Family friendly

as featured in
Originally the preserve of servants, this kitchen has been reconfigured as a comfortable and welcoming gathering place for family and friends
view of the new kitchen featuring cherry veneer cabinetry, ceiling, countertop, interior design, kitchen, brown, black
view of the new kitchen featuring cherry veneer cabinetry, autumn brown granite countertop, limestone tiled flooring, stainless steel cooktop/ventilation, kitchen appliances

Changes in the way we live and run our homes can be motivating reasons for renovating an old house. The home shown here was built at a time when, for many families, the kitchen was the domain of servants and was located in a separate wing from the rest of the house.

This way of life is now a distant memory and most families prefer a more casual lifestyle, with the kitchen as a gathering place for family and friends.

Kitchen designer Matthew Rao was asked by the owners of this home to update the kitchen and to make it more family-friendly.

The old kitchen wing contained three rooms a kitchen, butler's pantry and laundry/utility room. The family room was on a lower level and the home's main eating area was the formal dining room.

"We really wanted a kitchen with enough space to allow everyone to gather and eat together," says the owner.


floorplan of the house an kitchen angle, area, design, diagram, floor plan, line, plan, product, product design, text, white
floorplan of the house an kitchen

Rao opened up the kitchen and laundry to create one large space. The butler's pantry area was retained as a semi-separate space, opening off one end of the main kitchen. However, its layout was reorganized to make the space more functional and better connected with the rest of the kitchen.

Most food preparation and cooking is done in the main galley-shaped kitchen, which has a large granite-topped island in the center. In here are the cooktop, two wall ovens, a microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and a second dishwasher. Three bar stools provide seating at the island.

The galley is also designed to be the family and guest area. At the far end, which was previously the laundry, is a sofa, breakfast table and chairs. The matching bar stools and kitchen chairs are all height-adjustable so they can be moved around when extra seating is needed.

The butler's pantry is the main clean-up area, with a dishwasher, sink, bar refrigerator and ice maker. It also has a small bar area with a bar stool which matches the kitchen chairs, and a desk with a telephone and computer.

"This house was built in 1950, and apart from the kitchen, which was in its own wing, its design was very modern for the time.

Before shot of the old cluttered kitchen interior design, room, brown
Before shot of the old cluttered kitchen

"Our intention was to provide the house with a kitchen that looked as if it belonged in its modern setting. We believed the kitchen cried out for clean lines and simple architectural details," says Rao.

Beams on the tongue-and-groove ceiling were exposed and clad in cherry, matching the cherry finish on the tall cabinets. As a contrast and to compliment the grey limestone floor, grey laminate was chosen for vertical panels on the island and for the cabinets under the Caesarstone sink countertop.

The island is mounted on high, slim, tubular steel legs, and stainless steel appliances are all integrated to maintain the clean look.

"The granite-topped island contrasts with the simplicity of the Caesarstone, and adds pizzazz to a space where most surfaces have a matte finish. Wood is the only vertical material featuring grain or design," says Rao.

Sep 06, 2006

Credit list

Kitchen manufacturer
Island countertop
Heather grey limestone from Renaissance Tile and Bath
Dining table
Ligne Roset Crescendo
Benjamin Moore
Franke undermount
Hot water system
Cherry veneer and
Main countertop
Bar stools
Ligne Roset Pam
Ligne Roset Opium
Tech Lighting
Oven, dishwasher
Sub-Zero 700 Series, Sub-Zero 400 Series





Similar stories

Transitional bungalow renovation – classic meets contemporary

A renovation project by architect Carolyn Smith of Architecture Smith + Scully has brought a transitional bungalow, previously altered in the 1970s, up to modern spec, thro... Read more

Mixed-use office, retail and hospitality hub takes design cues from railyard previously on site

New and adaptively reused old buildings comprise the new Platform mixed-use hub, which achieves harmony through a common palette of s... Read more

DIY Measurement & Calculation – Undertile Heating

The installation and running costs of undertile heating depends on the size of the room you are wanting to heat. Some people make calculations based on the size of the room…this is wrong! ... Read more

Latest books

Home Trends 3402

Placing the kitchen at the heart of a home is not just about creating a convenient zone for easy food preparation and eating meals.Just as important is the way it's seen as an attractive place where family can spend time togeth... Read more

Home Trends 3307

While we might all have ideas for the home design that we want, consulting a good architect or designer will also open us up to other design possibilities that we haven't thought of.To help get you started on creating the home ... Read more

Home Trends 3306

Renovating a tired and dated kitchen will not only add to your enjoyment of cooking – it can also totally transform the way you use all of your living spaces, indoors and out. But where do you start and what's actually possible... Read more

Related profiles

Creative Flooring

Creative Flooring is 100% NZ owned and operated and the only company in New Zealand that can produce pre-finished wood and cork flooring to order, in a range of colours to match any décor. Read more

RH Cabinetmakers

With years of experience, we specialise in custom cabinet design of quality kitchens, bathroom vanities, laundries, furniture, shelving, counters & bars. Read more