The Timaru Herald
Six standout kitchens
Colleen Hawkes revisits eye-catching kitchens from the year, each full of inspiring design solutions.
Picking six favourite kitchens out of more than 60 Stuff features in a year is a nearimpossible task – just ask the judges of New Zealand’s big kitchen awards, who are faced with a similar dilemma.
But we have narrowed down our top picks for 2021 to six kitchens that present inspiring ideas we would love to emulate if we ever get the chance. In other words, they are not ridiculously expensive, but neither are they necessarily cheap.
They do all have one thing in common: They are perfectly suited to the home and the owners’ lifestyles. A material consistency follows right through the house, so they don’t look out of place.
Here are six of the year’s best kitchens, in no particular order.
Shadowing at play
Zonnebries is a multi-awardwinning house in Auckland designed by SGA (Strachan Group Architects) – it has racked up New Zealand Institute of Architects, Master Builders and TIDA awards.
The project was aided by interior designer Maria Hosking in collaboration with SGA, and cabinetmaker Philbe Design.
The kitchen features birch ply and vertical timber handles that continue the visual play of shadowing created by slatted screens in the house. And these relate to the name Zonnebries, a Dutch word meaning sun-wind, a reference to the way the house moderates the climate and also to the family heritage of one of the owners.
American maple is used in the benchtops and the solid timber detailing, providing a more hardwearing surface where required.
Cooking up a storm
Nicky Claridge of NC Design designed a kitchen for a new home high on the Bridle Path in Heathcote, Christchurch, which the designer says is the owner’s ‘‘self-confessed indulgence’’.
‘‘The clients wanted a unique, classy space where they could cook up a storm and entertain their friends and family. They liked the idea of a bar-restaurant setting,’’ she says.
Claridge suspended the island off the floor, with a custom matte black steel frame anchored at either end. The steelwork on the ends of the island mirrors the large, structural steel frame that separates the living room from the kitchen and dining area.
A clever mirrored box below the island disguises the waste, water and power supply.
The island benchtop features jet black granite with a suede finish. The masculine feel is further enhanced by glossy black bevelled-edge subway tiles, a plate steel benchtop for the cooking and pantry surfaces, and a custom-built extractor unit.
The cabinetry is Prime Recon Veneer in New Onyx, with a 30 per cent gloss finish. To continue the semi-industrial look, the overhead timber and glass display unit features sliding doors hung from an exposed steel running track.
Art deco look
Annika Rowson, of Rowson Kitchens in New Plymouth, took into account the 1940s era of her family’s bungalow when she designed a major renovation.
The art deco era of the house helped determine the most striking element in her kitchen – a dramatic, patterned Corian from APT that appears on the island benchtop, front and cabinet doors. It also wraps the custom rangehood and provides a seamless integrated sink.
And it was what the designer did with the Witch Hazel Corian that is most interesting: ‘‘I reversed the side,’’ she says.
‘‘We used the underside of the slab, sanding it back to showcase the different patterning. The polymers and minerals have different weights, which created this effect, which I really like. It has an art deco look.’’
Rowson teamed the material with matte black cabinetry for the rear wall, so it would recede visually, helping ‘‘to make the Corian pop’’.
Our next kitchen is in an NZ Institute of Architects awardwinning concrete bungalow in Mt Maunganui.
Hamilton-based architect Evan Mayo of Architecture Bureau came up with the concept, and the beautiful timber kitchen was detailed by Annique Heesen of Gezellig Interiors, Cambridge.
The designer says it was a huge bonus that one of the homeowners was able to create all the black steel framework that features in the house. This includes the steel framing in the island, overhead steel shelving with glazed doors, and a custom steel light fitting.
Benchtops at the rear and in the scullery, and the splashbacks feature dull brushed stainless steel, which complements the semi-industrial look of the steel shelving unit.
A kitchen in a holiday home beside the rail trail in Cromwell also caught our eye. With vineyards all around, the house has contemporary country character in abundance. But it wasn’t always this way, says designer Stefan Sonntag of Masterwood Joinery.
‘‘The house was built in 2004, and when it was sold the new owners had the interior gutted. There was nothing inside when we arrived to design the kitchen. We started from scratch.’’
At 4 metres long, the timber island is a central feature. It was designed to resemble a piece of furniture with solid American white oak legs – ‘‘the owners didn’t want a heavy toekick’’.
The door and drawer fronts and panels on the island are Prime Art Planked Oak in Rustic. They are teamed with benchtops in Caesarstone Fresh Concrete.
In contrast, the anthracite cabinetry along the wall is Laminex Acrylic in Cinder Matte, with a matching interior.
The designer says the splashback tiles were chosen to provide a neutral background that wouldn’t stand out.
Our final kitchen is a striking contrast to the blonded timber walls of a new Lockwood home on the Kā piti Coast. The owner loves a little bling and wanted a black and gold kitchen to reflect this, says designer Jeanette Tuohy of Tuohy Homes.
To provide a ‘‘quiet’’ backdrop, the cabinetry is in Laminex Acrylic Panel in Pitch Black, which is resistant to fingermarks. This is contrasted by a glittering splashback – chevron brass mosaic tiles that sparkle under the LED strip lighting that runs beneath the overhead cabinets. Tuohy says the brass mosaics have a natural patina that complements the Lockwood timbers.
The tiles and black cabinets are teamed with Black Galaxy granite benchtops, again chosen for the embedded copper flecks that have a gold sparkle to match the other metallic elements.
Black also appears in the KWC polished tapware, which includes a soap dispenser. And the sink is black, as are the appliances in the main kitchen.
Functionality is assured with an open scullery that doubles as a second kitchen.