Pretty in pink

With a perfect pop of pink, seamless integration and millimetre-perfect execution, the 2019 HIA Australian Kitchen Design project takes Scandi styling to the next level.


Gabrielle Chariton

While the kitchen is often described as the heart of the home, design duo Darren Genner and Simona Castagna of Minosa believe it’s evolving into something more akin to a nerve centre, fully integrated within the primary living spaces. As such, the balance between form and function requires a finer calibration: ‘We’re wanting kitchens that can be opened up or closed away as needed; kitchens that perform well but look more like furniture,’ Darren says. 


The 2019 HIA Australian Kitchen Design project is the ultimate interpretation of this concept. Designed by Minosa as part of a larger renovation of a terrace house in Paddington, Sydney, its lovely clean-cut lines and furniture-like aesthetic conceal an ergonomic, highly functional workhorse. 
minosa kitchen design
Seamless fully-tiled door
minosa kitchen storage
The appliance cupboard has a dedicated home for everything from the Mixmaster to the toaster
It was the third time Simona and Darren had worked with the client – which afforded a certain familiarity with their tastes and lifestyle requirements, but also put expectations at an all-time high. 

‘It had to be a beautiful statement piece, a showcase – the best one yet,’ Darren explains. ‘The brief was to create an entertainer’s kitchen – a space that connected well with the living room; it had to be highly functional, but they didn’t want it to feel like a kitchen when not in use.’ 

Unfortunately, the existing kitchen space was as small as the clients’ wish list was long. It was also impractical: long and narrow, awkwardly positioned between the dining and living rooms, and with potential alterations restricted by the presence of a structural steel beam and the existing slab. To overcome these issues, Darren decided to create a whole new canvas and shift the kitchen to the rear of the space. 
white pink cupboards
The clients’ children are all keen chefs, so the kitchen had to comfortably accommodate up to four cooks at once
pink seating kitchen
Fully integrated within the primary living spaces
Challenges did remain, however: the flow of the 5.4 x 3.8m space was broken by three separate doorways: ‘There were three transition points into that space: to the garage at the rear, the adjoining courtyard and the opening into the dining room,’ Darren says. Additionally, the clients’ children are all keen chefs, so the kitchen had to comfortably accommodate up to four cooks at once. 

Minosa’s solution was to develop a highly ergonomic U-shaped layout, divided into distinct zones: water, fire, appliances (fridge, ovens and small appliances), prep and serving. ‘We’ve got the sink on one side, the cooktop on the back wall, storage and prep on the island, and all the taller cooking elements and fridge integrated behind cabinetry on the far wall.’ The same run of cabinetry also houses an appliance cupboard, which includes power and has a dedicated home for everything from the Mixmaster to the toaster.

This clever concealment of a kitchen’s inner workings – ‘making things disappear’ – is an art that Minosa has perfected over the years. The business employs specific hardware and construction techniques that allow the doors to slide away into cavities, enabling complete access to storage and appliances as required. ‘You’ve got to be very clever in your design and detailing; there are a lot of tricks to it,’ Darren says. ‘But there are some very good mechanisms on the market now from all the leading suppliers.’ 
minosa kitchen design

‘Making things disappear’ – is an art that Minosa has perfected over the years

The elegant Scandi styling was inspired primarily by ‘the need to try and make the space feel bigger, light and airy’. The dominant hue is white, with floor-to-ceiling handmade tiles taken right across the rear wall (including the door that leads into the garage), the splashback and the back of the island. The door and drawer fronts – crisp V-grooved two-pack polyurethane – are also white. The floors are a limewashed oak and the benches topped with wafer-fine slabs of dove-grey Dekton by Cosentino. Details elevate the look: retro circular handles, a pale timber-veneer reveal framing the sink, plus that showstopping pop of pink to the custom rangehood surrounds. 

The island, perched delicately in the centre of the room, features a whimsical timber-and-metal framework upon which the benchtop appears to float. 

‘We wanted it to be furniture-like, more like a table you could sit at,’ Darren explains. This is one example of where Minosa’s use of technology can help get clients over the line with interesting designs. ‘We do all our high-definition 3D rendering ourselves in the studio. When you’re showing someone such a unique island unit with legs like that, if you do that by hand drawing people wouldn’t get it, but by showing it in 3D they can understand the madness behind the theory.’
kitchen sink

The 2019 HIA Australian Kitchen Design project takes Scandi styling to the next level

Beyond aesthetics, the finishes were applied in a highly considered manner to conjure up visual space and smooth out the ‘bumps’ inherent in the home’s structure. 

‘There were changing ceiling lines and ceiling heights, and ducted airconditioning, so we had to do some clever things with bulkheads and LED uplights to create clean lines and increase the visual height of the space,’ Darren says. ‘When you’ve got a small space you’ve got to make sure that there’s no visual break in the lines. So, you’ll see that all the tiles on the splashback are full tiles up, full tiles across. 

‘Likewise, the door is full tiles – so there’s nothing breaking our visual “joy”. It’s all clean,’ he says, adding that achieving this intense detail called for a creative approach to construction: ‘In kitchens you usually put your kickboard in first and work upwards. But because we had a distinct line that we wanted to work from, which was the bulkhead, we had to work in reverse. We tiled the splashback first, before we put the ceiling in, because we had to determine where they were going to land, and then we worked down from that.’ 
kitchen decor
‘You’ve got to be very clever in your design and detailing’
white pink kitchen
‘This client has incredibly high standards; everything has to be millimetre perfect and perfectly functional’
Darren believes this painstaking attention to detail marks the difference between a good kitchen, and an award-winning kitchen. And ultimately, it’s also what gives him and Simona satisfaction as designers. 

‘This client has incredibly high standards; everything has to be millimetre perfect and perfectly functional. After the nervousness of the build and getting it in and finishing, when she cooked in it for the first time she sent me a message: “I love it”. That’s the best part. She absolutely loves it, and that’s what it’s all about.’

Paddington kitchen at a glance

Designer: Minosa
Location: Paddington, Sydney
  • Benchtop: Tech Collection, Strato finish by Dekton
  • Tiles: 100x100mm, handmade ceramic tile in white matte, Surface Gallery
  • Integrated appliances: Winning Appliances
  • Induction cooktop: Black glass, Winning Appliances
  • Tapware: Gessi Just, with pull out, black
  • Sink: Schock undermount sink in Magma finish
  • Handles: Pull handle, Flapjack in European Oak from In-Teria; Semi Round matt black from Index + Co
  • Sliding door systems: Hafele 
  • Inner draw storage and accessories: Lincoln Sentry
  • Paints: ‘Natural White’ and ‘Lilac Hunt’ by Dulux 

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