The clients of this Reservoir, Melbourne kitchen appreciated many elements of its 1960s design, but it was time for a functional overhaul. 

Matthew James designed the renovation for M.J. Harris Group with two objectives: to improve the kitchen’s practicality, while aesthetically drawing on a mid-century aesthetic to create a connection between past and present. 

‘The aesthetic of the kitchen was to reflect this original era of the home in its prime, specifically the period between the 1960s and 1980s with a 2020s twist,’ says Matthew James, design Manager at M.J. Harris Group. ‘Under no circumstances was white joinery to be incorporated into the design… In the client’s words, “We want it to look old.”

The updated material palette fulfils this requirement, drawing inspiration from the original kitchen. 

Rich laminate (Natural Teak by Laminex) was selected as the hero material, softened by glossy moss green tiles on the splashback and pillar supporting the extended kitchen bench. This pillar serves to ‘break up’ the new rigid and square joinery, working to visually widen this area and enhance the connection between the kitchen and dining areas.

‘The pillar, in conjunction with curved ends of the open shelving above, provide a much needed softness and elegance to the space,’ says Matthew. 

Matthew grew up around Reservoir and hopes the updated kitchen reflects the diverse and eclectic community of the northern Melbourne suburb. ‘I feel that the selected materials being laminate joinery, ceramic tiles and builder range benchtops captured this feeling,’ he says. 

The before and after images speak for themselves!

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