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Bold as brass

Photography: Christopher Morrison

Bold as brass

Photography: Christopher Morrison
{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
It took fearless ingenuity by Craig Linke Bespoke Building to transform the dated interior of an historical Adelaide hotel into this vibrant entertainer’s kitchen worthy of a national award.

Laura Valic


When an Adelaide couple spotted the signage of a local construction company, they didn’t know they would soon be contracting just the right team to restore the interior of their grand two-storey stone and red-brick heritage building.

New to the area, Susan and Tan fell in love with the character of the old Burnside Hotel – a relic from 1883 that had long ceased to trade as a public house. The structure had good bones and irreplaceable features, such as an incredible leadlight living room ceiling. But it also possessed an awkward layout leftover from a past renovation which had split the place into two separate residences.

Therefore, the goal was to transform the floor plan into a functional space for everyday family life while allowing them to regularly host (and wow!) family and friends in their historic house.

Once the couple consulted with builder and HIA member Craig Linke of Craig Linke Bespoke Building in 2020, they didn’t look back, secure in the knowledge that the firm possessed the essential project management expertise and skilled trades for the complexities of the remodel. Craig had worked some years prior for a London-based bespoke joinery company that specialised in high-end character buildings. He says it was an experience that consolidated his passion for restoring older homes and guided the direction of his new building business upon returning to Australia in 2014. 

Craig Linke Bespoke Building won the 2023 HIA Australian Kitchen of the Year award

'We work predominantly on renovations and contemporary additions for character homes in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs,’ Craig says of his growing 22-strong team. ‘Much of the high-level detailed work we do on heritage properties replicates how the home was built initially with the same materials and methodologies.’

The scope of the old hotel’s refurbishment would include removing walls to create one residence, reconfiguring two kitchens into one large one with a butler’s pantry, replacing windows to heritage regulations and restoring the original cellar. Architecture firm Atelier Bond collaborated with the clients for nearly 12 months to conceptualise a glamorous new kitchen, tapping into Susan and Tan’s personalities and preferences. The well-travelled former bar owners and self-described foodies had an eclectic conversion in mind – a sophisticated yet playful explosion of colours, textures and materials.

The original leadlight ceiling had to be carefully protected during demolition and construction
Specialised aged brass details create a glamorous effect in the hidden butler’s pantry

Craig says demolition included ripping out the floors and ceiling which created a large void in the middle of the house. ‘We love this kind of work – our team is extremely experienced, so we’re not intimidated coming into projects like this,’ he explains. ‘You just have to be extremely careful. We discovered there were different heights to the floor, and since the building is more than 100 years old, we had to prop up all the walls as we stripped it out due to the two stories above and cellar beneath.’

This process, which involved adding a Bondek suspended concrete slab, was one of the biggest challenges of the build, according to Craig. ‘It was engineered to support the significant weight of the stone flooring and island bench,’ he explains.

The finished floor’s palladiana design (an ancient technique that often resembles a puzzle of giant pieces) included three types of broken marble slab – Italian Calcatta, Statuario and Elba – selected for their durability and non-slip qualities. The stone chunks were hand laid, with a light grey terrazzo infill of white dove stone and flecks of gold chips. The 30-square-metre floor area was then ground, honed and polished before being sealed, taking about three weeks to complete.

The palladiana floor was made from three types of broken up marble, hand laid, with a light grey terrazzo infill of white dove stone and flecks of gold chips
Verdi Alpi, a decadent stormy sea-green marble, was chosen to elevate the space, vividly framing the rear servery window adjoining the formal living room. For balance, it’s used again as the oversized splashback at the preparation end of the kitchen and in the concealed butler’s pantry. 
Verdi Alpi marble dramatically frames the rear servery window, helping to elevate the space

It’s a compelling component but not the only one. Dominating the centre of the room is a Whispair twin cylinder rangehood hand-wrapped in aged brass, hanging within a custom-made canopy with recessed lighting around the edges.

Craig says this required significant building innovation to complete. ‘The aged brass element was very specialised,’ he explains. ‘We worked closely with a manufacturer to engineer the suspension of the canopy and with our supplier to achieve the patina effect. You only see the rods coming down from the ceiling, but there’s a lot hidden away to support the heavy load and ensure it functions.’

The aged brass twin cylinder rangehood sits within a custom-made canopy, with recessed lighting, over the granite island

The project certainly required the team’s creative thinking and skillset. While not as flamboyant perhaps as the marble or brass details, the generous island underneath the rangehood was another important element to execute with precision. Clad entirely with durable, low-maintenance Maris Grey granite, it features a 5mm shadow line to separate the carcass from the 100mm thick benchtop. A handcrafted granite sink bowl is mitred in seamlessly to create the illusion of one solid slab. The island is completed by a Miele induction cooktop, integrated push to open drawers and bar seating.

HIA judges believed the project pushed design and construction boundaries, awarding it the 2023 HIA Australian Kitchen of the Year. Nabbing their first national award was a thrilling moment for the Craig Linke Bespoke Building team. ‘I was in California waiting up for the results,’ Craig reveals. ‘When my team called with the news, we were all ecstatic. It’s massive for us.’

Completed after nine months of construction in April 2022, the team were delighted to be invited by the owners to experience this entertainer’s kitchen for themselves. Craig found the space highly conducive to relaxing – a pleasant way to end another successful bespoke building challenge for his firm.

Walnut timber veneer joinery with aged brass details pair with granite benchtops
The sophisticated entertainer's kitchen plays with colour, textures and materials

A royal connection

Built in 1883, Adelaide’s Burnside Hotel was a prominent public house with private quarters, run by the Logue family until 1909. Their eldest child, Lionel, became well-known for developing treatments for veterans with speech defects resulting from ‘shell shock’. The story of his most famous patient – a royal with a horrid stammer – was played out in the 2010 film, The King’s Speech, starring Australian Geoffrey Rush as Lionel and British actor Colin Firth as the Duke of York and future King George VI of England (the late Queen Elizabeth’s father).  


Craig Linke Bespoke Building


Atelier Bond


Adelaide, South Australia


Robam Kitchen Appliances


2023 HIA Australian Kitchen of the Year


  • Island bench, benchtops and sink: Maris Grey Granite, Ideal Stone, supplied by CDK
  • Servery and splashbacks: Verdi Alpi marble, Ideal Stone, supplied by CDK
  • Aged brass
  • Joinery/door fronts: walnut timber veneer
  • Flooring: Statuario, Calcatta and Elba Marbles, supplied by CDK
  • Taps: Gun metal Billi tap, supplied by Routleys
  • Appliances: Miele (induction cooktop and ovens); Fisher & Paykel (integrated fridge/freezer); Whispair rangehood.

First published on 1 Aug 2023

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