Modern, Irene James-designed kitchen in Lockwood house

Contemporary blonde-wood family kitchen in an open-plan waterside home.
Rift Melamine cabinets harmonise with the blonded timber countertop, daylighting, house, interior design, kitchen, real estate, window, wood, white
Rift Melamine cabinets harmonise with the blonded timber walls in the modern kitchen in this new Lockwood home. The frosted glass splashback was specified to ensure the woodgrain of the timber would not be obscured. Like the pendant lights, the frosted glass also reflects the changing light on the estuary beyond. Fisher & Paykel appliances were chosen to complement the crisp, rectilinear lines of the interior.

When an architect and interior designer work together on a new home project right from the start, you can be assured every detail will be fine-tuned leaving nothing to chance, including the kitchen design.

Such was the case for this project. The Lockwood house was designed by architect Jorgen Frandsen of Ambienti Team Architects, with the interior and kitchen design by Irene James of James Trent Design both Tauranga-based companies.

James says she worked very closely with the owners on the interior.

"The home has an idyllic waterfront location, which impacted on the kitchen design, just as much as it did on the rest of the architecture," she says.

"It was essential that the kitchen be an integral part of the overall design, so that it would not detract from the view. It needed to blend in effortlessly in terms of the materials and design."


Designed to maximise a spectacular waterfront view, this daylighting, house, interior design, real estate, window, wood, white, orange
Designed to maximise a spectacular waterfront view, this house opens up to a long terrace. The kitchen is also designed to ensure the view is glimpsed from all areas. Large wooden ranchsliding doors ensure maximum indoor-outdoor flow.

For this reason, James specified Rift Melamine cabinets with an understated woodgrain finish for the island, and a shelving unit and countertop to one side.

"This is a perfect complement to the blonded timber walls," the designer says. "At the same time, however, because there is so much wood in the house, we wanted to include something different. Soft White Melamine cabinets with stainless steel benchtops provide contrast on the rear wall and give this part of the kitchen a slightly industrial look."

Stainless steel is also on the custom rangehood that conceals a powerpack ventilation unit, on the toekicks and on a design feature on top of the island.

However, the splashback is in frosted glass a deliberate play on the changing light that occurs with the estuary tides and at different times of the day.

"The frosted glass reflects the light in the same way, and lets the grain of the timber walls show through," says James. "The essential nature of the Lockwood interior is never compromised."

Irene James kitchen in Lockwood house architecture, cabinetry, ceiling, countertop, daylighting, floor, hardwood, home, house, interior design, kitchen, plywood, real estate, wood, gray, brown
Irene James kitchen in Lockwood house

The designer says because the owners love to cook and entertain, the kitchen needed to be highly functional with plenty of storage right where it is needed.

"We added an aluminium appliance cupboard to conceal the small appliances and other items they needed to have close at hand. It keeps the clutter hidden."

James says although it seems simple, there is a wealth of detailing in the kitchen. A work counter in front of the window features concealed drawers with 45° arris corners, for example. Rift Melamine on the sides of the island wraps around the base to enclose the unit. And drawers include wooden liners for cutlery all simple touches that add a touch of refinement.

Jul 22, 2013
We know the specialists