When does a kitchen become an art gallery? When it includes a boldly colored architectural volume that looks like a Donald Judd sculpture. Such a unit catches the eye in a townhouse designed by Ian Moore Architects in Sydney’s Surry Hills neighborhood.

The vibrant yellow, custom-built joinery unit visually and physically connects the first-floor kitchen with the mezzanine bedroom. Measuring roughly 10 feet long by 2½ feet wide by 9 feet high (on each floor), the cupboard conceals kitchen storage, laundry facilities, and an integrated fridge and freezer on the lower level; it serves as the bedroom’s closet above.

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The New Zealand–born, Sydney-based Moore is known for using strong primary hues to divide and demarcate space. “The storage element is a piece of furniture, distinguished from the white structural shell by its coloring,” he says. “The yellow also works well with the house’s anonymous gray exterior.” Aside from that bright hue, the three-story home’s palette is minimal, including eggshell epoxy floors, white walls and ceilings, and silver anodized aluminum windows.

Key to the striking kitchen is its balance between looks and practicality. A central island offers generous space for cooking and entertaining; it also affords views over the open-­plan living/dining area and through to the sunny courtyard. Its stainless-steel work surface features dual integrated sinks, two burners, and a wok ring, with an oven below. Gray polyurethane-lacquered cabinets on both sides feature large, ergonomic D-shaped handles.

Louvered windows encourage natural ventilation, so no extractor fans or air-conditioning are required. Flexible LED spotlights and downlights illuminate kitchen surfaces, with softer focus provided by the ’70s-era countertop Atollo lamp. More vintage touches include a white Eames dining table and chairs.

The kitchen renovation was part of Moore’s 2015 restoration of this one-bedroom house, which he designed in 2001. The home had been unsympathetically altered by a later occupant, and the current owner, a photographer, commissioned Moore to reintroduce the original design. He also asked him to furnish the home in keeping with its architectural language.

To that point, the architect chose the dining- and living-area pieces to enhance the airiness of the interior. “It’s about reducing clutter and doing away with walls and doors to maximize space and light,” says Moore of his design ethos. The result is a sun-kissed success story.



Ian Moore Architects
Studio 5, 151 Foveaux Street,
Surry Hills, NSW 2010,


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Director/Principal Architect - Ian Moore (registered architect)


Interior designer:

Ian Moore



Landscape Designer - Fast Feet Garden Design


General contractor:  

Zandt Building



Daniel Mayne +61448599163



Structural System

Reinforced concrete slab on ground with structural steel frame and metal stud work

Exterior Cladding

EIFS, ACM, or other: JWI - 80mm adjustable aluminium louver screens

Other cladding unique to this project: James Hardie - Compressed Fiber Cement sheet panels


Metal frame: Cabral - 400 Series aluminium window and door framing and 900 Series aluminium framed sliding glass doors


Pulls: Madinoz - stainless steel 'D' pulls

Interior Finishes

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: 2 pack polyurethane finish to all joinery units

Paints and stains: Dulux

Special surfacing: Stainless steel bench top with integral sinks


Office furniture: Unifor - Jean Nouvel Less desk, bookshelves, pedestal units, storage unit

Chairs: Herman Miller - Eames fibreglass Arm Shell dining chairs and Soft Pad office chairs

Tables: Herman Miller - Eames segmented base dining table;
Unifor - Jean Nouvel Less coffee table

Other furniture: Poltrona Frau - Kennedee sofas


Interior ambient lighting: Flos - Atollo desk lamp

Downlights: Kreon - Mini Down LED downlights

Tasklighting: Kreon - Diapason track mounted spotlights


Vola - KV1 kitchen mixer tap