When it comes to curating your kitchen, there’s a lot to take into consideration, from paint shades and artworks to devising an area that works for you. Here, three tastemakers reveal the steps they took to craft their ideal culinary space…
JONATHAN RICHARDS architect and interior designer
When they bought their 1890s house in Sydney’s Darlinghurst neighbourhood seven years ago, Richards and his wife were instantly drawn to this kitchen’s plentiful natural light coming in from two sides of the room.
■ Originally the kitchen was a separate room, so we opened up the space and installed a reeded glass screen as a room divider, to create a sense of arrival when coming in from the living space. There was also a door out to the courtyard but we blocked it off in order to provide room for the custom tan leather banquette seat for the family dining table. It’s from a furniture store in Sydney called The Wood Room.
■ One of the first elements I designed was the narrow, one bottle-deep oak shelf that wraps around the kitchen. It can be styled with decorative objects but it’s also very useful for storage as it doesn’t make the space feel cluttered.
■ My wife and I have a natural affinity for grey, green and blue tones. We painted the timber cupboards in Taubmans ‘Dwarf Spruce’. I wasn’t interested in them looking flat – I wanted the texture of the grain to come through. It then felt like the walls needed an intense shade to absorb the colour, so we used ‘Deep Ocean’ from Dulux.
■ The surfaces are Cortona quartz, which is tougher than marble in terms of staining and marking, though it still has veining. The soft grey is unshowy, it matches the floorboards and suits the joinery beautifully.
■ I think it’s really important to have art in the kitchen. A lot of people fill up the space with shelves and storage but I think leaving room for artwork, which contributes to the look, is vital.
■ The thing I love most about the kitchen is the banquette seating around the dining table. It’s a social hub; friends and family all seem to very naturally slide into the booth, and the leather will develop a lovely patina as it ages, too. richardsstanisich.com
MY KITCHEN ESSENTIALS
What’s playing? I’m a big music lover so there is always something on. I play Apple music through our Bang & Olufsen speaker system: anything from Nina Simone to Kanye West.
Shopping-list staple? We have a largely vegetarian and seafood diet, so we’re always buying organic vegetables and good-quality olive oil.
What kind of cook are you? My food is very simple: I like to barbecue fish such as snapper, whiting and prawns, and serve it with lemon, sea salt and crispy chips. My wife is an incredible cook, far more skilled than me, and she loves making recipes by a lot of British chefs, especially Nigel Slater.
Everyday utensil? I have a great brass bottle opener from Everyday Needs. I love cracking a beer open before dinner.
Favourite appliance? My wife makes a delicious mango and passion fruit ice-cream with our Cuisinart ice-cream maker.
CORA LUCAZ interior designer
While they were living in the embassy quarter of Copenhagen, the townhouse next door to Lucaz and her partner Kristian came up for sale. The pair transformed the property from two flats into a family home with a light and spacious kitchen.
■ Oak flooring is typical in classic 19th-century townhouses. I wanted to reinstate it but in a modern way, with underfloor heating. As the room is so spacious, I used a large herringbone pattern and three different oil colours to create more interest.
■ The island is important as it’s the main space for food preparation. I designed it to be simple and streamlined so the top is made from one piece of marble, which was shipped over from Sicily. It was built by Malte Gormsen, a local cabinetmaker.
■ The cupboards that run along the back wall each have a different function. One is a coffee station, another houses the dishwasher, and there are pocket doors that slide in-between each section. When they are closed, the look is clean-lined and minimal, and if we’re entertaining, all the dirty glasses can be hidden away, too.
■ The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Elephant’s Breath’ and the cupboards in ‘Dove Tale’. Copenhagen has a lot of dark months, so I opted for soft colours to make the room feel cosy. That’s also whyI chose the House of Finn Juhl ‘Japan’ sofa and ‘720 Lady’ arm chair by Marco Zanuso for Cassina. I wanted to introduce different shapes and colours, and somewhere for guests to sit while we’re cooking.
■ We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. We’re a little way out of central Copenhagen so when we’re home, we’re home. Instead of meeting friends in a restaurant, now people come to us and either we cook or we hire a chef for the evening. suite-07.com
MY KITCHEN ESSENTIALS
Soundtrack? We have built-in speakers in the ceiling and the first thing I do in the morning is put on music. What we listen to changes depending on the time of year: in the summer it’s house and electronic; in the winter, we prefer classical and jazz.
Fridge staple? Hummus because it goes with almost everything.
Most used gadget? Our ECM Manufacture coffee machine – I love lattes. We’ve been taking a coffee-making course; we’re really nerdy about our beans (we buy them from local roaster Tim Wendelboe) and the milk, which has to be oat.
Signature dish? We have an open fire in the kitchen which we use for cooking as well as warmth. I like to grill lamb chops; the smoky taste from the flames is fantastic.
Must-have utensil? An oyster knife. There’s not much else you can use to open an oyster properly and it’s something we eat a lot of when they are in season.
ADAM RICHARDS architect
Designed by Richards as a contemporary home for himself, his wife and their three children, Nithurst Farm in the South Downs National Park, Sussex, was shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year in 2019.
■ The 1979 Tarkovsky film Stalker, which is about a journey into a forbidden zone where dreams come true, influenced the design of the house. The characters pass through an antechamber and our main kitchen, dining and living space is modelled on this.
■ We didn’t want a kitchen that looks like a kitchen – we wanted it to feel like a natural part of the larger space. I hate overhead cupboards, so we have an island for storage instead. As well as pull-out drawers, there’s space for two dishwashers. It’s a forum for family life.
■ There’s a good tea-making triangle between the island, the kettle and the fridge, which is in the larder. We have high-level cupboards in there that are out of sight, alongside a wall of open shelves. My wife never closes doors, so there was no point putting one in there.
■ The top of the island is an old slate billiards table and the other surfaces are zinc. The great thing about zinc is that it immediately marks and gains a patina. That really chimes with the house because, even though it’s modern, we’re trying to achieve the character of somewhere ancient without faking it.
■ The pink wool curtains were inspired by a detail in the medieval painting Saint Jerome in his Study by Hendrik van Steenwijk II. I knew that this big space would need softening and the pink fabric looks lovely against the grey walls.
■ We picked up the dining table at auction. It’s great that it’s round, partly because there are five of us, and partly because it echoes the circle of the arched window. adamrichards.co.uk
MY KITCHEN ESSENTIALS
Music choice? It has to be BBC Radio 6 Music because it isn’t mainstream. You can hear everything from punk to blues.
Main family cook? My wife. She seems to be able to rustle up lunch for 25 without struggling. When I occasionally cook, it’s like watching a slow-motion car crash.
Favourite weekend breakfast? There’s often a pancake production line with the children attempting theatrical flipping.
Most-used recipe book? We have lots of cookbooks; I’m always buying them for my wife who then tries a recipe found online. She’ll often use Ottolenghi’s Simple though.
Most-treasured kitchen item? We have a few boxes of old-fashioned cutlery; one came from the antiques market at Kempton Park Racecourse and the other belonged to my parents. When we cook for lots of people, it’s what we use.
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration April 2020.
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