An architect’s kitchen: ‘We didn’t want people perching at the island ’

Architect Barry Kane chose a sleek black marble as the highlight of his own kitchen

Barry Kane’s kitchen. Photograph:  Ruth Maria Murphy

Barry Kane’s kitchen. Photograph: Ruth Maria Murphy

 

How do you design a kitchen when your client is also your wife and the home’s head chef?

You do like the rest of us do and trawl Pinterest and Instagram for ideas, says Barry Kane, one of the principals at ODKM Architects, of the sleek modern home he and his wife, Elsie, designed and built in Dublin 14.

“We had been looking for a site for a long, long time, and finally bought it with planning permission and then redrafted the house and had to reapply for planning,” he recalls. With appeals in planning, it was two years before the couple moved into their home.

“We wanted an island as a working space but for it to be separate from the dining area. My wife, Elsie, is the cook. I’m the commis chef, I clean and cut. We didn’t want people perching at the island. This was strictly chef’s territory – guests are to be seated at all times,” he says only half jokingly.

“We wanted low-level units with a concealed larder and a large island with a hob and downdraft extractor, pop-up sockets and dishwasher.” The sleek workspace is clad in manquina marble, a man-made Silestone from Constantina, a manufactured product that makes it look like a monolith.

The workspace is clad in manquina marble, a manmade Silestone from Constantina, a manufactured product that makes it look like a monolith. Photograph: Ruth Maria Murphy
The workspace is clad in manquina marble, a manmade Silestone from Constantina, a manufactured product that makes it look like a monolith. Photograph: Ruth Maria Murphy

The splashbacks and countertops are also clad in the same material to a design by Dean Cooper & Company. “The beauty of bringing him in is that he brings added expertise and gives more than you want.”

Appliances

While fans of a gas hob, the induction hob is, Kane says, the best thing since sliced bread. “As an architect it is aesthetically pleasing as well as highly functioning.” The appliances are all electric as there was no gas supply to the house and an air source heat pump warms the floors beneath.  

They also invested in a Caple hot water tap that they use to make tea on demand, without having a kettle cluttering up the work surfaces. “It remains sleek and contemporary,” he says.

They bought the dining table from Roche Bobois and its chairs from Made.com, travelling to Birmingham to the online store’s physical shop to test them for comfort.

In the adjacent living area, a cantilevered concrete sofa that is upholstered in tan leather cushions by Brian Kinsella is far more comfortable than it sounds and is where guests congregate before dinner. 

In the adjacent living area, a cantilevered concrete sofa is upholstered in tan leather cushions by Brian Kinsella. Photograph: Ruth Maria Murphy
In the adjacent living area, a cantilevered concrete sofa is upholstered in tan leather cushions by Brian Kinsella. Photograph: Ruth Maria Murphy

The room has clerestory windows to the front. These give complete privacy while allowing light to shine through. No one can see in but it allows great western light, he says of the glass screens, windows and doors supplied by Architectural Glazing and Maintenance.

The house entrance takes you directly to the middle of the home where a Japanese maple will bloom in May and June but even in the depths of winter its outline, which is backlit at night, creates an animated focal point that roots the home in nature.

odkmarchitects.com; dcfurniture.ie; roche-bobois.com/en-IE; agam.ie; ruthmaria.com  

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