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Nerves of steel

Nerves of steel

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Winner of the 2022 HIA South Australian Cabinetmaker/Kitchen Manufacturer award, Artisan Joinery produced a real one-of-a-kind kitchen.

Kerryn Ramsey

Content Writer

When joiner and HIA member Stefan Koliopoulos was offered the chance to produce a conceptual kitchen for a creative couple, he had no hesitation taking on the job. As owner of Artisan Joinery at O’Sullivan Beach, a seaside suburb in Adelaide’s south, he relishes the chance to tackle challenging projects.

‘We take on residential jobs that no-one else wants,’ explains Stefan, who has been running his building business since 2019. ‘When a project is really difficult, we just nip in and make it happen.’

Although Stefan has a fearless approach, he was almost overwhelmed by this recent kitchen project, which was part of a full new build in the Adelaide suburb of Millswood.

His team collaborated with the architecture and interior design firm DAS Studios, building firm Belperio Developments and, of course, the clients. The wife is a distinguished chef and the husband specialises in steel fabrication, so the project was influenced by their areas of expertise and required plenty of originality, precision and functionality during the build.

‘It was a long process to get this up and running because there were so many details that went back and forth between the designers, architects and builders,’ Stefan says. ‘Not to mention the owners who were very meticulous. They were there almost every night, making sure each element was what they wanted.’

Combining brass with a dark kitchen adds texture, richness and depth
The stunning kitchen in Millswood, SA, utilises a Dekton benchtop in Bergen Stonika

Completed towards the end of 2021, the result of all that careful planning and execution produced a sophisticated home with its kitchen a masterclass in material cohesion.

The layout, which involved two sinks, extensive cooking appliances, orderly storage and well-thought-out lighting, is designed to make guests comfortable. ‘The priority was to entertain guests while cooking,’ says Stefan.

While the kitchen has a sensual, moody vibe, plenty of natural light filters in through the wall-to-wall glass in the living and dining spaces, and a bank of windows near the pantry.

Apart from the functionality, the sultry colour scheme added real impact. The integration of Cosentino’s Dekton Fossil surface – a matte texture on the benchtop and splashback – created an intimate ambience.

The designers were conscious of adding other elements to brighten and counterbalance the predominantly dark tones. A Dekton Bergen surface, with a Stonika x-gloss finish for the island, was complemented by a light herringbone timber underfoot.

Dekton’s durability is a standout when it comes to designing stunning spaces, such as this kitchen. Made from a mixture of inorganic raw materials, this striking surface doesn’t date or fade over time. It also is highly resistant to heat, scratching and staining.

While the chef/co-owner was thrilled with the materials and products, her husband was deeply involved with the build.

Stefan explains: ‘Using his steel fabrication trade, we worked collaboratively with him to incorporate brass sheets that were overlayed on the cabinet doors. Combining this metal with a dark kitchen adds texture, richness and real depth. The 16mm, black melamine doors were clad in brass as one of the main features. We had to take into consideration the thickness of the brass, as this would change the door gaps.’

Dekton’s durability is a standout when designing stunning spaces
Brushed brass cabinet doors are a favourite element, says the client couple

In addition, the chocolate-hued floor-to-ceiling timber battens were supplied by the client. ‘We didn’t machine it ourselves, but we had to cut to make them all fit. The owner wanted it to grain-match so every single piece of timber was individually installed.’

It was Stefan’s determination and inventiveness that appealed to the HIA judges, who selected this as the 2022 HIA South Australian Cabinetmaker/Kitchen Manufacturer award winner. ‘When the judges visited, the materials really wowed them. It’s certainly a unique look,’ Stefan explains.

Overall, the Millswood kitchen is a true reflection of the owners’ trades – as well as their personalities. For Stefan, the collaboration with the clients provided real satisfaction.

‘There’s no such thing as a problem,’ he says. ‘It’s simply a challenge – that’s what we say on the job here. This is how I run all my projects, particularly high-end jobs. My goal is always about getting my customer a better result.’

A Dekton Bergen surface with a Stonika x-gloss finish for the island
The owner wanted it to grain-match so every single piece of timber was individually installed’
Stefan Koliopoulos, Artisan Joinery

Name changer

Stefan Koliopoulos says his evolution from qualified tradesman to successful business owner has been a journey in balancing family life and financial pressures, while determining the best path to long-term stability. After buying a stake in his employer’s business, Cabinets Direct Group, there came an opportunity to buy it outright and take it in a new direction.

‘When I started my apprenticeship, the business had three staff members. Today we’ve grown to 10 and are preparing to expand further with another apprentice and cabinetmaker,’ he says.

‘Trying to push the business into architectural, residential joinery brought a new challenge. Cabinets Direct Group wasn’t attracting the clientele I was hoping for, so I rebranded as Artisan Joinery, and that’s been a game-changer.’

With the ‘artisan’ reference, the business has attracted more high-end projects. ‘The name change has definitely helped,’ Stefan says, ‘but it’s our workmanship and attention to detail that has been our real success story.’

Architect

DAS Studios

Builder

Belperio Developments

Cabinetmaker

Artisan Joinery

Award

2022 HIA South Australian Cabinetmaker/Kitchen Manufacturer

Millswood kitchen at a glance

  • Lower cabinetry: timber battens
  • Overhead cabinetry: brass sheets. Finish: brushed brass patinated
  • Benchtops: Dekton 12mm thick. Finish: Fossil Natural
  • Island: Dekton 12mm thick. Finish: Bergen Stonika
  • Walls between kitchen and pantry: Laminex with black finish: Nuance (vertical grain)
  • Handles: Häfele profile handles with black finish
  • Floor: Tasmanian Oak.

First published on 8 Mar 2023

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