Want to dramatically lift your kitchen's game with one power inclusion? Beautiful marble benchtops complete this refined, hard-working kitchen
2021 kitchen trends
So, what does the coming year hold in terms of kitchen design? Two leading New Zealand kitchen designers answer some questions as to what might lie ahead in terms of cabinetry, benchtops, appliances and materials
Urban chic has never been this easy
The individualistic, rugged Industrial style is now easy to achieve with Cosentino's latest range of concrete-look, high-performance surfaces available in a variety of colours. Exuding character and suited to a variety of spaces, these highly contemporary, easy-care surfaces are a shortcut to an evocative industrial ambience
Rough with the smooth
Rugged is almost an understatement for the tile splashbacks in this semi-industrial look kitchen and attached scullery. Dekton solid surface benchtops provide a sleek counterpoint
All the concrete work in this house was fabricated and detailed by the designer, including its dramatic benchtops
Set in concrete – an angled, oxide red concrete island delineates this kitchen from the dining area and acts as a prepping area, or servery. The second island has a thick, bullnosed concrete benchtop
In the right vein – exotic benchtops pull this kitchen design together
Every little bit helps. This two-toned kitchen’s veined quartzite benchtops and splashback pick up on the white and dark tones in the room
Superman would approve of this steel-look kitchen
A steel look benchtop finish that's soft to the touch? This kitchen reflects the latest surface technologies, plus striking features such as a steel access ladder on its own tracks and matt stainless steel toekicks. The man of steel would love this space, except maybe that kryptonite toaster
Slender countertops are a feature of this modern kitchen
Marble-look quartzite used for the splashback and countertop in the cooking zone of this renovated kitchen is in a leathered finish and connects with the slender countertops used on the outer perimeter cabinets
Change of heart – a layout rethink gains valuable bench space in this kitchen
While this overall kitchen space is reasonably compact, the homeowners wanted the bench space maximised in their new kitchen. Replacing a return with a small island improved flow as well as storage options
Granite benchtop brings design harmony
Looking to draw the tones of your kitchen together in one harmonising feature? For this design, a benchtop anchors the principal colours
Limited budget? Make your best surfaces count
With a budget to consider, the designer of this kitchen reserved the more expensive finishes for the areas directly on show
It does feel spacious – but why?
This kitchen achieves a sense of spaciousness in part through its built-in divides. The island separates one side of the kitchen from the other, while a coffee nook breaks up the kitchen work zones from the dedicated coffee station.
Sculptural stone island provides ideal place to gather throughout the day
While many kitchens become the social hub of a home, this one goes a step further – having a wine cellar next to the island was the main focus of its design
The underlit cantilevered countertop provides a sculptural feature in this entertainer’s kitchen
Opening up to the wider interior – and to the outdoors as well – this light-filled, hard-working kitchen provides a social hub and a harmonious focal point
The benchtop in this kitchen appears to levitate off the ground
Are benchtops like jeans? Flares one minute, drainpipes the next? Much like jeans today, with benchtops anything that works is 'in'. This svelte benchtop appears to almost levitate.
Modern kitchen connects with traditional home through materials appropriate to the time – kitchen, benchtops
One treatment to make your countertops sing is to include a living edge – an edge that reflects the character of the wood or stone surface – as with the hood apron in this kitchen
Natural materials help this family kitchen connect with its outlook
While this island’s marble waterfall benchtop doesn’t dominate when viewed from the dining area, it has a more dramatic impact when you enter this area from the adjacent hallway
Natural materials help this family kitchen connect with its outlooks – kitchens, benchtops
Slender is in and so is plenty of bench space This contemporary marble benchtop overhangs the front of the kitchen island, creating a family breakfast bar
Dramatic yet highly practical workspace – kitchen, benchtops
For this strong, contemporary kitchen, a cantilevered limestone benchtop sitting on the matt black bench creates a dramatic feature for prepping, serving and socialising
Strong materials and a simple layout are central to this kitchen with a semi-industrial aesthetic – kitchens, benchtops
A slender granite island benchtop contrasts with a chunkier engineered stone in a white concrete finish, for this mix-and-match kitchen design
Clifftop apartment combines unbeatable harbour views with open plan luxury interiors – kitchen, benchtops
This fully integrated kitchen incorporates stunning natural stone benchtops and a full suite of flush black Miele appliances
Textured cabinetry contrast the smooth stone bench top in this kitchen
There are more ways to coordinate than with colour. The 3D nature of the staved tall cabinet faces and doors in this kitchen contrasts the smooth texture of the marble island benchtop
Benvenuto! – benchtops
A long quartz benchtop – actually 4.6m in length – means this kitchen has plenty of space for easy socialising, as well as for prepping and serving
This kitchen finds a neat way of dealing with perimeter benchtops
Like neat? Having the perimeter benchtops sit flush with the window architraves was a request of the owners for this dramatic, well-balanced kitchen
Similar at a glance, these islands have dedicated roles
While both islands in this kitchen have an industrial accent, they are still dramatically different. The baking island has a marble top and pressed metal and wood finishes, while the chef’s island at rear has a rugged engineered stone benchtop and is painted with heavy-duty marine paint.
