Island life

A large, Pacific-inspired island centered in this renovated kitchen transforms a small utilitarian space into the home's social hub
view of this kitchen featuring walnut and stainless countertop, furniture, interior design, kitchen, room, table, brown
view of this kitchen featuring walnut and stainless steel benchtops, stained timber flooring, stainles steel kitchen appliances, dual recessed stainless sinks, hand painted splashback

One of the benefits of undertaking a renovation room by room is that design ideas can gradually unfold as the owner gets a feel for living within the space.

For this renovation project, the kitchen was the last room to be dealt with. Located at the back of the villa, it was essentially an outdated, functional area for cooking that lacked adequate storage. The client's brief invited the design team to push the boundaries of originality, says graduate architect Emily Reich, and the results express the creativity of those involved.

"Crafting something striking for this kitchen was important to the owner, as was making the area easy for a cook to work in, and providing a welcoming feel for friends and family."

The brief focused on updating the appliances, allowing for generous storage, and creating a cosy place for extra guests or to sit and read. The design also needed to maximise access to a small outdoor courtyard while minimising the view of a neighbour's unappealing back yard.


View of the upholstered bench seat with table bedroom, ceiling, furniture, home, interior design, lighting, lighting accessory, room, table, wall, wood, orange
View of the upholstered bench seat with table and desk lamp

As the distance to the living areas wasn't conducive to socialising while cooking, a central post and beam in the old kitchen were removed to open up an area large enough for guests to mingle.

Adding drama and life to the new space using colour, shape and texture was a collaborative effort between architects, designers and artists. The design evolved around the idea of a central workspace an island where guests could relax and chat while the host prepared drinks or a meal, says Reich.

"The island had to be pretty special. We gave artist and designer John Calvert a shape for the unit and layout for the cupboards below and he took it from there."

The organic shape adds a flow to the kitchen, says Calvert. The functional side of the island is fitted with two stainless steel sink bowls, a faucet, microwave and DishDrawers. Curved copper-clad doors on the other side, with a patina in the shape of waves and tropical flowers, conceal three cupboards.

view of this kitchen featuring walnut and stainless countertop, home appliance, interior design, kitchen, kitchen stove, major appliance, room, brown, blue
view of this kitchen featuring walnut and stainless steel benchtops, stained timber flooring, stainles steel kitchen appliances, dual recessed stainless sinks, hand painted splashback

Vibrant blues and greens were alsointroduced, with some of the colours reflected in the hand-painted splashback.

A solid black walnut benchtop, coated with two-pot lacquer, is inlaid with a winding strip of aluminium to give the vastness of the wood some delicacy. The smaller table set into the banquet seat matches the benchtop.

Just beyond the kitchen, a manuka stave fence borders a native pebble garden, creating privacy and a sculptural surface for sunlight and garden lights to wash over.

Feb 23, 2007

Credit list

Designer
Emily Reich (NZIA)
Cabinetry
Spray MDT, copper
Wallcoverings
Resene paint
Splashback
Innovations On Glass
Kitchen manufacturer
John Calvert, TRS Joiners
Benchtops
Black walnut inlaid with stainless steel,
Lighting
Reil Lighting
Cooktop, oven and refrigerator
Fisher & Paykel
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