This Forever Kitchen’s Structural Steel Beams Serve a Second Purpose: Spice Storage
A built-in sliding cutting board also makes life simpler.
Published Jul 17, 2023 2:30 AM
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When New Zealand–based architect Raimana Jones’s clients told him their Titirangi home would (hopefully) be their forever one, a list of boxes to tick followed—particularly for the 156-square-foot kitchen. At the top was an open floor plan that would allow them to see into the living room (it was previously closed off by a wall of pea green melamine cabinets from the 1990s) and an extra-long peninsula with room for food prep and seating. Some more unusual requests followed: a dedicated area for pasta making, a built-in sliding cutting board, and a hidden compost bin.
The first stipulation required some coordination with an engineer and a steel fabrication company to install l-beams where the old wall used to be, which everyone was nervous wouldn’t fit inside the house. Luckily they came in separate parts so they could be welded on-site as the frame for the peninsula, the custom pivot lights by Tom Lopes, and a spice rack. Jones, who has always been fascinated by utilitarian interiors, notes he frequently referenced the Frankfurt kitchen by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky while working on this project with his business partner at Atelier Jones, Mathilde Polmard. “It was built for the efficiency of tasks in mind, and I appreciate the integration of small elements such as built-in aluminum pouring bins for storing flour and spices,” he says. Here are four hardworking details we never knew we needed in a kitchen until now.
A Suspended Spice Station
Jones’s favorite storage solution is hands down the magnetic spice jars that attach to a wood block above the peninsula (on the other side, the cubby provides open shelving). “I think it is always nice when spices are visible in a kitchen,” he says. “Being exposed to their colors and aromas can give you inspiration.”
Jones and his team tested the height of the box on-site before installing it to ensure it wouldn’t cut off the view of anyone sitting in the adjacent lounge area but would still be easy to reach—they landed on 6 feet. And the bar hung beneath it? That’s a place for homeowners a spot to hang dried herbs.
A Cutting Board That Moves
One of the later additions to the kitchen was the built-in cutting board that can be slid from one end of the stainless steel surface peninsula to the other. The permanent piece was crafted from leftover wood from the butcher block countertop. For a seamless look when it’s in its corner resting spot, the board slopes down on one side.
A Proper Place for Pasta Night
The designated pasta-making area is just to the left of the sink. After whipping together the dough on the stainless steel peninsula, the owners roll everything over to the wood surface, where an open cavity underneath the counter allows them to securely clamp down a pasta maker. On the right-hand side of the basin? Trash and compost bins. Although you’d almost never know it thanks to a removable lid integrated in the countertop.
Cupboards That Are Durable and Quiet
The home’s location in the western part of Auckland served as the major inspiration for both styles of cabinetry. Some of the cupboards are crafted out of oiled, recycled rimu, a wood native to New Zealand that is most commonly used for cutting and cheese boards. “One of the main reasons we chose rimu is its ability to match the original flooring of the house,” adds Jones. (It’s also incredibly strong and resistant to rot.) The powder-coated green steel drawers, on the other hand, are a nod to Titirangi’s lush landscape. Jones custom-designed everything with soft closing drawers. We wouldn’t want a slam to disturb those peaceful pasta-making sessions.