White on White – a country kitchen renovation

Designing and installing this pristine kitchen held particular significance for Mastercraft Kitchens Marlborough’s, Gerry O’Hagan, as his client was his sister.

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“I had put the original kitchen into this house for Veronica and Keith back in the 1980s. All the cabinetry was hand painted, and it was dark green,” he remembers. “They were just starting out back then, so we did things on a shoestring budget. Some years later (2001) I gave it a facelift with Melamine doors and drawer fronts, and new hinges and drawer runners.”

Fast-forward to now, and O’Hagan found himself once again back in his sister’s home re-imagining her kitchen for the next 15 years. “By this stage, the kitchen was looking pretty tired,” he says. “My sister had always dreamed of having a Colonial style country kitchen, in keeping with the house, so that’s what we did.”

Forward planning

He says that Veronica had been researching her new kitchen for well over a year, looking at books and magazines, and had bought all the appliances 10 months before starting on the kitchen. “She knew exactly the look she was after, so the kitchen was designed around her choice of appliances.”

Layout restrictions a common challenge in kitchen renovations

Apart from moving the fridge, the layout of the new kitchen hardly changed from the original 1980’s design, says O’Hagan. “To be fair, we were very restricted by what we could and couldn’t do. The main change was pulling the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room, which created an opportunity to put in the island area where they could sit down have breakfast or a cup of coffee.” It also allowed light to flood into the dining area from large bank of windows that formed one whole corner of the kitchen.

Virtually everything in the new kitchen is white – which is more unusual that you might imagine. It’s relatively common to see white cabinetry matched with a white benchtop, but in this kitchen, the appliances, the cooktop, the sink, the tap, the splashback is white – even the floor has a whitened lime wash finish to it.

Creating this plain white canvas has allowed the finer details of the kitchen to shine through, such as decorative fluted posts, scotia and ‘ogee’ profile benchtop edge detail.

Attention to detail

O’Hagan went through various incarnations, mocking up of each of the details ensuring he got everything right in terms of scale and shape. Finally, he used his fine woodworking skills to create a beautifully balanced set of details, especially around the extractor fan housing above the cooktop.

“In the end, it was a very collaborative process,” says O’Hagan. “Veronica had done a lot of research and knew the look she was after. It was then our job to put all those elements together into a working kitchen. And I think at the end of the day everyone’s happy.”


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This kitchen was proudly designed, manufactured and installed locally by Mastercraft Kitchens Marlborough.