We delve into the details of a classic, hardworking kitchen by Kate Walker Design inside a Victorian-era family home transformation in Melbourne.
Kate Walker Design were asked to link the traditional front of a home in Kew, Melbourne, with its new architectural, zinc-clad rear extension. Walking the line between classic and contemporary, the Kate Walker Design team have brought a refreshing sense of modernity to the century-old home through timeless materials and finishes that reflect the home’s heritage.
We spoke to director Kate Walker on the importance of hardwearing and practical elements for family living and how she executed a balance of old-meets-new throughout the home.
An oversized rangehood clad in Super White Dolomite stone seamlessly blends with the splashback, contrasting the textural leather-finished island bench.
Kate Walker Design carefully restored the front part of this family home, painted soft grey to link with the new extension. A curved archway references the openings from the original home, now reinterpreted in a smooth, plastered finish, leading into the monochrome kitchen at the rear of the home. Kate Walker says one of the critical components of the clients’ brief was for a sense of surprise in the kitchen. “The extension is quite a juxtaposition to the original home. You walk into the kitchen from the hallway, and you have to turn around to view the space, so we wanted to make it a spin-worthy design,” Kate says.
Bringing this ‘spin worthy’ design vision to life, Kate Walker Design experimented with scale and proportion in the oversized Super-White Dolomite-clad rangehood – what Kate dubs as the ‘piece-de-resistance’ of the kitchen. “While it is a very classic way to design a rangehood, we made it look ultra-modern with the supersized scale of it,” Kate Walker says. “It wasn’t until it was installed that we grasped what an amazing feat of engineering it was, and the impact the incredible scale of the rangehood would have,” she adds.
Catering to the necessary storage requirements for family living, Kate Walker design introduced a butler’s pantry, integrated refrigeration and a clever bar and coffee station concealed behind bi-fold doors. “Bespoke joinery design is the best solution for ensuring the usability of a kitchen. This way, the bar can open every night at 5 pm but can also be closed off for the morning school rush,” Kate says.
Shaker profiled-cabinetry taps into the heritage of the home, wrapped in a chip-resistant vinyl finish. Industrial matte black elements like the joinery hardware, pull-out kitchen mixer and Falcon freestanding cooker modernise the home and create a subtle tension between styles.
“Appliances are no longer just a functional consideration for a kitchen – they can be very aesthetically pleasing and really enhance the design and mood of the space. The freestanding cooker is a traditional concept, but the contemporary design lines blend the two eras beautifully.”
– Kate Walker
A cleverly concealed bar and coffee station behind bi-fold doors allow for flexible entertaining and keeps the kitchen clutter-free.
When it came to specifying the appliances, Kate Walker says the black Falcon Professional+ FX 100cm duel fuel range cooker inspired the overall kitchen design. “We don’t actually start the design process until the appliances are selected,” Kate says. “We build the design around the appliances to combine form and function.”
Designed and made in Britain since 1830, Falcon is the worlds oldest range cooker manufacturer. With two electric multi-function ovens, a built-in grill and five gas burners including a ring burner, a wok cradle and a non-stick griddle plate, the Falcon Professional+ FX 100cm duel fuel range cooker was a perfect fit for the Kew House, allowing the client to cook multiple family meals at once. Aside from its cooking capabilities, Kate Walker says the contemporary design of the traditional cooker provided a harmonious blend between two eras, akin to the rest of the home. “Appliances are no longer just a functional consideration for a kitchen; they can be very aesthetically pleasing and really enhance the design and mood of the space,” Kate says.
Kate Walker Design’s Kew House kitchen evokes a real sense of modern sophistication. Through a consistent design narrative, Kate Walker has lifted cues from the charming bones of the Victorian home, following a timeless interior scheme that ensures the home will continue to meet its family’s needs.
Herringbone European oak flooring forms the foundation of the home.