Two large islands take centre stage in this commercial-look domestic kitchen – kitchen, benchtops
Why not have different benchtops for different uses if your kitchen allows for it? This chef's island has a dramatically cantilevered dedicated teppanyaki benchtop. The marble benchtop beyond is for baking
Hangin' out for teppanyaki?
Set in a seemingly impossible cantilevered engineered stone benchtop, a teppanyaki grill extends off one end of a chef’s island in this industrial-chic kitchen with Asian accents
Tall and handsome
When there's not much existing storage, a giant wall of visually receding floor-to-near-ceiling white cabinetry more than fits the bill
Smart, clean-lined kitchen with scullery occupies the most unlikely of settings – kitchen, benchtops
Minimalist handles and a general lack of detailing give this kitchen a distinctly modern presence – and slender Dekton benchtops are a part of that
Minimalist, easy-to-clean kitchen has dedicated zones and strong material palette – kitchen, benchtops
The clouds outside seem to merge with the veined patterning on this leathered granite island benchtop – the stone worksurface adds a sense of luxury and textural interest in this pared back kitchen
New layout, materials and finishes bring dramatic changes to outdated kitchen – kitchen, benchtops
Need discreet, to-hand storage? Look carefully at that thick benchtop – it actually contains drawers for cutlery and other items
Upmarket natural materials and a strong sense of symmetry achieve a restful workspace – kitchen, benchtops
Is benchtop fashion a little like jeans fashion? Fat was in, thin was in, now anything goes? A slender top and chunky waterfall sides give the island in this kitchen a strong presence.
Dramatic yet highly practical workspace
Taking its cues from the architecturally designed rural home it forms part of, this clean-lined kitchen reflects personality and modernity, with its extensive functionality downplayed visually
Minimalist, easy-to-clean kitchen has dedicated zones and strong material palette
A semi-industrial palette of wood, concrete and steel gives this kitchen a strong presence and also connects it to the wider surroundings
Upmarket apartment makeover connects rooms with harbour views and celebrates this through interior tones and artworks – kitchens – benchtops
Every new component in this luxuriously designed apartment – granite benchtops included – were designed to be flat packed, scaled to fit inside the lift car and reassembled on site.
All tucked in
Want an island breakfast bar but not the cluttered floorspace from protruding stools? On this kitchen, by di Rosa Cabinetry & Furniture, space was made so seating can tuck right in under the island
Explored all your options for your kitchen countertop? What about concrete? Today’s concrete tops are as smooth, warm and resilient as any other countertop material. The concrete countertop in this kitchen creates a casual hub for the family.
Over the counter connections
As one of the most prominent surfaces in your kitchen, your benchtops offer a subtle or not so subtle way to connect other surfaces tonally. In this design by Bijl Architects, the black and white cabinetry is set back into the wall planes while the subtle veining in the marble-look countertops connects with both the black and white surfaces.
The end is always in sight
A beautiful marble waterfall countertop is a prominent feature to greet visitors on entering this open-plan indoor-outdoor living space.
