Kitchen Makeover

As interior designers it's a blessing to work with amazing clients who trust in your designs and follow them through. One such client is Fiona, whose living and dining rooms we've already transformed. Fi has great taste but came to us to help her narrow down her options and create a home that would reflect her cool and eclectic style.

We recently finished a complete kitchen renovation giving Fi a modern kitchen with lots of extra storage while still in keeping with her cottage's traditional bones. Once again we worked with Rick and his team at Sunshine Joinery, whose workmanship is fantastic. The tiny two bedroom cottage had an equally tiny kitchen between the entrance and dining room. Although small, it was in proportion with the house, but it just felt a bit tired and in need of some TLC.

We lightened and brightened the space with all white cabinetry and bench top. The panelled cabinetry adds subtle texture and helps it to fit in with the traditional cottage surrounds. Negative detail handles also keep the kitchen humble and not too flashy.

Fi bought the pink Smeg fridge before we started designing the kitchen, so that was a key component for us to work the design around. That was another reason to keep the kitchen light and white to allow the fridge to be the hero. Wooden shelves and a Turkish rug also bring a touch of warmth to the space.

An old wall cupboard was replaced with open shelves so Fi could display some favourite pieces and add touches of her personality.

In a small space it's crucial to utilise all available space wisely, especially vertical space, so we filled the wall above the fridge with cupboards. We chose to use handleless cupboards above so we could keep the small space clean and unfussy. We moved the oven and cooktop around to this wall allowing room for a single dish drawer where the oven once was. Initially we priced up a stone bench top, but to keep within budget we decided on a plain white laminate bench and we're really happy with the outcome. The marble subway tiles add that touch of stone and some subtle pattern. 

Outside the kitchen a set of stairs leads you up to the front door and entranceway. The old carpet was ripped up and we chose a beautiful two-tone wool loop pile carpet from Cavalier Bremworth to replace it. It runs from the kitchen stairs up to the entrance floor and the stairs beyond that take you to the master bedroom.

Any available walls are covered in Fi's extensive art collection, which is a perfect way to reflect her eclectic style.

The small wall at the base of the stairs, between the dining room and the hall to the living room was another space we thought we could utilise better. We had Sunshine Joinery build us a really shallow cupboard with bi-fold doors - shallow enough so that it didn't come out into the room too far and block the flow, but deep enough to fit cans and cups and saucers. We haven't got a full photo of the cupboard but you can get an idea of the depth from the photo below where two wooden birds from Homebase Collection perch. You also get a glimpse of the cupboard in the third photo in this post.

Walking in Fi's front door is such a fun experience and starts speaking to you immediately about her personality. After this welcome the kitchen is the first room you see, so we're really pleased with how beautiful it looks, not to mention it's way more functional. Thanks Fi for being such a cool client to work with and allowing us to share our work and your home.

Colour Crush | Green

Green is one of my favourite colours to decorate with. It's a restful colour and is known to have a calming effect; it's gender neutral - not overly feminine or masculine; and it's a reflection of the beautiful environment we are lucky enough to live in here in New Zealand. You only have to look to nature to see how green goes with every colour.

The Bogart Block sofa in lush forest green velvet available to purchase via Bibby + Brady

I was asked to write an article late last year predicting what 2017 would have in store for us in terms of interior design. I suggested that we would see a lot more green this year, and sure enough Pantone released their colour of the year as Greenery - "satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalise. Greenery symbolises the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose".

My favourite green tones are slightly deeper than the 2017 colour of the year, I prefer emerald green and forest green tones, or soft muted sage greens. But I do think "greenery" looks beautiful in smaller doses mixed in with deeper tones. I was inspired by the colours in the photo I snapped (below) on a morning walk - dappled light and a carpet of green overhead.

Green is beautiful in an entranceway where it truely brings the outdoors in and creates a lush and fresh welcome.

We used a gorgeous emerald green on the ceiling of one of our client's entranceway. It's slightly unexpected to see a coloured ceiling, which creates that 'wow' moment we were after.

Green and white is such a classic colour combination and one that will never fail to look fresh and beautiful. I'm a huge fan of this home (see the two photos below) which has a clean white base and light parquet floorboards throughout the house, peppered with pops of green.

I also love this image (below) where the picture wall and that burst of green completely take the focus away from the TV when it's not on.

You can create great impact whether you use green in large or small amounts...

A green and white combo is particularly beautiful in kitchens...

We did a bank of green cupboards in this kitchen (below) of our client's and combined them with tall white cabinetry on the other side. It looks amazing with the plantings outside the window.

For a bold move in your kitchen choose a classic subway tiles in a deep green, as seen on the exterior of L'Americano Bar in Sydney - how amazing is that?!

This kitchen (below) has taken advantage of the greenery outdoors and really brought the outdoors in by adding a low window instead of a splash back.

Of course the simplest way to bring green into your home is through plants, whether it's potted plants or some leaves snipped from your garden. As well as colour, plants add instant texture and life.

Here are just a few ways to brings green into your home (many of these items can be ordered through us)...

clockwise from top left: print | paint | wallpaper | sofa | plant | stool | cabinet | vase | quartz verdant tile

NZ House & Garden House Tour | Hawke's Bay

The NZ House & Garden House Tours are the largest charity house tour in New Zealand, run in support of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, and this year I'm happy to announce that Hawke's Bay will be involved. “We’re thrilled to be launching the 2017 tours in Hawke’s Bay this year, giving locals and visitors the opportunity to step inside some of the area’s most beautiful and intriguing homes,” says Sally Duggan, Editor of NZ House & Garden.

Photo: Jane Ussher

The tour takes in nine homes scattered from Havelock North to Te Awanga and Haumoana. It includes a heritage-listed property built in 1926 and painstakingly restored by its current owners, and a spacious Andy Coltart-designed modern farmhouse with sweeping views. 

Photo: Brian Culy

Photo: Jane Ussher

Three of the houses on the tour have an artistic connection: a peaceful home alongside a creek designed by celebrated Maori architect John Scott for his artist daughter Ema which, she says, is like “living within a sculpture”; artist Dick Frizzell’s former home and studio at Haumoana, which Duggan describes as “a happy collision between Cape Cod and the Kiwi bach”; and artist Rae West’s haven, a rustic collection of humble buildings set around a central courtyard inspired by the owners’ travels in Mexico. We styled Rae's home for a photo shoot last year, so we're very familiar with this fantastic home.

Photo: Jane Ussher

Three cute but comfortable cottages at the beach settlement of Te Awanga prove that small can be chic. “The tiny-house movement is still going strong,” says Duggan, “and renovating former baches for living in permanently is an option that keys into this trend.” 

Photo: Jane Ussher

Photo: Jane Ussher

A double-storey homestead that once stood proud on a Napier hillside and was relocated to become a family-friendly retreat in Clive, rounds out the line-up. “The homes on this tour truly reflect the diverse lifestyle that Hawke’s Bay offers,” says Duggan. “It’s little wonder that so many people are moving there from our bigger cities.”

The Hawke’s Bay tour will be held on Friday 24th February from 10am to 4pm. The tour Hub at Red Barrel Vineyard - 265 Te Mata Road, Havelock North - is open from 8.30am - 5pm so you can meet up with friends, and wind down here once you've finished your tour. You can also hear more about the work that The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation are doing, and meet the House and Garden Associate Editor Rosemary Barraclough from 12-2pm.

Photo: Jane Ussher

Photo: Jane Ussher

It's going to be a fabulous day raising money for a very important cause, we are so looking forward to being inspired by the variety of beautiful homes. If you haven't already, get your tickets here, and we hope to see you on the day.