An open invitation

An open invitation

Long custom handles on the drawers of the granite-topped island add to the elegant play of lines and proportions

An open invitation" alt="The compact kitchen flows from the living room and opens to the wet kitchen behind and the wraparound patio at the left

Most striking about the contemporary space is the teak cabinet that interlocks with the Corian shelving, creating a contrast of warm wood and neutral hues. Within sight in the wet kitchen is a ladder shelf holding tea and spices.

Teak used in the interlocking cabinet is repeated in the cutlery drawer for continuity while the eclectic collection of crockery reflects the versatile sensibilities of the homeowner

A side shelf holding culinary books inject a dash of colour, as do the vases on the countertops and the lacquer pots on the top of the cabinet

-A +A

This article first appeared in haven, The Edge Malaysia, on Issue #78 April + May 2016.

Warm and welcoming, this kitchen is designed for intimate family time and frequent entertaining

A homeowner’s clear vision and an interior design company’s expertise come together beautifully in the understated kitchen of a Damansara Heights home. Designed to cater for both private dining and frequent entertaining, an open layout sees the kitchen as a natural extension to the living room, subtly bordered by a granite-topped island. The compact size of the area requires optimisation of storage space — the island houses long drawers marked by elegant custom handles that uphold the linearity of the overall aesthetic.

The same clean lines are echoed in the flowing cabinetry that stretches across the connecting walls in an L shape. A refrigerator is concealed behind steel sheets. An interlocking teak shelf cuts through the neutral built-in Corian cabinet, the open shelving and warm hue of the former lending an intriguing contrast to the design. The longer one looks, the more evident the meticulous detail of the cabinetry becomes: drawers are set in so the framing protrudes, creating a subtle play of depth and dimension.

“That’s what makes it work: the proportions, the lines, the contrast of textures,” says the homeowner. She pulls open the top leftmost drawer and points out how the use of teak is reiterated in the custom-made cutlery drawer, an example of continuity.

Creating an illusion of greater space is a mirror where the island meets a recess in the cabinet, reflecting the lushness of the wraparound patio outside. It’s a small touch but one of great impact, immediately infusing a lively dash of green into the kitchen. Colour is further injected with an eclectic collection of crockery that can traced back to all corners of the world: delightful mugs the colour of the sea handmade by a man on a Japanese island and beautiful plates picked up from Cambodia and around Scandinavia. Some pieces have more sentimental value than others — a clay pot for baking potatoes currently sitting on the stove was a wedding present.

Some of the larger furniture pieces are sourced from stores in the Klang Valley. The stools around the island were picked up from Gudang while the ladder shelf that holds jars of spices and tea in the wet kitchen behind was purchased at Janine. This juxtaposition of contemporary and classic as well as handmade and manufactured result in an organic, relaxed feel.

“Many homeowners try to emulate the look of, say, Italian kitchens but those don’t necessarily translate well in all contexts,” says the homeowner. “I think you have to look at your entire environment and see what works best for you. Some ideas can be unexpected but they work. My son suggested we place these two lacquer pots on the top of the cabinet and it creates a very interesting visual. I like how the entire kitchen looks from the living room; the back lighting glows especially warmly. The designers did a really good job.”

While the actual dining room is a large and airy space to the right of the kitchen, the family frequently has breakfast and dinner at the island and guests tend to congregate here as well. “When entertaining, which we do often, we usually appoint the island as the buffet table,” the homeowner says. “At Christmas, there were two large turkeys and heaping bowls of salad on the island and everyone just gathered informally around it — it was quite lovely.”