Recipes for Success

How do you cook up the perfect kitchen? The owners of the collection featured on the following pages would tell you it's a matter of combining the right ingredients then adding a dash of spice to suit your taste.

When husband-and-wife team David and Sohani Bitton launched a line of gourmet cooking products and a cookbook, their love of family and food provided the perfect inspiration – and where better to test recipes than in their streamlined, European-inspired kitchen?
Modest in size, the kitchen is part of a large light-filled living area; light grey, antique white and noir tones give a subtle European look to the walls. “The wall tiles were from a little tile factory in Padstow that was going to throw them out as they were old stock and not selling,” David recalls. “I bought them at a bargain price!”
They gave the kitchen pizzazz with a red Sunbeam electric mixer, industrial-style retro stools from Le Forge that echo the look of the drawer handles, and some quirky, oversize cutlery prints.

When Jiin-Wei and Brad bought their ultra-modern home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the kitchen was one of the biggest drawcards for the enthusiastic entertainers, who regularly host up to 20 family members for dinner. Designed by interior designer Marina Cseh, it was the only room that didn’t undergo extensive renovations. “We didn’t need to touch the kitchen, we just wanted to change a few details, to put our ‘stamp’ on it”, says Jiin-Wei.
The cabinetry was custom made by Kitchen Art in wood veneer and semi-gloss polyurethane. While it has a very glamorous appearance with its glass splashback and Caesarstone benchtops, it’s also highly practical and easy to keep clean. Jiin-Wei says, “I love the way it is the central part of the house; everyone hangs out around the kitchen.”

When Anthony and Kate Merlin rebuilt their home in Sydney’s inner west, the kitchen was meticulously planned out with the help of architect Shaun Carter. A key part of the design is the Grey Ironbark island bench, which is broadly split into an area for serving and eating, a cold wash-up area, and a hot cooking area. The last of these is a chef’s dream with an induction cooktop, wok burner, teppanyaki plate and indoor barbecue, all by Miele. Along the wall, integrated cupboards conceal a pantry, another benchtop – this time in stainless steel – and ample storage for appliances. These integrated cupboards and the polished concrete floors make it a modern, streamlined space, but the wood on the island bench ensures it’s not clinical.
Natural textures are also brought in through the bi-fold windows at the end of the kitchen. As well as an original sandstone wall, green walls (specially constructed and irrigated hanging gardens) have been installed. In front of this is a handy bench seat so guests can hang out with the chef – something which seems to happen quite a lot.

When renovating a 1980s kitchen, designers Corrina Andersen and Ronite Hammond of Evolve Commercial Design worked around the original plumbing and electrical points to keep costs down. As well, a large column in the centre of the room had to be removed along with a structural wall, so the remaining walls had to be reinforced. The kickboard of the cupboards was recessed so the whole kitchen appears to float in the space, a feeling that’s accentuated at night by the LED strip lighting installed in the kickboard. With light American Oak flooring, contrast was achieved with cabinetry in satin polyurethane and New Age timber veneer in Makybe. A ceiling-high mirror splashback gives the illusion of greater space while also reflecting areas of the open-plan room. A benchtop of thick Caesarstone Linen on the island bench with a waterfall edge adds a touch of luxury while a sculptural pendant light creates a wow factor.