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Cabinetry conceals a wealth of accessories for conveniently storing every item – from oven trays in toekicks to racks for spices


A simple, uncluttered look doesn't always tell the full story, and in the kitchen, more likely indicates hard work and clever design ideas behind the scenes.

After years of renovations, the kitchen was the last room in this 100-year-old villa to be remodelled, and the owner wanted it to reflect the character of the house and match previously completed work.

The rear portion of the house was originally three areas – a kitchen, a bathroom and a separate hallway with limited access to the garden.

Kitchen designer Nicola Cumming suggested completely opening up the three areas to become one free-flowing space. The old kitchen became a family area, and to improve access to the garden, French doors now open from both the kitchen and the new living space. A new laundry was also provided, within a specially designed cabinet in the kitchen.

"We designed the kitchen around an existing fire with a kauri mantel, and the space had to look as if the fireplace was supposed to be there," says Cumming.


"To retain the character of the home, we chose swamp kauri for the cabinetry. It is darker than other kauri, with a deep, rich colour and an aged look," she says.

The space had a very high 2.7m stud with a raked board-and-batten ceiling, and Cumming designed full-height cabinetry to take advantage of this. Custom-made mouldings to match the rest of the house flow around the tops of the cabinetry and the walls, and are incorporated in the cabinet door frames, architraves and scotia.

The owner wanted designated spaces for everything, so drawers and cupboards are all fitted with pull-out accessories, sliding shelves, spice racks and dividers for trays and platters. She wanted as much storage as possible, and to do this, every available space was utilised, including toekicks, which are fitted with drawers.

"The new laundry cupboard shows what good planning can achieve. With a stacked front-loading washer and dryer, we had space for a sink, stainless bench, shelves, drawers, hanging space and a pull-out ironing board," says the designer.

First published date: 14 November 2008

Credit List

Kitchen designer Nicola Cumming, MDINZ (Auckland)
Kitchen manufacturer Nicola Cumming Design
Architect Bruce Campbell
Range Smeg 90cm freestanding
Ventilation Bosch DKE965 AU
Refrigeration Westinghouse BJ433VR
Dishwasher Bosch SG/55
Splashback Azteca tiles
Cabinetry Solid swamp kauri
Benchtops Stainless steel, linen finish
Flooring Existing timber
Blinds LaHood
Lighting Lighthouse Alumination Lighting
Kitchen sink Burns & Ferrall
Taps Laska with pull-out spray from Robertson Agencies
Washing machine and dryer Bosch
Ironing board Cornall pull-out
Door and drawer handles Antique Iron Cornall Beehive knobs