Sayes Stock Home

Despite constraints of a tight section and an even tighter budget, architect Henri Sayes sought to create a unique house for himself and his wife. The small but cleverly designed kitchen repurposes inexpensive materials, draws in light and mixes and matches appliances to create a functional and bright space.

Designers. Architect: Henri Sayes
Kitchen Manufacturer: Leslie A J & Co Ltd
Materials Benchtop: 36mm birch ply with Laminex HPL
Handles: Katalog


Concept Design

With the intention to use the limited budget as a springboard rather than a restriction, the house was designed as a simple barn-like shell. Spatial complexity has been created through hanging, inverted trusses that demarcate the open plan, double height living and dining space.

Indeed, opposites is a theme that runs through this kitchen. The back bench has been detailed like a sideboard – being on legs it doesn’t feel permanent; in contrast the front bench is tiled in and permanent. The tight 70m2 floor plate of the house’s ground floor has meant the small kitchen needed to be clever with space.

“With small kitchens you break things down to their bare minimum; there’s a tightness about them which makes them more straightforward in some ways. In other ways, though, it can be a battle to fit all the appliances and storage and benchspace into a limited area without compromising functionality,” he explains.

It can be a battle to fit all the appliances and storage and benchspace into a limited area without compromising functionality.


Developed Design

Part of this difficulty comes from the two stage nature of kitchen design. “The kitchen is one of those things where you set it out pretty early but you don’t design it in detail until quite late,” explains Henri. Only once the bigger architectural gestures have been considered, confirmed and even constructed, does the designer turn to the detail of the kitchen.

When Henri was working out the overall house layout, the kitchen was established in rudimentary fashion, with two benches that became a galley-like space. This arrangement created spatial parameters for the cabinetry, which the architect designed to be as generous and utilitarian as possible within the small space. To fit in as much as possible, he also chose flexible appliances — the DishDrawer Tall is the ideal size for a couple, and its compact form allowed them to fit a drawer underneath for otherwise awkward plastic-ware storage.

Though they didn’t have room for a large cooktop, the couple wanted both gas and induction cooking. Fisher & Paykel’s mix and match cooktops allowed them to install a gas burner that can be configured for a wok or pan down to a small, single espresso pot, if necessary, adjacent to a two-burner induction cooktop. The two induction areas can also become a single zone for long or large pots. Instead of upper cabinets that may have created a division between the kitchen and living areas, Henri chose to build under-bench drawers, which has kept the space less cluttered and with less visual noise.

Similarly, rather than design tall cabinetry to house the fridge, he left the smooth sides exposed and slid it into the space between the wall and back bench, giving it the effect of being light, temporary and almost moveable. He also added extra space by designing a narrow, but ample, pantry in the space under the stairway that runs alongside the kitchen; adding an oversized pegboard slider to hide it when not in use, which became a feature of its own: “The space was just there, and it made sense,” he says. “Over time it changed and became a larger gesture.”


Detail Design

The colour palette of this kitchen keeps to white and black, but plays up different patterns and textures. The pegboard slider has been painted white with the perforations showing as dark dots. The white cabinetry is inset with tongue-like handles that were custom black chromed. The peninsula benchtop and the back wall are tiled with white square tiles laid in a diamond pattern; the pattern reverts to rectilinear when the tiles run over the rangehood. “While you are always thinking about how the kitchen relates as a space and about the relationships between the sink and where you prep and where you cook and where you serve people and hang out, but a lot of it comes down to pure aesthetics with kitchens,” Henri admits. “They’re generally a trick. And I suppose our trick was playing with the pattern of the tiles.”


Products &

  • 600mm 7 Function Built-in Oven

  • 300mm 2 Zone Induction Cooktop

  • 450mm 1 Burner Gas on Glass Cooktop

    The frameless, black glass, accented with a stainless steel strip is just one of the reasons the Fisher and Paykel Gas on Glass cookop is the ultimate in premium quality. From a powerful wok burner to an extremely low simmer burner, this cooktop lets you create mouth watering dishes with ease. Top of the range safety systems, and performance features makes it very hard to look past this model.

  • 600mm Built-in Integrated Rangehood

  • 635mm ActiveSmart™ Fridge – Bottom Freezer

    Active Smart technology has been given a new addition, an integrated water dispenser providing you with chilled filtered water and an internal ice maker for clean, crisp ice cubes on demand. With no impact on space in the freezer or refrigerator door, this is the perfect addition to the Active Smart family.  

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