House of the Week: A Bar Beach home for a love of cooking

AT work Leonie Young is a buyer and seller to cooks.

Leonie Young's home: The sleek and sophisticated kitchen is a central highlight of the upper level.

Leonie Young's home: The sleek and sophisticated kitchen is a central highlight of the upper level.

At home she indulges her own love of food and cooking in a beautifully crafted space at the centre of a newly-renovated Bar Beach house.

Young is the owner of The Essential Ingredient food, cookware, culinary book store and cooking school at The Junction.

She and her husband bought a block of three flats on Memorial Drive, using the property as a single home for seven years before gutting and extending the property.

Hunter-based builder Nathan Russell completed building of the six-bedroom house in mid-2016.

With multiple living and entertaining areas, bathrooms and utility spaces set across three levels, Young nominates the open-plan kitchen and dining area as her favourite part of the house.

“That’s where we spend most of our time with family and friends,” she says.

“For us, I have six kids [three still living at home].

“We always gravitate to the kitchen.

“We spend a lot of time cooking.”

The sleek and sophisticated kitchen is a central highlight of the upper level.

The space boasts sublime ocean and city views and there is plenty to admire in the interior too.

While at first appearing minimalist, cleverly-crafted spaces hold a variety of functional fittings and fixtures.

“We wanted it to be really streamlined and really tidy,” Young says.

“A place for everything.

We wanted it to be really streamlined and really tidy. A place for everything. So no clutter, but really workable. - Leonie Young

“So no clutter, but really workable.”

This is achieved through having storage space under, around and above the appliances and benches, and a walk-in pantry with drawers, cupboards and open shelving.

Young worked with architect Jon Webber, of Webber Architects, and Redhead-based kitchen manufacturer Rod Nichols to bring fittings and fixtures of her own selection together in the custom kitchen.

The cupboards are sprayed in a two-pack finish of Dulux Domino.

The benchtops are Quantum Quartz in Bianco Venato.

A satin finish formwork plywood is installed in the walk-in pantry.

“I have this aversion to white melamine,” Young says.

A frameless window above the sink offers expansive views across Bar Beach and Newcastle.

A long narrow splashback in a mother of pearl tile, from Earp Bros, “gives that little bit of bling” as does a chandelier imported from the Czech Republic.

Young has given careful thought to everything, right down to the kitchen sink.

She walked around kitchen appliance stores with her oven trays to find a sink to fit them for washing up.

The matte black mixer tap is from Rogerseller, Sydney.

The square Franke sink, with square drain, is from Winning Appliances, as are the kitchen’s three ovens.

“I kind of went overboard on the ovens,” Young laughs.

After making do with a single oven that didn’t close properly in the pre-renovated residence, Young is thrilled to have a range now at her disposal.

She chose a Gaggenau wall oven, based on the brand’s good reputation.

Under the island bench are two NEFF pieces: a main oven with a handy retractable door; and a steam oven.

When cooking for occasions such as dinner parties, Young prepares the bulk of the food in the wall oven and uses the under-bench cooker for desserts.

The island bench has a NEFF induction cooktop.

“The induction cooktop is amazing,” Young says. “Because you can get it really hot and really low.

“It’s the control you have over the heat that you don’t get with gas.”

Custom drawers accommodate knives and spices (from The Essential Ingredient).

A piece of timber, from The Hardwood Refinery in Eraring, adds a casual seating area, as does a tall table from Cosh Living in Sydney on a rear city-view balcony (a favourite spot for a cup of tea or breakfast).

Both are furnished with chairs from Matt Blatt, Sydney. 

The dining table - made from matte finish cedar recovered from the Murray River - is surrounded with 12 Grant Featherston chairs.

The parquetry flooring is another recovered timber highlight, the recycled weatherboards from The Green Mill in Kempsey.

It provides a perfect platform to display Young’s collection of Persian rugs.

The culinary journey continues outside, where landscaping is under way for a kitchen garden.

Bay leaf and fruit trees will border an open courtyard, while vegetables and herbs will go in central raised garden beds.

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