A refined palette and crafted detail elements reference Mid-century design in this kitchen – with cabinetry doors closed, the look is of a minimalist dining area

Designed by Felicity Brenchley,  Felicity Brenchley Architects

From the architect:

The setting

Set on a 1.3 hectare piece of land overlooking the Mahurangi Harbour, this house is built as the first step in a larger project that will see former pasture regenerated into native bush and a productive food forest. 

As architect-owner-craftsperson I have personally been involved in every step of the project, using it as an opportunity to indulge my love of making by hand.

The overall approach was to build for longevity – to create a well-crafted building that resists future alteration by being everything that a growing family needs without excess. 

The focus was on efficient use of resources, selecting local, durable materials to reduce the building's carbon footprint and minimising waste – creating a healthy interior environment with non-toxic materials that also prevent contamination of the whenua & surrounding waterways.

The single-level house beds itself into a steep slope, retaining the hill & driveway above, while landscape elements step to suit the natural topography. 

A covered outdoor area is carved out of the simple rectangular floor plan creating distinct internal living spaces that remain visually connected.

Rooms are proportioned to suit pre-loved furnishings as well as custom built cabinetry & window seats. 

The continuous roof slopes from a social to intimate scale along the spinal corridor, with utilitarian spaces to the south and living to the north.

Composed of simple geometries and finely detailed junctions between materials, rectilinear, angled, and curved forms intersect with precision. 

The play of light and shadow is emphasised through skylights, deeply recessed glazing & brick screens. 

Robust brick & timber detailing extend to the interior, combining with handmade pendants, tiles & brass handles as an ode to craftsmanship.

The kitchen

The kitchen reflects the overall concept for the house using a refined material palette that references Mid-century design. 

Timber veneer cabinetry was hand-stained to match the natural Abodo Vulcan ceiling panelling, while white brick, glossy Moroccan mosaic tiles & white Dezignatek doors add texture and lightness to the space.

The island, in dark stain, intentionally contrasts the rest of the cabinets, with texture added by applying half-round beading to the curving form. 

Designed to feel more like a piece of furniture in the room, it is aligned with the dining table creating an axis within the space for people to gather around. 

The back wall of the space houses all appliances & sinks, leaving the large island as a serving/ prep area only.

Full-height veneer panelling conceals structural steel columns and integrates a high-level window while perfectly aligning with the ridge line. 

Cupboards below conceal a boiling water tap & sink for making tea & coffee, an integrated refrigerator & baking pantry. 

With doors closed, this space feels less like a kitchen & more like a minimalist dining area, perfect when entertaining. 

Conveniently, the bi-fold pantry doors can remain open during meal prep times.

This space comes into its own when making children's breakfasts and school lunches, as mess can easily be contained!

My involvement in the construction included assembling & installing all interior cabinetry, tiles & bricks. 

Cutshop provided custom CNC cut cabinet panels to my design & installation took place incrementally over several months in gaps between other projects and at weekends.

The custom brass cabinet handles were designed as a reflection of the curves and angles of the house & were made in collaboration with my mother Nicola Roake, who is a silversmith.

Credit list

Zellige mosaic by Tiles of Ezra, from Tile Depot
Buddy X by Plumbline
Bosch, from BSH
Fisher & Paykel
Water dispenser
Inninkerator from Parex
Concrete slab, polished
Cutshop supplied all panels, assembled and installed by owner; carcasses – black carcass ply from Plytech; veneer doors – Prime Veneer American White Oak, crown cut and stained with Osmo oil stain in Cognac; white doors – Dezignatek Milan Square White
Kitchen sink
Burns & Ferrall
Neff, from BSH
Robinhood, from Monaco
Monmouth Glass Studio
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Winner

Designed by: Felicity Brenchley Architects

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Samuel Hartnett

03 Feb, 2025

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