Seven oak-clad kitchens from around the globe affirm that craftsmanship and natural materials will forever go hand-in-hand.

Natural materials are at the heart of a shift to a more craft-centric approach to design. Natural timber, in particular, is experiencing a resurgence – especially in the kitchen – given its proximity to the natural world (even when treated, it still closely resembles the grain of the tree). A single species of natural timber can vary significantly in colour and texture, making each application unique.

In this feature, we’re honing in on a species known to impart warmth, lightness and texture in the kitchen: oak. Be it solid oak or oak veneer, each example champions the coming together of craftsmanship and natural materials in a kitchen setting, a pairing that has become indispensable to this design era.

Pacific House by Alexander &CO.

Oak is often used in conjunction with stone in the kitchen to realise an all-natural interior language. In the Pacific House, designed by revered Sydney-based studio Alexander &CO., the warmth of the custom oak veneer joinery counterbalances the striking appearance of the Italian-inspired marble Palladiana and island benchtop. The oak cabinetry is an extension of the European oak ceiling and echoes the European oak floors in the home’s formal living areas.

Sandcastle by Luigi Rosselli Architects and ALWILL Interiors

Together, oak and natural stone don’t just complement each other as materials in the kitchen but through the creation of curvaceous forms. In the Sandcastle kitchen designed by Luigi Rosselli Architects and ALWILL Interiors, caramel-coloured oak veneer meets honed silver travertine in the form of a curved island bench, bringing occupants closer to nature on two accounts: natural materials and organic shapes.

Stanley House by GSiD

GSiD take a liberal approach to oak in the kitchen in this sandstone villa extension in North Adelaide. In keeping with the villa’s raw, natural and tactile palette, the kitchen embraces the material through bespoke profile joinery. Building on the oak joinery’s natural grain, Zellige splash-back tiles, leather pull handles and rattan cabinetry ensure texture does all the talking in this space.

Whale Beach House by Studio Johnston

The material palette of this kitchen on Sydney’s coast does not fall from its natural surroundings. Studio Johnston have incorporated washed oak veneer with Dolomite marble and limestone to create a light, balanced and calming atmosphere.

House E by CJH Studio

CJH Studio’s House E kitchen, as seen in the pages of est Magazine Issue 45: Modern Craft (Kitchen Compendium: pages 100 to 103), highlights the strength of oak joinery in a minimal setting. “The kitchen explores an interplay of mixed grain directions in oak veneer and natural stone, pushing what’s possible with interconnecting planes on the island bench,” CJH Studio founder Cassie James-Herrick says.

Can Brut by Framework Studio

While veneer is the more common application of oak in the kitchen, solid oak delights with its raw, slightly less refined texture – as seen in this cliff-top home on the Spanish island of Ibiza by Framework Studio. Here, the design firm reveal their passion for craftsmanship with a custom-designed kitchen wrapped in gold-hued solid oak, gunmetal and Travertino Romano.

Rustic Canyon by Walker Workshop

Walker Workshop president Noah Walker likens the kitchen of Rustic Canyon to a cathedral, with its soaring fifteen-foot high ceilings – one side punctuated by a plane of rhythmically framed glass. The sun beaming through the glass dances on the champagne-coloured oak veneer joinery, creating an environment of resounding warmth and lightness.

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