Flexible fashion

Neutrals and white predominate in this kitchen, which comes alive with colour and pattern that can be changed whenever the family chooses
view of the kitchen featuring blum kitchen cabinetry, countertop, dining room, home, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, gray, white
view of the kitchen featuring blum kitchen cabinetry, glass splashback, laminate and quartz countertops, cork flooring, stainless steel kitchen appliaces

If you're about to commit yourself to a kitchen that you want to enjoy for years to come, it might be worth taking a close look at the colours and patterns you're planning to use.

That was the thinking behind this kitchen designed by the homeowner, Sally Steer. She chose white, taupe and silver to establish a neutral base, then opted for turquoise on the walls and brown for the cork flooring to lift the space and create a relaxed, beach-like feel.

"I wanted a kitchen that was fairly timeless and minimalist, but one that had an element of fun," says Steer.

To do this, she made sure that key elements of the room could be changed and updated as fashions and her family's tastes changed.

"The walls are a soft turquoise at the moment, but as the room gets a lot of natural light on all sides it could easily hold a much darker colour, such as red, charcoal or green," she says.


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close up view of the blum kitchen cabinetry featuring a resene semi gloss lacquer

Open shelving above the cooker and benchtop is another way of re-styling the room, as ceramics and glassware can be rotated to evoke different moods and styles. A typically European look, open shelves are becoming increasingly fashionable as a way of bringing more life and character into a kitchen, says Steer. But the real secret of this kitchen's flexibility lies in the panel on the kitchen island, which currently displays a bold slice of 1970s retro. As soon as the family tires of the pattern, the glass and aluminium frame can be dismantled and a new look slotted in.

It's a change that has already been done once: this kitchen featured at a national home show, where the panel housed striped wallpaper reminiscent of a canvas beach chair. In future the panel could hold another pattern, a poster or even children's drawings.

"The retro pattern on the back of the island is very out there and it's the first thing you see when you walk into the kitchen," says Steer. "I really needed a way of changing it easily."

The idea for the panel came about initially because Steer wanted to stop her children's feet scuffing the island. The solution was glass held in place by an aluminium frame, much like an aluminium door or window.

Practicality is also evident elsewhere in the kitchen. Custom-made corner drawers allow easy access to equipment. Appliances and plugs are tucked away out of sight in the appliance garage, freeing up the splashback and leaving it easier to clean. The rangehood is also hidden from view in the open shelving above the oven and benchtops.

view of the kitchen featuring blum kitchen cabinetry, countertop, daylighting, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, table, white
view of the kitchen featuring blum kitchen cabinetry, glass splashback, laminate and quartz countertops, cork flooring, stainless steel kitchen appliaces

"Rangehoods can date quickly, and they gather dust and grease if they are exposed," says Steer. "Once they go out fashion, they can date the whole kitchen and they're expensive to replace."

To provide a practical floor surface, Steer chose a new type of cork flooring from Belgium that is durable and warm underfoot.

"More than ten thousand people walked over the floor during the home show, and at the end of the show the flooring was still good enough to be taken home and laid in my new kitchen."

Feb 23, 2007

Credit list

Kitchen manufacturer
Storage
Tandem box drawers by Blum
Flooring
Cork from LFC Flooring
Lighting
Expert Electrical
Splashback
Colour-backed glass from Kitchen Elements
Oven
Westinghouse
Ventilation
Parmco Turbo Pak
Dishwasher
Bosch
Cabinetry
Semi-gloss lacquer from Resene
Benchtops
Laminate and quartz stone by KE
Wall coverings
‘Moby’ from Resene
Kitchen sink
Franke
Taps
Methven Minimalist
Cooktop
Fisher & Paykel
Refrigeration
Fisher & Paykel
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