Bricks, in all their forms, shapes and colours, have become the new kitchen splashback of choice in design-led homes.
For decades, tiles have been the main material of choice for our kitchen splashbacks and walls. Durable, easy to maintain and available in an endless choice of shapes, textures and colours, tiles were the go-to for kitchens around the globe.
The world of splashbacks expanded several years ago when glass became the material du jour, with modern kitchens home to large seamless sheets of glass in frosted and bold shades.
Now the revolution continues with what might seem at first like an
unlikely material – bricks.
Brick feature walls are appearing in some of the world’s hippest new design- and architect-led homes, replacing traditional splashbacks and adding both texture and warmth to a space.
And it’s not just the exposed-style bricks most associated with industrial-style design. Designers and home owners are embracing sleek rectangular bricks – either glazed or unglazed – in kitchens, where their durability is a huge selling point.
Here are four Australian kitchens where the trend has come to life beautifully.
BLINCO STREET HOUSE, FREMANTLE, WA
Perth architect Philip Stejskal opted for a two-toned brick feature wall in the kitchen of this home in Fremantle, Western Australia, where brick is used extensively throughout. “Our brief was for the ground floor of the residence to feel solid, assuring, robust and serene,” Stejskal says. “Brick achieved all those things for us.” The light grey top brick – Austral Bricks Indulgence in Moscato – is dramatically contrasted with the glazed moodiness of Burlesque in Charming Black. “We chose the Indulgence because we wanted a grey brick that wasn’t a concrete block,” he says. “And the Burlesque because we had a palette of black already in the project, so this made the most sense.”
ROSE STREET HOUSE, RICHMOND, VIC
Austral Bricks Industrial in Steel forms the backdrop to this minimalist kitchen in Richmond, Victoria, designed by Jackson Clements Burrows. The brick’s distinctive surface texture provides contrast with the pale timber cupboard fronts and the sleek benchtops. “The brickwork provides an integral backdrop to the interior palette which includes dark porcelain floor tiles, European oak timber floors and stained cedar timber lining boards,” the architects say.
ELSTERNWICK HOUSE, ELSTERNWICK, VIC
This kitchen is part of an extension to an Edwardian house in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick, and the work of Melbourne practice Clare Cousins Architects. The two-level addition comprises recycled red bricks for the top level and Bowral Bricks Chillingham White for the ground floor. It’s these exposed bricks that form the backdrop of the compact kitchen, creating a beautiful contrast with the blackbutt timber on the island cupboards and the black cabinetry.
BRADYS ROAD, HIGHFIELDS, QLD
Both the kitchen and butler’s pantry in this expansive home in Highfields, just outside of Toowoomba, feature Daniel Robertson Hawthorn bricks in Black. The heavily textural look and feel of this clay brick gives it a handmade aesthetic, making it the perfect choice for this chalet-style home. “There were a number of brick features used throughout the build, including the splashback,” says Jonny Wells of Swish Design & Construct. “With the brick used externally, it was important to bring the outside in to continue the home’s flow. And bricks have given a softer look than traditional tiles.” As for the Hawthorn Black bricks, “these were a heavily researched part of the build and met the owner’s brief in regards to giving them the ski chalet feel they were trying to achieve.”
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