Nothing is black and white

This coastal family home's largely black and white interior is the result of tweaked original plans – having the owner as builder keeps things personal

Interior design by Kate Gardham, Suede + Stone

From the interior designer:

On a clifftop in Auckland’s Whangaparoa region of Stanmore Bay this new build sits with unobstructed ocean vistas.

As well as optimising the spectacular views, the modern home also needed to reflect the owners' personal style. 

One of the owners is also the builder, so naturally was emotionally invested.

The owners, a young family, loved the colour black and this was the pivotal point for the interiors of this project.

Changes to the original plan

I felt the original design proposed lacked a flow and functionally that was crucial to everyday living for this family of four. 

This included having a powder room close to the main living spaces for the family or guests to use and to achieve this we repositioned it to space allocated for storage cupboards. 


Importantly, we also changed the L-shaped kitchen to a galley style kitchen, creating the best flow along with enabling straight-on drawers access straight on.

This design also made it easier to define the cooking and cleaning zones. 

The reconsidered layout also allowed us to create a longer island and accentuate the modern approach of the kitchen, while reinforcing a solid form – reflective of the overall feel of the architecture.

A honed marble stone runs the length of the back wall, housing the cooking zone and accompanied with ample drawer storage. 

On the opposite side, the preparation and washing zones are set off by the curved reeded bar back and marble benchtop.

In the main kitchen, the fridge and Blum space tower (for fresh and dry food storage) have all been integrated behind cabinetry doors. 

The doors are in a vertical crown cut American white oak stained in a custom darker tone to give contrast to the white island and blonde timber floors.

To provide a depth of form, the island and rangehood have been wrapped in a curved reeded profile – creating texture in the generally monochromatic kitchen.

A separate scullery sits to the left of the main kitchen and provides the luxury of separating food preparation from the main space when entertaining. 

It is equipped with a second sink and dishwasher & ample storage for the avid cook and entertainer.  

The kitchen and scullery have picture windows that we reconfigured to bench height – maximising natural light and views.


Further attention to detail can be seen in the two-way fireplace wall that has been wrapped in the same American timber veneer, adding texture and defining the dining area from the adjoining lounge spaces.

While playing on the theme of layers, the reeded detailing was carried through from the kitchen into the bathroom vanities. 

These vanities have been designed as ‘pieces’ of bespoke furniture, with ample storage below. 

The kit-kat tiles used in the bathroom and laundry have a connection with the reeding profile seen in the kitchen.

For the master ensuite we went for a single tile for wall and floors and with special placement of accent lights, which created lovely moody pockets of light.


The focal point of this home was the sea views and the joinery had been set at a standard 2m height, potentially cutting off the connection to the views.

This was increased to the maximum height that the beam structure allowed for in the design while an additional window was set above the doors/beam in the dining room to give a sense of space where the ceilings soared to their highest point.

The corner wall was removed and the stacker doors were increased so that main lounge could open up at the corner point (doors opened up both sides).

This gave a lovely openness and flow from inside to outside and allowed uninterrupted views when sitting in both lounges.

There was a solid wall between the two formal and informal lounges, which I felt was a wasted opportunity for the family not to be able to take in the sea views while cosied around the fireplace.

We replaced this with a much smaller side wall, that was now to be a timber fin wall where the light and view could still be seen and filter through – resulting in a more subtle division between the two lounge spaces.

Master wing

I also reconfigured the master wing – the master bedroom now allows for a king size bed, which was much needed when the children come into the master for snuggles in the morning.  

It also meant we could create a feature wall in vertical board behind the master bed.

We removed the wall in the wardrobe to allow access into the ensuite that now boasts a Jack and Jill shower. 

There is now timber framed opaque glass doors that recess and pocket into the wardrobe to close off when using the ensuite. 

A small window in the shower was removed and replaced with a skylight above that floods lots of natural light into the ensuite and adjoining wardrobe.

Other elements

We also incorporated the toilet into the main bathroom with a new layout that allowed for a longer vanity and repositioned the wardrobe and linen closet.

The reeding profile was carried through into the timber frame and reeded glass doors for the scullery and main living area.

The owners wanted the timber floors to be a blonde sandy colour to remind them of the sandy beach below and these were custom coloured to achieve the colour that they loved.

There was a collaborative approach between architect, designer and builder (Home owner) and their own cabinet maker they engaged for this project.

Communication was key

Communication was key to executing this interior design where we would normally manufacturer our own designs. 

Credit list

Interior designer
Kitchen designer
Kate Gardham, Suede + Stone
Ze Build
Colorsteel – black 350 profile
Window/door joinery
APL Architectural Series, from Altherm Joinery
Bedroom flooring
Master – Custom colour engineered timber, from Bespoke Timbers; other bedrooms – Belleza Escarra carpet in Pearl Ash, from Flooring Xtra
Bathroom tiles
Orobico Grey Honed, Yubi I Solid White Matt, both from Tile Space
Resene Black White; Dulux Pukaki for master bedroom feature wall
Escea DS1150 double sided, gas
Control systems
Switch Lighting
Dining table and chairs
Custom made dining table, from Suede + Stone; Wishbone dining chairs, from Cintesi
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Ze Build
Kitchen designer
Hermpac – Western Red Cedar Wood-x Shale
Louvre system
Custom colour engineered timber, from Bespoke Timbers
Furtex, from Indie Home
American oak with custom oiled finished for 2 way Fireplace surround (dining/ family room); Plankwall V100 Vertical Board (master bedroom)
EES Central heating
Pendant light, from Lighting Direct; Monroe Alabaster Pendant over kitchen island; brass fittings powder-coated black
Living area furniture
Custom made sofas from Suede + Stone; black metal frame occasional chairs from Ornament
Timber + reeded Glass doors custom made by IPS for scullery and main living

Designed by: Suede + Stone

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Mitch Brown, Fabit Photography

18 Feb, 2024

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