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An award-winning professional designer thinks of everything

This sleek kitchen by designer Kira Gray responds to everything from the need for flow to pleasing connections to the wider 1970s interior, along with a 100 other things along the way. The kitchen just 'sings' without you knowing exactly why – the mark of a great design 

A 1970S architecturally designed board and batten home, featuring cedar and schist accents’ is the setting for this modern, in-tune kitchen by designer Kira Gray of Fyfe Kitchens.

However, while the home had great bones, the kitchen was dark with overpowering soaring Douglas Fir timber sarked ceilings, exposed trusses and a sea of small terracotta tiles to the floors. The walls were exposed block.

“The existing U-shaped kitchen was also architectural in its own right, but at the same time it was dark and gloomy with poor lighting, and unpractical for the family of four,” says Gray. “It needed a freshen up to suit the current time – the owner liked contemporary design and was keen for a sleek aesthetic.”

In reality, though, ‘freshen up’ was something of an understatement.


“The challenge was how to retain this architectural edge – how to stay true to the design and good bones of the space without ruining the home. After all, the house was unique and the kitchen needed to blend within the amazing structure,” says Gray.

Seen from all living areas and outdoor entertaining, the homeowner requested display shelving and to keep the existing pantry space, but doors were a problem opening into the walkway to the exterior door and laundry. Improving flow was important.

In response, the overall space was treated as one – transformed into a beautifully blended architectural statement. The ceilings were blonded and beams were darkened. The existing block walls to the kitchen were smoothed with a Rockcote finish and the floor was replaced with new tiles.

“To maximise benchspace and storage to the kitchen, the fridge, crockery pantry and coffee station were positioned off to the side but still within easy reach,” says the kitchen designer. “The existing pantry was re-designed with bifold pocket doors out of the walkway.”

Overall, the kitchen was kept as a U shape, as this arrangement flowed well and defined the space. A mixed earthy palette of materials was introduced to anchor the kitchen and fit within the wider interior.

The choice of practical stainless steel to the sink bench connected with the softened raw concrete cooking and servery bench. The servery bench was cantilevered to float and enhance the feeling of space. A single black steel leg supporting the peninsula  servery connects with the black steel cubed display units. These slender-framed units are floated well above the window, keeping everything airy and light.

Vertical timber battens to the wall units and peninsular link with the ceiling trusses, while the dark painted cabinetry recedes and blends with the window joinery and floor.

Cabinetry lighting was strategically placed to all these areas for practical task use and emits a stunning glow which makes this kitchen pop.

A stone splashback was added for a touch of movement and impact, and avoiding handles helps give the kitchen its sleek, minimal appearance.

“The result is a blended, functional, sculptural kitchen that fits beautifully within its surroundings,” says Gray.

Contact Kira Gray, Fyfe Kitchens, phone: 027 271 4705, email: kira@fyfekitchens.co.nz, or head online: www.fyfekitchens.co.nz

29 Nov, 2020

Fyfe Kitchens Limited is a New Zealand owned and operated business. Based in Auckland, we design and manufacture complete cabinet solutions backed by over 40 years of experience.


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