Island Retreat

This island getaway renovation project blends practical high-end materials with sophisticated organic design techniques and the latest technologies to create an elegantly timeless and serene weekend escape. The overall design brief for the project was to creatively transform the existing beach house into a very open and subdued glamorous island retreat that had all the trademarks of Mark’s previous work for the client and with all the practicalities for island living.

All renovation projects come with their challenges – and the obvious extra challenge for this project is that fact that it is on an island with limited access and resources – coupled with a lot of very complicated cabinetry, building works and technology.

When redesigning the kitchen and living spaces on the lower level for this house, the client wanted the area to feel larger (even though there was an existing finite space to work with), have a much larger walk-in pantry, and include a number of high-end mod-cons to complement their own cooking style in the kitchen. Also had to have a view and feel like they are part of the party if there were guests.

With the dwelling having a portal-frame skeleton, Ultraspace were able to remove all the existing exterior walls in the kitchen and dining area. This equated to about 15 linear meters of fully open space (with only 2 x posts). To ensure maximum openness – we used oversized Vitrocsa sliding glass doors with vertical mullions only 20mm in thickness. Each opening between the portal columns (5m) was divided into two panels each. These doors all move completely out of the way to designated sections on the exterior of the dwelling past the openings…. leaving uninterrupted access to the massive balconies and the views to the ocean beyond. The interior and exterior truly become one.

Mark selected some very durable and practical high-end finishes in the way of several Corian® installations, powder coated steel and aluminium and satin 2 pack – along with various mirrors to assist in creating illusions. There are two island benches – one for cooking and prep and the other for sitting around. The ‘cooking island’ is a Corian® top and waterfall end with an induction cooktop and seamless integrated Corian® rinse sink. There is a cantilevered end to sit at with a shadowline detail created by several steel plates. Because this island is sandwiched between the next island and the fridge/pantry wall, Mark created a ‘floating’ effect by having mirror on both sides. The work side has a series of doors, drawers, pull-out bins, etc with all the d-ended pull handles being waterjet cut.

The ‘breakfast bar’ is again a Corian® top with the shadowline and steel plate detail and recessed fluted doors at the ends. There are 3 x concealed charging stations in the top noted by the discrete Ultraspace custom ‘UltraCharge’ charging buttons and the overhang on the balcony side is automated to fold down to allow the massive glass doors to slide by – maximizing on internal space. The shelf will not raise unless all the doors are fully pushed away and in their ‘open position’.

The concealed pantry wall houses 2 x fully integrated fridge/freezers, a concealed utilities cupboard and a large sliding that pulls flush when closed to complete the wall. There are also overhead storage cupboards with soft-touch servo driven doors.

The back wall has a fully integrated Corian® sink in a Corian® benchtop with a contrast 20mm fluted Corian® splashback that links in design-wise to the laundry splash and 10mm fluting in the Master Ensuite. Fully integrated dishwasher, a fully concealed Vzug combi steam oven, 2 x wine fridges and Zip boiling/chilled and sparking unit are all housed on this wall.

For the walk-in pantry – Mark met the brief by making it 3 x larger than the original. It houses a second dishwasher, commercial ice machine, microwave and loads of storage. The walls of the side and rear of the pantry section that face into surrounding living spaces are clad in VJ (to link in with the beach theme of the house) – up to dado height and the remainder on all sides is mirror to the ceiling. This created a terrific open-space effect and made the entire pantry section virtually disappear.

Corian® Colour(s):


  • Wireless Charging Surface
  • Benchtop
  • Integrated Sink
  • Textured Surfaces
  • Splashback

Design By: Mark Gacesa of Ultraspace

Builder: John Cardillo

Joiner: Culture House

Fabrication: Culture House

Photography: Scott Shirley

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