Small thinking makes a big impact

Rejuvenating a narrow terrace kitchen proved quite a test.
By · 9 Nov 2013
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9 Nov 2013
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Rejuvenating a narrow terrace kitchen proved quite a test.

It was a battle of small spaces. Faced with designing a small kitchen in a four-storey two-bedroom Sydney terrace that is so compact it can only fit one or two rooms per floor, architect Justin Quinlan and his team had to figure out how to make the space flow while tucking in the maximum amount of storage.

There was also a major issue of light, as the kitchen suffered from being far from its only light source - a south-facing door.

"That little space, which is really just one room, still needed to have dining, it still needed to be a fully functioning kitchen, it needed an informal living area, and the only way we could get that to happen in a meaningful way was through working really hard with how we used that space," says Quinlan, director of The Quinlan Group, who oversaw the design with project architect Leonie Dawson and builder Wilson Baros of Detailed Finishes.

The solution was to incorporate a wraparound benchtop that curves out from the kitchen before narrowing and dipping down into the

adjacent lounge area, where it

flows into a seamless bench underneath the wall-mounted television.

"The bench … directs traffic as you come off the stairs and directs you out into the living area, so it serves to partially separate the kitchen from the living area," says Quinlan. At the same time, it connects the spaces.

Quinlan's team had brightened the kitchen and lounge by making the walls and cabinetry all white and stretching the rear door to the entire five-metre width of the Darlinghurst terrace. However, it still needed more pizzazz.

"What we wanted to do is to really have some vibrancy and light in there, which is where this idea of using the citrus yellow came from in the splashback," says Quinlan. "When you walk into that space, you get this kind of a 'wow' of colour, as opposed to 'this is dark' and set back into the house," he adds. The colour chosen was Dulux Viagra (P18H7).

An LED light strip hidden under the upper cabinets illuminates the splashback and the 60mm Corian glacier-white benchtop, and can switched on from the room's entrance.

To give a feeling of extra space, the team used MDF kickboards with a mirrored acrylic silver finish under the limed walnut veneer cabinets.

"It looks like the joinery is floating and gives you a perception of space within the area," says Quinlan.

Cabinetry was added to the void under the stairs for the laundry, walk-in cellar and pantry. The cost of the project was about $30,000.

Quinlan says by far the best way to utilise space in a kitchen is to install drawers in the lower cabinetry. "It just makes much better use of lower cupboards if you can access the back of them really quickly," he says.

Quinlan is also a fan of pull-out pantries and space-saving fittings from the Hafele group. "Hafele have a huge number of products … specifically designed for corner cupboards," he says. "When you open a door they rotate outwards."

This kitchen has a half-circle revolving corner cabinet fitting by Hafele. Similar fittings range from about $400 to $600.


'What we wanted to do is to really have some vibrancy and light in there.' Justin Quinlan
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