When the owner of this period townhouse decided to remodel their home, it was no small project. “The process took three years from concept to completion,” explains Matthew Woodthorpe, architect and director at MWAI. “The property was already fairly large, but the spaces were dark and the living areas very disconnected. Our brief was to improve the flow between the upper levels and the family zones, creating a better quality of living space, and improving the storage provision.”
In the kitchen, the brief was to create a contemporary, family-friendly space that suited the room’s grand proportions – and would effortlessly incorporate appliances of grand proportions, too. As well as requesting stainless steel and open storage, the homeowners knew from the outset that they wanted to include a Sub Zero fridge, and a rangetop and ovens from Wolf – these appliances would require a bespoke cabinetry solution, due to their size.
The brief for the kitchen was to create a striking yet practical space, where the family would eat breakfast together every day. Open storage and stainless steel were specifically requested to be part of the aesthetic, which combines English and American style influences.
The cabinetry features a blue-stained eucalyptus veneer, with the grain running vertically to accentuate the feeling of height and grandeur. A lacquer-like varnish finish was chosen, so that the surface would not be too shiny, but water and stain-resistant, and easy enough to wipe clean.
The stainless steel finishes on the appliances, tapware, sinks and worktops were chosen to match the rangetop exactly, for a coherent look. The sinks are welded into the worksurfaces, which not only gives a sleek and seamless appearance, but facilitates easy cleaning.
A double basement was added to include a family/media room with natural light, a spa/steam room, a wine cellar and a gym, all accessed by a lift and a new sculptural staircase.
The house’s bathroom design captures the same flawless and functional feel, too. Each space has been given a slightly different interpretation of this aesthetic, to match the proportions, light levels and purpose. “Neither the basement steam room or the guest en-suite have any windows, but we took very different approaches as the rooms have very different purposes,” says Matthew. “The steam room could be moody and cocoon-like, with dramatic lighting for effect, while the guest en-suite has a sleek, bright feel – we used lighter materials and also included a recessed ceiling detail in the shower, so that it gives the sense that natural light is flowing down from above.”
What the powder room, guest en-suite and steam room all have in common – and the kitchen too, in fact – is an elegant simplicity that lets the beautiful materials come to the fore. Contemporary details marry perfectly with the property’s period features, and there’s just enough colour and quirkiness to ensure a unique, eclectic appearance.
Everything in the steam room is formed out of natural stone, where its clean lines are only interrupted by the polished chrome fittings. Clever use of lighting shows off the beauty of the natural material.
Mirrors are a great way to help bounce natural light around a space, maximising its benefit. A large wall-hung design in the powder room does this job admirably, while a similar effect is achieved in the kitchen through the use of mirrored glass splashbacks.