Impact Kitchens

Black to the future

Smart joinery solutions and high-tech hardware are flawlessly integrated within this award-winning kitchen’s bold monochromatic colour scheme.

Photo credit Anjie Blair


Gabrielle Chariton

The HIA Kitchen of the Year is a sleek, sophisticated space that has attracted plenty of industry recognition and taken its Tasmania-based creator, Rod Huizenga of Impact Kitchens, abroad not once, but twice.

Part of an architect-designed new home project in Launceston, the kitchen initially won the two major HIA Tasmania kitchen awards for 2017: Kitchen Design and Kitchen of the Year. Rod says it then went on to win the 2017 Häfele Australia Studio Partner Design Competition. The prize: a two-week tour of Europe including attending the EuroCucina Design show.

‘Following this, my wife (and partner in the business) Kirsten and I travelled to Singapore for the HIA Conference, and were absolutely thrilled to win the National Kitchen of the Year award.’

The kitchen forms a visually striking focal point within a contemporary, U-shaped house designed by architect Cumulus Studios and built by McCullagh Building. The client – who Rod has worked with several times before – wanted practical, easily concealed and clutter-free work zones; a streamlined aesthetic and space for entertaining. In meeting the brief, Rod designed some clever joinery solutions to maximise functionality throughout the space and deliver the requisite balance between form and function.

A flexible, hide-away breakfast zone ... is cleverly incorporated between the kitchen and the butler’s pantry

A flexible, hide-away breakfast zone, for example, is cleverly incorporated between the kitchen and the butler’s pantry. The space includes a benchtop plus dedicated storage for kettle, toaster, cereals and crockery. Rod used a floor-to-ceiling Häfele Hawa Concepta retractable door system, for full access to the entire space when open. The door slides neatly back into a niche in the joinery.

‘The flexibility to conceal breakfast and lunch preparations behind retractable doors appealed to our client, so it could be closed off and the mess cleaned later,’ Rod says.

Adjacent to the breakfast nook is a glamorous beverage station, fitted with feature display shelving, a mirror splashback with LED accent lighting, and an in-bench Billi tap for instant hot or chilled water. Overhead cupboards here (and throughout the entire kitchen) are fitted with Häfele Free-up flap doors; a neat, practical choice that ensures thoroughfares remain clear even when the cupboards are left open.

Visually, the kitchen is a study in simplicity and sophistication: the symmetrical lines of the cabinetry rendered in the finest detail.

‘The doors and panels are constructed from an acrylic melamine from Stylelite in Carbon Velvet,’ Rod explains.

The unique, gently tactile velvet finish adds depth and drama to the pared-back palette. The mirrored splashback behind the cooktop, glimmering with concealed LEDs, transforms the space with light and movement.

Impact Kitchens
Easily concealed and clutter-free work zones and a streamlined aesthetic
Photo credit Anjie Blair
Impact Kitchens
The unique, gently tactile velvet finish adds depth and drama to the pared-back palette
Photo credit Anjie Blair

The appliances are flawlessly integrated within the joinery, and even the smallest details have been addressed to maintain the clean, minimalist aesthetic, such as the inclusion of a 60mm cavity wall to the left of the cooktop to accommodate electrical wiring, powerpoints and light switches.

Rod says his favourite element of the kitchen is the imposing 3.4 metre island, which sweeps across the width of the room in a swathe of matte black and timber. Construction of the island was intricate: the benchtop is a wafer-fine 12mm sheet of the super-hard-wearing Dekton, an ultra-compact composite surface.

‘It was the first time I’d worked with [Dekton] and you do need sophisticated or different tooling to cut it,’ Rod says.

‘It’s actually very fragile while you’re working with it, but once installed, it’s heat, stain and impact resistant.’

The island’s timber waterfall edges were custom-designed by Rod and crafted from the same timber used on the ceiling of the adjoining sunken living room.

‘The reason we encased it like that was because the stone only comes in a certain length, and we wanted to try to equalise the length of the island compared to the cooktop section of cabinetry. So we put them on the outside, slightly raised just to give it that different look.’

To ensure visual cohesion, a Tasmanian oak frame underlines the Dekton on the breakfast bar side of the island.

Achieving such a seamless finish, Rod says, begins with ensuring every detail is perfect at the design stage

‘On the other side, we installed an undermount butler’s sink,’ Rod adds. And here, precision was everything: ‘We had to make sure it was all made to the millimetre.’

This meticulously-constructed kitchen showcases the creative and technical skills of every member of the Impact Kitchens team. And achieving such a seamless finish, Rod says, begins with ensuring every detail is perfect at the design stage.

‘There was a lot of prior work in making sure all the different heights and thicknesses on the benchtops and the sink would come together correctly.’

The client, he adds, ‘absolutely loves the kitchen, it’s everything that she had envisaged. We definitely delivered on what she was after.’ Her positive reaction prompted Rod to put the project onto the awards circuit, ultimately winning the 2018 HIA Australian Kitchen of the Year, sponsored by HIA Insurance Services.

‘We enter [the awards] to showcase our projects. Recognition for our work, especially winning, is great exposure and our existing and new clients can be confident in our workmanship.’

While Rod’s been entering projects in the HIA awards since 2011, and has collected eight state-level trophies in that time, the Ivy Lane kitchen scaled new heights with a national win. He’s thrilled to have brought Tasmanian talent into the spotlight. ‘This is the first time we’ve won nationally,’ he says proudly. ‘And it’s the first time a Tasmanian project has won the national Kitchen of the Year award.’

Impact Kitchens
To ensure visual cohesion, a Tasmanian oak frame underlines the Dekton on the breakfast bar side of the island
Photo credit Anjie Blair
Impact Kitchens
Häfele Free-up flap doors
Photo credit Anjie Blair

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