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Two to the power of one

The Sunday Age

Sunday March 20, 2011

Ann Pilmer

PRESERVING THE PAST FOR A BETTER FUTURE SET A SPECIAL CHALLENGE. Designer Amanda Richmond created a kitchen with the lot in this small South Yarra apartment by making the kitchen and dining room one. External walls couldn't be touched as the apartment is in the classified Robin Boyd-designed Domain Park Towers, South Yarra, one of Victoria's first high rises, on the corner of Domain Road and Park Street.This also meant wires couldn't be inset or "chased", so builder Kieran O'Donnell had to construct bulkheads to hide them and a sprinkler system.The 18-storey building, built in 1960, has a wall of aluminium windows that look like the latest thing. Certainly there's no vast expanse of retractable doors, but there's a small door to a balcony.This makes furniture placement easier, but the bonus is the view into the leafy elm trees flanking Birdwood Avenue, beside the Botanic Gardens."The lot" in that sleek, new space includes a cupboard laundry beside the integrated refrigerator, storage for the vacuum cleaner, computer and phone points, and a filing drawer, along with the latest appliances.Owners Marg and Phil Carey are delighted with the transformation. Mrs Carey is a keen cook, but keeps kitchen equipment to a minimum because she uses a Thermomix food processor that seems to do just about everything but serve food. "I haven't used a saucepan in two years," she says.The original square kitchen had a servery to the dining room with a wall dividing the kitchen and living room. Now with the walls gone Mrs Carey can enjoy the view while she cooks or uses the phone or computer at the kitchen bench. "It's all here. I live in my kitchen," she says.A small cupboard opening to the living room hides the vacuum cleaner. An ironing board folds away under the bench with an ironing/sewing cupboard underneath.Ms Richmond also revamped the bathroom, bedroom and study where she and Mrs Carey are developing their new accessory business, Fourrures, making fur, leather and suede collars and cuffs.The Careys moved two years ago from a large Victorian house in East Malvern. They did some serious downsizing with the overflow of furniture going to their house at Cowes. "I was a little apprehensive," says Mrs Carey. "But I don't feel claustrophobic even though I'm tall, because of the outlook and the space. The view envelops you."Ms Richmond kept colours simple so they didn't detract from the view. She and Mrs Carey regularly walk among the gum trees near the Yarra River, so the colour scheme evolved to reflect them.Cupboards are timber-look Laminex, paintwork is ecru and white. The kitchen includes lots of drawers and the pale granite benches are 960 millimetres high so Mrs Carey doesn't have to stoop.Cantilevered cupboards with task lighting underneath went on the kitchen's back wall over the sink to give a floating effect. Wide oak boards covered the original concrete floor.Ms Richmond included built-ins to maximise space and Mrs Carey worked with Zuster to get furniture that was right for the living and dining TIPS€“Don't be limited by narrow doors or openings.€“A workspace can be easily incorporated ‚€¯ and disguised ‚€¯ in a kitchen.€“Design for how you live and will use a space.

Ā© 2011 The Sunday Age

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