Stepping back in time

In renovating their kitchen, the owners of this 1950s home wanted to retain the original design integrity, but make it more practical for modern needs
Story by: Mary Webb
View of a kitchen which features blue cabinetry interior design, room, window, gray
View of a kitchen which features blue cabinetry and overhead cabinets suspended from the ceiling with glass sliding doors, stainless steel and laminate benchtops, appliances, lighting and a booth.

While we may admire a particular design aesthetic from the past, often the practical detailing doesn't really measure up to the needs of a more contemporary lifestyle.

The owners of this home, designed in 1948 by Wellington architects Plischke and Firth, loved the 1950s-era styling of the kitchen, but needed more space for a growing family. The old kitchen was small and dark, so designer Daniel Woolley suggested opening up two rooms to create one larger space for a kitchen, dining area and homework or study space. Windows and doors now link this area to the garden.


View of blue-painted kitchen cabinetry. cabinetry, countertop, home, interior design, kitchen, room, wall, window, gray
View of blue-painted kitchen cabinetry.

The owners wanted to re-use some of the existing cabinetry in the new kitchen, but with more practical features. Part of the old cabinetry was carefully removed, restored and refitted along one wall of the new kitchen, with pull-out flour bins installed behind the original doors. New cabinets were finished to match a hand-painted finish mimics the original joinery, and handles are in a 1950s style. For convenience, doors and drawers feature modern soft-close runners.

Booth seating has a 1950s look, as do the hanging cabinets with glass sliding doors over the peninsula bench. These are positioned higher than the originals, and used for display rather than storage. A freestanding stove has a retro feel and the refrigerator and freezer are integrated into cabinetry. Behind the clear glass splashback, the wall is finished in a brightly coloured 1950s-style wallpaper.

Aug 28, 2009

Credit list

Interior designer
Eleanor Steel, ES Design
Oven and cooktop
Smeg from Kitchen Things
Refrigeration
Liebherr integrated refrigerator/freezer from Kitchen Things
Splashback
Bridey Farrell wallpaper behind glass
Benchtops
Stainless steel; Laminex White Flint; Laminex Tetra Ice
Lighting
Vintage lamps and undercabinet fluorescents
Taps
Methven Nilo Pillar sink faucet
Windows and doors
Double glazed from A1 Joinery
Kitchen manufacturer
A1 Joinery
Ventilation
Asko Powerpack from Kitchen Things
Dishwasher
Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer
Cabinetry
Hand-painted with Resene Juniper and Rice Cake paint
Flooring
Existing tongue and groove
Sink
Reginox Princess 80
Table
Custom booth in vinyl finish
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