanding development of the town.
“I wanted to look at the world when I was cooking,” says Tessa. “I also wanted a really big bench space incorporating clean lines and the ‘wow’ factor.” And that’s what Shane gave her.
His design took advantage of the property’s elevated, hillside position and sweeping outlook. Flanked on two sides by floor to ceiling glass, the kitchen and dining area gives the sensation of floating in open air and the natural light that floods in is further enhanced by the light oak flooring which has a soft glow to it.
The $100,000 budget for design, manufacture of cabinetry, appliances and more, also allowed for innovations such as extensive use of reflective colour-backed glass in a translucent, neutral tone on cupboards and panels beneath the bench. Little finger prints from the couple’s preschool children disappear in spite of the high gloss finish or are easily wiped away should they happen to leave messy evidence.
|Photos courtesy of Shane George Design Limited. email@example.com. |
Reconstituted timber veneer introduces colour and textural contrast on drawers, refrigerator doors and chunky bench ends. Charcoal- coloured timber was selected to match other furniture intended for the open plan dining and living area. A long, sweeping ‘Rice Paper’ Corian benchtop is sleek and minimalist. Power points are concealed within a clever pull-up board, which drops out of sight into the bench when not in use.
Being an enthusiastic cook, Robbie was actively involved in the selection of appliances. Keen to test the new Gaggenau hob, he was also the first to use it cooking himself a bacon and egg breakfast at 4am before an early start at work.
Two Gaggenau ovens perfectly positioned at waist height are convenient and with doors opening sideways they reassuringly keep the Williams’ toddlers safe. Expecting the oven door to open downwards, the youngsters have not yet worked out the unconventional opening direction.
“Locating a fridge at either end of the kitchen makes it easy for more than one person to use the space,” Tessa says. “At the working end of the kitchen a bio-fresh fridge stores fruit, vegetables and other perishables while cold drinks can be accessed at the entertaining end.”
Drawers fitted with Blum slides close with a hush and dishwasher-proof, stainless steel cutlery trays add enduring style. Soft overhead lighting and customised extractor systems are contained within a panel suspended above the bench, while down lights, fitted under the bench, cast a glow across the glass.
Although this dream kitchen is the area of the house she is most happy with, Tessa says in hindsight she would have preferred the scullery to be larger. In this room open shelves allow easy access to pantry ingredients but with a stainless steel bench and sink also in place the space is not quite big enough for Tessa. However, she says if it were possible the family would love to take this kitchen with them to future homes they plan to build.
“We have loved the process of having a home designed and built to our specific needs and will definitely do it again. We are already thinking of how we could improve our next home to better suit our family.”
With his experience of designing an award-winning kitchen, Shane George has recently put his expertise into practice by judging the latest entries for the 2007 awards. He says a winning kitchen must have that added appeal which draws people to it as well as encouraging homeowners to use it but adds that while top designers are those that will always try something special, they need to remember that the area still has to function.