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Kitchen of the Week: Urban Tropical, A Simon Astridge Kitchen Addition

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Kitchen of the Week: Urban Tropical, A Simon Astridge Kitchen Addition

October 4, 2018

How does a minimalist London kitchen design evolve into a tropical sun chamber? “We were approached by a couple with two young kids to extend and transform a tired Victorian house in North London,” says Simon Astridge, whose eponymous architecture firm has been producing some of our favorite streamlined remodels of late. Both parents are journalists and the wife is from Australia, so “there was quite a lot of dialogue about the gloomy London sky versus the bright Australian sun,” adds project architect Ruta Dumciute. Wanting to bring in as much natural light as possible, as well as an indoor-outdoor feel, the team set about experimenting with pigmented concrete for a small ground-floor addition where the kitchen would be situated.

“We were inspired by how many actual shades and tones of color Victorian brick has,” says Dumciute. “Here in the office, we also love the use of color in concrete architecture from warmer climates, such as Luis Barragán’s work. The pink we chose was a nod to it, but a more toned-down version that works with the brick and the muted light we’ve got here in London.” Come see.

Photograph by Nicholas Worley, courtesy of Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop.

Situated in the back of the house, the six-square-meter (64.5-square-foot) extension features a pigmented cast concrete wall with a slatted wood door and integrated sliding glass window. The new courtyard—shown pre-plantings (it’s now filled with greenery)—is used for outdoor cooking and as a play area.
Above: Situated in the back of the house, the six-square-meter (64.5-square-foot) extension features a pigmented cast concrete wall with a slatted wood door and integrated sliding glass window. The new courtyard—shown pre-plantings (it’s now filled with greenery)—is used for outdoor cooking and as a play area.
The kitchen is defined by pastel colors and a series of series of geometric skylights. All appliances are built-in and made by Siemens.
Above: The kitchen is defined by pastel colors and a series of series of geometric skylights. All appliances are built-in and made by Siemens.

The recess in the birch plywood ceiling—painted to “bring the green from outside in”—offers a view of the kitchen from the study above. “This is where most family life happens,” says Dumciute. “We wanted to connect both stories vertically and to allow people to communicate with each other when in different spaces.”

Pale pink was selected for the walls during the course of construction: “The plaster we use comes in a pink tone, then it usually gets skimmed and painted. But when we saw the work in progress, we all fell in love with the depth and color, so it was easy to convince our clients to leave it exposed,” Dumciute tells us. “Pink inside and out was a happy coincidence, really.”
Above: Pale pink was selected for the walls during the course of construction: “The plaster we use comes in a pink tone, then it usually gets skimmed and painted. But when we saw the work in progress, we all fell in love with the depth and color, so it was easy to convince our clients to leave it exposed,” Dumciute tells us. “Pink inside and out was a happy coincidence, really.”

The trio of colorful hanging lights are Spanish architect Catalán de Ocón’s PET Lamps made from recycled soda bottles: See Fantastic Plastic and At Home with a Master of Recycling in Madrid.

To keep the room clutter free, the architects included a long wall of seamless built-in storage in pale green spray-painted MDF. “It’s less expensive than laminate and doesn’t have that plasticky finish,” says Dumciute.
Above: To keep the room clutter free, the architects included a long wall of seamless built-in storage in pale green spray-painted MDF. “It’s less expensive than laminate and doesn’t have that plasticky finish,” says Dumciute.

The window frame and door are pale gray. Note that the window slides to the left to open.

The family’s longstanding wood dining table is paired with Eames Dowel-Leg Side Chairs, which come in myriad variations at DWR.
Above: The family’s longstanding wood dining table is paired with Eames Dowel-Leg Side Chairs, which come in myriad variations at DWR.
The island, with a work area on one side and  breakfast counter on the other, has a top made by bespoke concrete specialists Warrington & Rose: “It’s a little bit of brutality to balance the palette.” The matte black faucet is a Vola 590H.
Above: The island, with a work area on one side and  breakfast counter on the other, has a top made by bespoke concrete specialists Warrington & Rose: “It’s a little bit of brutality to balance the palette.” The matte black faucet is a Vola 590H.
The floor, too, is concrete in a natural pale gray that matches the window frame and door.

 The family hung a series of copper planters in the recess over the island.  For a similar design, consider Bloomingville’s Alisa Hanging Planter, $21.99 from Joss & Main. Go to Pots & Planters on Gardenista for more ideas.
Above: The family hung a series of copper planters in the recess over the island.  For a similar design, consider Bloomingville’s Alisa Hanging Planter, $21.99 from Joss & Main. Go to Pots & Planters on Gardenista for more ideas.
The view from the second-floor study looking down. Note the integrated drain board in the island’s concrete counter.
Above: The view from the second-floor study looking down. Note the integrated drain board in the island’s concrete counter.

Join us for a tour of two more inventive projects by Simon Astridge Architecture Workshop:

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 23, 2017.

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