A question of balance

It’s an interesting dilemma. Naturally, you want your new kitchen to stand out and be the star attraction in your home, but in the same breath, you don’t want it to compete with the rest of your décor, or distract from the beautiful natural vistas you may have from your living space.

This kitchen, in a newly completed home that occupies an enviable site overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, is a point in case, as it has magnificent views and a stunning new interior. Kitchen designer, Sean Monk from Kitchens By Design, says it was one of those dream jobs to be involved with, but it took careful planning to achieve a balanced result for his clients.

“Being given a brand-new space to work with is always exciting, but it’s also has its challenges,” he says. “My clients’ original brief was for their new kitchen to be black and white, but I worked with them to flesh out that idea, to tone it down and create something with a bit warmth, but that still had punch, giving them the monochromatic look they asked for, to tie it back into the décor of the rest of the house.”

The designer says the biggest impact you can make in any kitchen is your choice of cabinetry. Here, he opted for a textured timber veneer, stained grey. This helped provide warmth and also softened the cabinetry’s impact on the rest of the room. “To give my client the black-and-white element she asked for, I designed a black island, clad in a durable engineered stone that has a bold white vein running through it. I chose a matt finish to stop glare and reflections – because it’s in a high-sun space – and I also built in a wine fridge on the dining side of the island, as my clients are big on entertaining.”

For the benchtop along the back wall, the designer specified a 5mm steel plate that wraps up and around the entire cooking zone. “My client had seen something similar in a magazine and loved the idea of it. It certainly helps added a bit of visual interest and also fits nicely with the grey stain of the wood veneer – as does the playful, round-patterned tile used for the splashback, which was also their choice.”

Adjacent and separate to the main kitchen is a large, walk-in scullery. “It’s a long, narrow space with a slim, slot window at one end,” explains Monk. “In here, we made the finishes a lot more utilitarian, moving away from the textured timber finishes and opting for smooth, easy-clean surfaces. We also specified a white benchtop to break up the dark-grey cabinetry.”

Overall, the ‘flat’ finishes and darker tones employed in this kitchen have helped it take a back seat ahead of the views that rightly dominate the open-plan living space, fulfilling the designer’s goal of striking a perfect balance between standing out as the beautiful kitchen it is, and subtly blending into its environment.

If you’re thinking about putting in a new kitchen, give one of the team at Kitchens By Design a call, or pop into one of their two Auckland-based showrooms at 3 Byron Ave, Takapuna (09) 488 7201 and 7 Melrose St, Newmarket (09) 379 3084. And for inspiration, take a look at their website at www.kitchensbydesign.co.nz