A sea-facing city provides a fascinating space, rarely explored. The City Kitchen + ? ? Cleat Construction, based in Melbourne, Australia, planned to be an exceptional kitchen and dining space at the rear of a small lot fronting the ocean. Because of the limited square footage available, a custom-built kitchen / dining space was chosen. The kitchen was hand-hewn locally, and because a paneling / window shutter system was not possible to have the kitchen level flush with the exterior, a simple two-level height difference was achieved. The architectural detail of the house and street-facing elevation make for a quiet exterior presence that can be enjoyed as the property’s seasonally appropriate environment.

Street side of the home is largely transparent, providing diamond-shaped vistas from the kitchen and living area over the street to the ocean beyond. A weatherboard drop down curfew wall / mid-door bench / sofa offers a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the view.

When arriving at the house, the first thing you see are the interiors. Doors with a unique shape, thin horizontal bars and curved saw-through shelves, along with hidden closets and wardrobe closets, all built from salvaged whitewashed timbers. These have been left exposed in order to showcase the existing timbers rather than being hidden inside the overall design of the house. Visually, the home is largely wooden, with a fluently patterned carpet / seating area providing input for a multitude of spatial qualities, from the sophisticated to the unassuming.

The home’s aesthetic is more aggressively geometric and colourful, with header strips of earth-tone wood, a central island bench and dining table, and suspended ceiling footage. The home is also heavy on neutral, natural tones, with the kitchen cabinets in tones of grey (hardwood) and white (crisal wood), and the island center having light-cherry coloured wood. The dining table and chairs pick up on the angles of the architectural framework, and the architect’s landmark chain link detail is an eye-catching schematic feature.

As the night draws closer, ambient lighting fills the home’s rotational spaces. At the ceiling, a row of skylights encircles the ceiling, where needed, to bring in more daylight. At the interior nightstand, two intersecting rectangles are cut out of the rectangular metal structure, providing internal lighting for readability and for the glazing, which is cut out from the front just above the shelving. In the master bedroom, a long, low vertical strip of mirror runs the length of the window to visually offset the aspect of the room and bring in light from both sides. A grid of three different, smaller squares is carved into the wall, providing a dynamic concept of organization for the master space.

On the main floor, avant-garde touches are enhanced by touches of vintage and well-made design items, as the sparse, coin-like stool and side table. Carved into the wall on one side, a trio of small, simple mirrors creates an optical illusion that reflects light back onto the room, increasing the space visually, and creating more of an atmosphere of rest and relaxation than would have been otherwise. A palette of colorful roman shades is used for the base of the mirrors; in the middle, a solid blue portrait dominates the dramatic focus. To add height and depth, a carved wood pipe is positioned at the top of the console to form a side table, ideal as a secondary nightstand if desired.

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