If you have a young family, one way to keep them focussed on meal times is to opt for a bench with seating on both sides. This allows the children to eat facing each other, minimising distractions from other areas of an open-plan interior.
It's a wrap
Wrapped in a classic stone-look Caesarstone on the front, sides and top, this island has a dramatic if pared-back presence.
Are thick, chunky benchtops still the way to go?
This depends greatly on the overall design – in this kitchen, slender countertops help build a refined, minimalist appeal.
White coastal kitchen complements the blue ocean
A substantial island in exotic veined marble is matched with minimalist cabinetry and touches of natural timber – this kitchen offers both a focal point and a natural complement to the ocean outlooks
An angled, oxide red concrete island delineates this kitchen from the more formal dining area and acts as a cutting and prepping area, or as a buffet servery. The second island houses the cooking zone and has a 7.6cm thick, bullnosed concrete benchtop that cantilevers over the cabinetry on the back side.
Kitchen connects to its surroundings through material choices
Tall banks of cabinetry and appliances are demurely set back into the walls in this contemporary kitchen within a revamped cottage interior
In this kitchen, the countertops do the talking
In this entertainer’s kitchen, high-gloss cabinetry reflects the high-rise apartment’s views while the tactile island is silky to the touch
Update your kitchen without spending a fortune
Forget replacing cabinets and tearing up the floors – with a few small changes, you can make your kitchen feel like new
Centrally located kitchen has great looks and also achieves a feeling of intimacy, despite its open, light-filled surroundings – kitchen, benchtops
This kitchen has a work surface for every occasion – with the waterfall island benchtop in Caesarstone Jet Black; the hard-working cooktop bench in 5mm stainless steel plate; and the out-of-sight scullery in Prima Stone Solid Surface – colour, Frost Land.
Seen from the outdoor entertaining space, this contemporary kitchen by Lume Design works well with the clean lines of the wider entertainment space. The interior designers gave the kitchen cabinetry a frame of its own and extended the long island countertop beyond that as a casual breakfast area.
Slim? Chunk? Both?
Trends can evolve in benchtop design, often in relation to thickness. Slender is becoming increasingly popular, and substantial also remains a hit. So, how about both? This marble island, in a kitchen by Pepper Design, has a waterfall countertop with a slender top and chunky sides.
A long marble-clad kitchen island is the central feature of this kitchen and includes a fitted chopping board that can be positioned anywhere along the island.
Rich and complex
The material you choose for your benchtop can set the scene for the entire kitchen, as with this new kitchen by Lloyd Hartley Architects – so this will be high on your budget consideration priorities.
While all business for the chef, the island benchtop in this kitchen by Matisse all but conceals a flush hob, pop-up extractor and recessed double sinks.
In the right vein
The rich warmth of timber and the sheer coolness of white veined black marble – seen to striking effect on the feature waterfall island benchtop – are celebrated in this new two-tone kitchen by Eliska Lewis Architects.
Taking the long view
Jason Higham: “Rather than choosing a U-shaped or island bench kitchen for this renovation, we opted for a design that incorporated the dining area. This arrangement creates an easy connection and has the other big advantage of making the entire area feel significantly larger than it actually is.”
The stainless steel front panel on this kitchen island opens up as an extension to the countertop, revealing a storage space behind.
There’s no governing rule that all benchtops have to match – with variety, comes visual interest and function-specific choices. This scullery in a kitchen fit-out by Studio Italia features no-nonsense, hard-working stainless steel benchtops while the front-of-house kitchen has a waterfall island in sumptuously veined marble – the latter also features on the wall of the scullery as a visual connector to the kitchen.
Want your kitchen to have immediate presence? Start with what is most prominent. A white waterfall benchtop flowing over a wood-fronted island creates a strong presence for this minimalist kitchen by di Rosa Cabinetry & Furniture.
Stone benchtops are hard and cold. Maybe.
However, for this bespoke vanity by award-winning designer Leon House, he nestled and framed the Dolomite Alba stone benchtop within the rich veneered cabinetry – thereby softening the presence of the stone.
Renovation brings out the best in this home
Looks can be deceiving – that's definitely the case here. Hiding behind this historic villa's traditional facade is a much more modern home, thanks to its contemporary extension