How best to accommodate a functional kitchen within a modest-sized, open-plan apartment? This design is a great example

This modest kitchen offers all the drama and function of a much larger space – an antique mirror and good cabinet choices help it grow

The owners wanted this compact apartment kitchen to have a New York loft-like aesthetic. The slight irony is that while Manhattan is also an island, this kitchen is in a much more laid back off-shore setting – that is Waiheke Island.

The island location meant added overall considerations for kitchen designer Leonie Hamill of Cube Dentro and for interior designer Peta Davy of Yellowfox in terms of budget, transportation and time frames.

The owners, a professional couple, wanted a tailored kitchen that would support, rather than compete with its limited footprint, says Hamill.

“Essentially, to suit their busy lifestyle, the compact kitchen still had to perform with all the creativity and functionality of a larger space.”

This best-of-everything kitchen by designer Leonie Hamill of
This best-of-everything kitchen by designer Leonie Hamill of Cube Dentro and Peta Davy of Yellowfox occupies a modest space but still achieves a major impact. The dark-toned veneer cabinetry also extends to other areas of the open apartment, while an antique mirror provides a splashback and added sense of space. Thanks to planning and savvy cabinet design the unit has plenty of hidden functionality.

On entry, much of the apartment is directly on show, so design solutions had to be cohesive across the entire space.

“Choosing the right finish was instrumental to achieving a seamless aesthetic throughout. We chose a warm wood veneer that would work well across many different areas, including the media area, bar setting and master suite wardrobe, as well as the kitchen. With the wood grain carefully selected for every panel, the resulting colour is welcoming, evocative and timeless.”

One of the hardest working features to offset the limited space is a beautiful antique mirror. Acting as a splashback, the mirror provides an artwork in its own right and, of course, it also tricks the eye, suggesting a much larger space.

The kitchen offers a wealth of storage and cooking options, along with rich visual detail.

“From the negative detailing, handle inserts, pops of metal and mirror, to the open shelves and customised lighting – the kitchen is infused with character and is a genuine reflection of the personalities who live here,” says Hamill.

Peta Davy says the apartment was also used as a showcase for local architects and designers – to show how the best of everything found in a modern New York unit could similarly be enjoyed in the sleepier Waiheke Island context.

“For example, in the kitchen the Dekton benchtop sets a dusky industrial tone reflected in the bronze mirror splashback, while the high-end veneer cabinetry is trimmed with copper accents,” says Davy. 

“Hettich inserts to drawers and cupboards get the most out of the modest space, and the kitchen also showcases the latest and best high-end appliances.”

Credit list

Kitchen designer
Leonie Hamill, Cube Dentro
Prime Art Sawn Veneer, Planked rustic, with Mirotone2001 Earth Conco coating, clear polyurethane finish
Cosentino Deckton Trillium
Bronze mirror, by Image Glass, and an antique mirror
Nivito Rhythm, from Paterson
Bosch 4 Zone Induction
Bosch, fully integrated
Wine fridge
Interior designer
Peta Davy, Yellowfox
Cabinetry hardware
Hettich, ArciTech Soft Close, colour champagne
Timber, existing
Kitchen sink
Burns and Ferrall Granite Quadra
Bosch Pyro oven with Combi Steam Assist
Bosch power pack
Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Kitchens – Highly Commended

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Stephanie Creagh

03 May, 2020

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