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Heart of glass

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"Every curve is unique. Every straight line is the same. So why design in straight lines?" asks architect John Mills.


Innovative materials, new products and updated appliance technology are often what make a kitchen different. Because when it comes to styling, straight lines seem to dominate.

Given carte blanche in the design of this home, architect John Mills has moved away from the archetypal, two parallel bench design, and instead made use of bold, sweeping curves, local artwork and toughened glass to create a signature look.

"There are a lot of curves in this house, therefore it made sense to continue the theme through the kitchen," says Mills. "Also, people don't move in right-angles, they move in curves, so why design in straight lines? Every curve is unique. Every straight line is the same."

To highlight the benchtop, and also to tie in with existing sandblasted glass designs elsewhere in the home, Mills commissioned a local artist Basia Smolnicki to decorate the underside of the benchtop with images of native New Zealand birds and forests.

Although toughened glass is not the cheapest or the easiest material to work with, Mills points out that it is a very practical benchtop material because of its hard-wearing and scratch-resistant qualities.


The custom-made cabinets beneath the bench-top incorporate small, individually lit alcoves, or "sanctuaries for personal treasures," says Mills. These recesses are a signature of his work and add further to the kitchen's individuality.

Set on a low platform, this central working area gives the appearance of extending into the living area, inviting guests to linger on its wings, as the owners prepare the meals.

The cooking area, however, takes a back seat. This is a deliberate move by Mills who says that the cooking, as opposed to the preparation and the presentation of a meal, is becoming less important in today's homes. "I've been to homes where the owner's been living in for months, and the instruction booklet's still in the oven," says Mills.

First published date: 23 February 2004

Credit List

Architect John Mills, John Mills Architects NZIA (Wellington)
Kitchen designer John Mills Architects
Kitchen manufacturer Blair Spicer Joiners
Builder McKee Works
Painter Ian Robinson
Cabinets Finish by Intercoat
Benchtop Glass by Metroglass; pattern/artwork by Basia Smolnicki of Art + Architecture
Flooring NZ Eucalypt
Wall coverings Dulux paints
Lighting Riel Lighting
Sink Regent 390 round bowls
Taps Methven
Oven/dishwasher/hobs Fisher & Paykel
Refrigerator Fisher & Paykel Inox in Iridium