Kitchen ideas for every style

A 4m-long dining table from Indonesia sets the scale for the rest of the room; the large pendant lights help create a ...
PATRICK REYNOLDS

A 4m-long dining table from Indonesia sets the scale for the rest of the room; the large pendant lights help create a cosier feel. The owners bought them overseas but they are available here from ECC.

The best new ideas to enhance the heart of every house - the kitchen.

MAJOR SPACE

Generosity is the key to this kitchen where extended family and many friends come to play: it's big in size, big in capacity and big on spectacle.

This new home, on a ridge on Waiheke Island, has Onetangi beach to the east, Rangitoto to the west and the wide ocean to the north. "When you have such wraparound views, it's tempting to design a glass box," says architect Jane Aimer of Scarlet Architects (scarletarchitects.co.nz). 

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A Cameo White Corian benchtop and custom lacquered cabinetry contrast with the bagged concrete wall and timber accents ...
PATRICK REYNOLDS

A Cameo White Corian benchtop and custom lacquered cabinetry contrast with the bagged concrete wall and timber accents in this Waiheke Island kitchen.

Not in this case. The home was planned as a "slow unfolding", and it's only once you reach the kitchen that the full vista is revealed. "Most people have no idea what they're going to see," says Jane.

It was important that this centrepiece room hold its own beneath the high stud of floating timber ceilings and the clerestory windows that let in an expanse of sky. "It could have looked feeble within that huge volume." The Kiwi owners, who live in Melbourne but use this as their regular holiday escape, already had a lovely old dining table from Indonesia that set the tone – and the scale. "It was 4m long," says Jane.   

Anchored by a wall of timber battens that separates it from the hallway, the kitchen features a textural array of materials to offset its substance. White benches provide a crisp, glossy contrast to the dark timber back wall and American oak floors add a honey-toned ingredient. Some cupboard fronts are white, others are in dark timber veneer and a concrete wall on the opposite side of the stairwell adds to the interesting palette. 

An internal window, cut out of the battened rear wall, is playful and practical. Those lucky enough to be perched at the island are not only closer to the built-in bar fridge, but can see out through this opening to the pool and the action around it.

CLASSIC MATERIALS 

Marble and oak were non-negotiable for this kitchen set in a spacious home on a lifestyle block in Ararimu. "We drove around to hand-select just the right piece of marble," recalls designer Leonie von Sturmer.

“It takes an eye for detail,” says Leonie about the perfectly matched marble veining over the waterfall end.
JAMIE CORBEL

“It takes an eye for detail,” says Leonie about the perfectly matched marble veining over the waterfall end.

When Amanda McGregor and Warren Sarty moved here almost a decade ago, this contemporary home, set in a landscape of vines and olive trees, had the trappings of an entertainer's delight. But with the children – Ava, 10, Isla, eight, and Sienna, five – getting older, the couple wanted to add something special to maximise the enjoyment they get from their country retreat. The kitchen, so integral to the indoor and outdoor living spaces, was the obvious place to start.  

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Amanda knew exactly what she wanted: Arabescato marble, with its white background and distinctive veins and markings. The hand-picked, honed marble slab is now resplendent along the 4.6m benchtop that waterfalls to the floor on one side. "The pattern is matched and mitred perfectly," says Leonie. 

As a counterpoint to the modernity of all that marble, concrete floors and a concrete-look tiled back wall, a timber benchtop intersects with the marble and cantilevers to form a table that is comfortable and practical for family and social occasions. "Close to 200kg of timber and strengthening steel created this top." 

Homeowner Amanda McGregor knew she wanted Arabescato marble; the honed finish gives it a softer feel.
JAMIE CORBEL

Homeowner Amanda McGregor knew she wanted Arabescato marble; the honed finish gives it a softer feel.

The American oak was stained to look smoky, like the aged wine barrels outside. The timber has also been picked up in the cabinetry along the back wall, the island doors and the sliding barn door that leads to a walk-in scullery. 

The kitchen looks out onto a garden with parterre hedges and a white pebble courtyard. It's a large but welcoming space that, according to Leonie, "feels like a cafe in the country".  

TRADITIONAL VILLA

Childhood memories influenced the traditional design of this villa kitchen; the benchtops are solid white oak.
JANE USSHER

Childhood memories influenced the traditional design of this villa kitchen; the benchtops are solid white oak.

Cindy Beaudin grew up in Canada in a home with a U-shaped kitchen around a large scrubbed wooden table. Those memories were top of mind when she and her husband Mike Engle updated the kitchen in their Herne Bay, Auckland villa.

The couple say they try to be as green as they can and like to cook the way their grandparents did: from scratch. They take seasonal inspiration from vegetables and herbs grown in the backyard, so they weren't keen on just popping out the back of the house with a modern extension. Interior designer Suzanne Allen (suzanneallen.nz) came up with a more user-friendly layout. "The original room was poky and dark with a dining table up against the wall," she says. 

They dismissed the idea of an island or breakfast bar in favour of making space for the table, and installing bifold windows along one side of the room made all the difference. Light floods in and Cindy can prep for meals at the bench with a garden view and direct connection to a covered barbecue area.

Shaker-style cabinetry was handcrafted by David James from Opus Libero; cupboards are in clear untreated pine with painted plywood door panels. David is a master craftsman who went the extra mile using traditional dovetail joint-work in drawers made of Southland beech. "He also incorporated typical pierced design work in a couple of doors, which were modelled on original shapes from the house's front verandah," says Suzanne.

COLOUR

When the Christchurch earthquakes shook the foundations of this weatherboard home in Cashmere, the owners took the opportunity to revamp the small galley kitchen while fixing cosmetic damage. "It was looking very tired and needed a new paint job anyhow," says Lou Barker philosophically. 

Lou’s husband Anthony is a keen cook and the new kitchen can now accommodate all his culinary gadgets (his latest find ...
KATE CLARIDGE

Lou’s husband Anthony is a keen cook and the new kitchen can now accommodate all his culinary gadgets (his latest find is a sous vide thermometer).

Lou is the driving force behind online interior design store Blue Scarlet (bluescarlet.co.nz) and she's all about colour. "Colour can do amazing things to a space," she enthuses.

First, however, they needed to remove a partial dividing wall to open up the area. Next, Lou had a slot window installed at the back of the house to let in more light. Once an island bench was installed and a former laundry and shower area converted to a pantry, the functional aspects of this working room were sorted. Then it was on to the fun stuff.

"When we moved here, the whole house was cream. It needed life put into it," says Lou. Colours used in the open-plan living area alongside the kitchen became a starting point and Lou chose 'Seeker', a Resene blue, for some walls, with a dash of yellow from Resene 'Hive' and a pop of pink for storage alcoves in Resene 'Smitten'. Even the glass front of the island did not escape her exuberant treatment with its blue, black and white stripes.

Designer Lou Barker is a big fan of colour – “It can even change your mood,” she says – so it’s no surprise it’s a ...
KATE CLARIDGE

Designer Lou Barker is a big fan of colour – “It can even change your mood,” she says – so it’s no surprise it’s a strong feature in her kitchen revamp.

 - NZ House & Garden

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