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The show-stopping, show-pony luxury and glamour of a David Hicks kitchen

The show-stopping, show-pony luxury and glamour of a David Hicks kitchen


Award-winning Melbourne designer David Hicks is known for his glamorous residential projects, but it’s the show-stopping kitchen that’s demanding centre stage under his masterful guidance.   

When it comes to his luxurious home design, Hicks works closely with his clients to create a functional narrative, and the kitchen is no exception to his design rule — where bespoke, practical and ‘show-pony’ all inform the bigger picture. 

‘Ontario’ Caulfield residence. Photography credit  Tom Blachford

Hicks says clients are increasingly wanting a bar-like feel when it comes to the kitchen’s DNA, while a secondary butler’s pantry is a back-up for those with plenty of space on offer. 

“The show kitchen is all about incorporating but hiding key features such as flush induction cooking and an integrated stone sink, a concealed rangehood and fully integrated fridges,” says Hicks of his signature approach to elevating the kitchen zone.

“As a result of this demand, we’re seeing finishes that are more luxurious in nature from unique marble to metalwork, often no overhead cabinetry, and instead a shelf where vases, artwork and books can be organised.”

‘Ontario’ Caulfield residence. Photography credit  Tom Blachford
A return to separation, but no less glamorous 

Until now, kitchens have mostly been integrated with their living spaces – where bar stools for entertaining blur the lines in keeping these spaces communal. But according to Hicks, we’re seeing a shift from this approach in 2024.   

On the flip side to the show kitchen, the prevalence of a mid-century style layout of the kitchen is making a comeback; where separated kitchen to living rooms is here to stay.  

A recent refurbishment of a Grand Victorian house, including a separate kitchen, remains one of his favourite designs to date.

‘Ontario’ Caulfield residence. Photography credit  Tom Blachford

“With this project we kept the kitchen confined to its own original room,” says Hicks. 

“We incorporated fully integrated refrigeration, a concealed pantry and wine storage. Period features such as cornices and door architraves were reintroduced by replicating existing ones. 

“Doorways were widened and made higher to provide access, allowing for glimpses into the other room while keeping the space separate.”

Hicks opted for richly veined, dramatic marble called Cote D’Zur for the kitchen, consisting of grey and blue tones with a touch of white, along with mirrored cabinets and ebony timber veneer which was lacquered in a full piano gloss. A vintage Murano chandelier was placed over the central island bench to make the space feel like a glamorous room rather than a working kitchen.

The right ingredients for luxury entertaining at home 

When it comes to design trends, Hicks says there are two ends of the spectrum to consider. 

“As the world has become increasingly busier and living costs become higher, we are seeing some clients opting for a return to the 80s with more home entertaining,” says Hicks. 

“As they are spending more time at home, they want the design of their kitchen to be more in line with some of their favourite bars and restaurants while being practical and family friendly.”

 He says his kitchen designs have become more interesting as a result. 

Albert Park residence. Photography credit  Mark Roper

“In line with this concept, we are incorporating bespoke cabinetry, lacquered finishes, unique marble, metalwork and mirrors, which combine to produce a much more considered and glamorous design palette and is fitting for the most used room in the house,” says Hicks. 

“I like to use natural marble for benchtops and splashbacks, coating it with a resin to avoid staining, sometimes stainless steel or timber benchtops are introduced depending on the design.” 

Functional design details combined with confidence 

For tapware, Hicks is a fan of Vola – a Danish brand that has manufactured the Arne Jacobson line since 1968. He also opts for LED lighting under overhead cabinets for direct benchtop lighting and often utilises it to highlight marble or other finishes on the front of island benches. There’s always a mirror to be found too, while metal sheet cladding, solid timber, timber veneer, and other luxurious materials create a bespoke, individual look to his kitchen design.

Another home to get the David Hicks overhaul included a kosher kitchen where the client wanted the kitchen to be separated from the informal living spaces, but still allow for a visual connection.  

Albert Park residence. Photography credit  Mark Roper

“We confined the kitchen to its own room, and integrated it with the family living spaces via an opening above a high bench, reminiscent of the old school servery,” says Hicks.

“Being kosher, we had one side for meat and the other for dairy, separated by a central island. The cooking zone was strategically located on the end of the island so that it could be used easily on both sides. The refrigeration was concealed behind panels adjacent. 

“The island was left open at the other end to provide a seating area with stools for family or guests to sit and have a drink or meal within the kitchen itself.”

Albert Park residence. Photography credit  Mark Roper

True to Hicks’ style, there are lashings of marble, including creamy travertine, soft white Calacatta and black Portoro all mixed with confidence. A French walnut parquetry floor and matching ribbed timber panelling add elegance and warmth to the kitchen, almost fooling you into thinking you are not in the kitchen at all.

For Hicks, kitchens are less about trends that shift from moment to moment. Rather, they’re a functional  space to express style. When done well, with nods to luxury, and history, articulated through exquisite materials and finishing details, they become timeless. 

Lead image photography credit, Sam Bisso.

For the month of April, ADR turns our attention to the kitchen design trends of the now and of the future. Arguably one of the most important and dynamic spaces within both residential and commercial design contexts, the kitchen is ever-evolving, reflective of shifting ways we live and work.

Check out the Art Apartment — Arent&Pyke’s quirky take on luxury


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