On Display

With the trend towards a more open-plan lifestyle, we are seeing kitchens being pushed out into our living spaces and into the limelight.

That’s great for accessibility and a more communal style of living, but aesthetically kitchens don’t always sit well alongside a more formal lounge or dining space.

This kitchen, by Peter Healey, from Mastercraft Kitchens by Healey in Palmerston North, replaced a perfectly serviceable kitchen in a modern house in Acacia Bay, overlooking the lake, and the result is stunning.

“The original kitchen was in pretty good condition, but there was a lot of wasted space within the area – you just about needed skates to get from workbench to workbench,” says Healey. “Warren and Gail are repeat clients of mine, and they asked me to redesign their kitchen when they retired to Taupo.”

The brief

Healey’s brief from his clients was to utilise the area better, incorporate a large scullery and, most importantly, to come up with a design that would blend in with the rest of the living space, plus create somewhere where they could display their large collection of cut glass and pottery.

Planning the right look and feel

In response, Healey broke down the overall mass of the new kitchen by designing it to look like several large pieces of furniture.

“For the feature pieces we chose dark-stained American oak,” he says. “We’d used the same timber with the same finish in their previous kitchen, and they wanted to reproduce that look.”

The results

“Warren and Gail also like to entertain, so we made space at the island where people could sit and chat – but they didn’t want the kitchen sink to be seen from the lounge, hence the timber upstand at one end of the island, finished with marine-grade resin on the sink side, to protect it from water damage.”

The concern for the full-height oak cabinetry on the side wall was that it would dominate the space, so the designer broke it up visually by creating open shelving above the fridge, with more towards the rear of the kitchen. This softened the look and also added more spaces for the homeowners to display their collections.

“Because Gail wanted as big a scullery as possible, it did create a tight corner at the back of the kitchen, so we wanted to lighten up that area as much as possible,” explains Healey. “We did this by adding a mirrored splashback in the oak cabinetry and also a full-height mirror and glass shelving in the white display cabinet on the back wall with internal LED lighting. This really lifts that back corner and makes it seem bigger than it actually is.”

The reason why Gail wanted a large scullery was so she could do all her baking and prep work in there – plus it allowed the designer to pack in as much storage as possible, leaving plenty of room for display shelving out in the main kitchen.

Aside from the two dark-stained oak elements, the rest of the kitchen has been deliberately designed to be more understated – to blend in rather than stand out – using quarter Spanish White high gloss lacquered cabinetry and an Osprey Caesarstone benchtop. The only other spray of colour was the use of a stone tile for the splashback.

“Gail and Warren are extremely pleased with their new kitchen,” says Healey. “They tell me it’s exactly what they’d hoped for.”

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This kitchen was proudly designed, manufactured and installed locally by Mastercraft Kitchens by Healey (Palmerston North).