Dark 'n Stormy
Dan Gayfer Design
Bayside, VIC, Australia
Small yet meticulously assembled, Dark ‘n Stormy by Dan Gayfer Design literally must ‘weather the storm’ that is three lively, high-spirited and hungry young boys.
Previously, this three-level townhouse in bayside Melbourne was doing just fine until not one, not two but three boys came along. Suddenly, the existing kitchen and family room could not accommodate the now dynamic lifestyle of this young family.
In regard to built form the brief was relatively straightforward; extend the existing rear space to the boundary, replace the flooring and maximise natural light. Functionally was favoured over the usual storage solutions and the brief was more specific in that there were several requirements that were non-negotiables and not always associated with such a space. First and foremost, the new space needed to be highly flexible taking on the role of kitchen, casual dining and family room. Even so, a degree of openness needed to be retained to facilitate three young boys and their frenetic everyday routines, especially before, during and after meals. Subsequently, materials needed to be strong and robust, literally being able to weather this storm of kids and their activities.
Though meeting the demands of the children were a priority, the parents still had their own requirements. Being enthusiastic cooks, an abundance of clear bench space was required as was pantry, appliance and utensil space. Having assembled an extensive collection of wine and spirits over the years, the design needed to incorporate not only concealed storage but shelving for glassware and an element to stock frequently used liquor that could be easily accessed. Aesthetically, no specific direction was given other than it reflected the robust, durable and highly workmanlike solutions that were explored to meet the above brief.
Upon extending the rear space, substantial steel beams and channels were implemented to support the floors above. These prominent elements became a departure point for the design concept both functionally and aesthetically. It was decided that a number of custom elements would also be fabricated from steel to maximise resilience, these located throughout the space in the form of a drinks bar, indoor planter and storage nook under the island bench. Each steel element is finished in the stormy tone of Dulux ‘Oolong’; dark in unison these steel elements somewhat take on a sculptural role in addition to fulfilling their functional requirements.
Maintaining the theme of robust and hardworking materials, concrete & 12mm thick porcelain (both bench tops), timber and tile make up the material palette. The tile, lining an entire wall for maximum protection, is especially important in that its glaze was developed to assist with cleaning – this feature priceless for the family. Offsetting this industrious like palette is the aforementioned indoor steel planter that is filled with lush plant foliage bringing green tones and softness to the space.
Clean, long benches provide ample work space for food preparation even when appliances are taken into consideration. The concrete island bench cantilevers 1250mm at one end creating a dining space for 5 people whilst designated nooks at each end of the porcelain bench conceals larger appliances, such as the coffee machine, without negating its use. An extensive cook book collection is housed in a customised wall unit as is various cooking apparatus including woks and paella pans. The requirements of the wine and spirit collection are met through several solutions. Drinks to be easily accessed are located above the main sink via a suspended bar whilst the aforementioned wall unit also incorporates both storage for wine and open shelving for glassware.
Overall, a distinctive yet highly functional and flexible space has been created employing a carefully crafted set of materials selected to withstand the rigours of a young, highly active family.
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