Dark Delight

A rich, dark palette was the order of the day for this new-build kitchen, positioned in an open-plan space that enjoys a stunning view of the harbour in Whangamata. 

This is a practical and versatile design that includes an on-bench pantry with hideaway doors that tuck out of sight, and when closed look super sleek.  The generous island bench facilitates a social connection and the ability to enjoy the fabulous view.

Employing great lighting and materials that offer visual interest are important considerations for a dark kitchen.  This is beautifully demonstrated here with a granite benchtop that has a captivating, marbled effect, and which pairs harmoniously alongside the black cabinets.  

The colour and texture of the brass mosaic splashback and the brass-look back wall of the pantry is a sumptuous feast for the eyes, and when lit up creates real ‘wow-factor’.

This very happy Whangamata couple offer some insights into the process of working with a designer, proving that the quality of your result doesn’t happen by accident.   


Q: Could you tell me a little about yourself and your family, and also about your home?  

We made the move from Tauranga to Whangamata 15 years ago. Murray teaches at the local school and I’m a travel broker. Our two daughters have now left home, so it’s just the two of us for the majority of the time – although one is a bit of a surfer and loves to spend time here when she can.   

We moved to Beach Road approximately five years ago and lived in the little 1950’s bach for 18 months, before having it removed so we could begin the process of building a brand new home. Our new house was finished two days before New Zealand went into Covid 19 lockdown in March 2020 – we were so grateful for that! 

 Q: Can you describe the space in which your kitchen sits? 

 The kitchen sits in an open-plan space that includes the dining and living areas. Working at the island bench takes full advantage of our amazing view of Whangamata Harbour.   

 Q: How did you come across Mastercraft Kitchens, and why did you choose them to design your new kitchen?  

Mastercraft Kitchens have been in Whangamata for a long time, so we were always aware of them. When it came to designing our new kitchen, we wanted the best and also wanted to shop local. Mastercraft Kitchens fitted the bill in both respects.   

 Q: What was your brief to the designer, and how did that brief evolve? 

 We took a picture from a magazine to show Carly, our designer, to give her an idea of our vision – and she ran with that, adding her expertise and thoughts along the way. We had many get-togethers in her office and she just seemed to be on the same page all the way, which was brilliant.   

 Q: How did the designer translate your brief – and was it what you expected? 

 Carly took our brief and, with the help of the Mastercraft Kitchens digital design systems, applied her wizardry. She offered us 3D designs and hard copies of plans, etc., so it was quite easy to see our vision coming to life.   

 Q: What were some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments of the design and installation process? 

 The most memorable day was travelling to Auckland to visit stone companies – and finding the perfect stone for our kitchen. The most enjoyable day was seeing the kitchen fully installed… that was a WOW day! 

 Q: What are your favourite parts of your new kitchen? 

 We love the huge island bench and the on-bench pantry, which is fantastic too. It gives so much practicality and versatility to the way we use the kitchen. We can either have the pantry open, with the hideaway doors tucked back, or fully closed-off to give a sleek lookThe detail on the draws and around the cupboard edges ties in well with the overall design. Carly spent a lot of time on site at our house and had discussions with our builder to get all of this right. 

 Q: Your kitchen has a rich, dark palette and uses some really interesting materials. How did you come across them? 

We knew from the start that we wanted a dark kitchen. Originally (from the photo we loved) the splashback was a polished brass, which was gorgeous. Carly went to a lot of trouble to find out where that brass came from, and she eventually located it in Auckland, but it was just a bit over-the-top price wise. In the end, Murray and I up found a brass mosaic tile at Tile Space in Tauranga. It fitted the budget and looks fantastic. Carly then suggested the brass-look Formica for the pantry, which was perfect. We get a lot of comments on both. 

 The benchtop was the first thing we purchased for the house. Carly played a big role in helping us find it, suggesting a couple of different stone companies in Auckland for us to visit. We ended up finding our ‘Leathered Negresso’ granite benchtop at Universal Stone. It was love at first sight and we still absolutely love it. 

What would be your advice to anyone who’s thinking of having a new kitchen designed?   

 Go to Mastercraft Kitchens – and in particular, if you’re in the Coromandel,  the team at Mastercraft Kitchens Whangamata.

How did you find the experience of working with Mastercraft Kitchens?  

 Two words – absolutely amazing! The whole experience, from the design stage with Carly, right through to the fitting of the kitchen, was smooth – well that’s how it seemed from our point of view, which is an art in itself! They are a very professional team, who all went the extra mile to bring our dream kitchen to fruition.    

Kitchen Specifications

Benchtop: Pacific Stone – Granite Negresso, Leathered

Cabinets: Bestwood – Recessed Black Melamine, Wilderness

Hardware: Blum – Legrabox, Onyx 

Sink: Archant – Kaikoura Single 1000-10 Nero

Splashback: Tile Space – Brass Polygon Mosaic Tiles 

Pantry Wall: Laminex – Brass-Look Formica


  • Fridge: LG 700L French Door with Instaview door in door
  • Oven, Stove, Convection Oven, Dishwasher: Neff
  • Rangehood: Bosch

Acknowledgements: Architect – Paul Spooner, Builder – Artz Architectural Builders

By Mastercraft Kitchens Whangamata

Designed by Carly Mohan-Druce