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Rustic touches and contemporary elements come together in this practical family kitchen


Country-style elements introduced to a kitchen renovation needn't dominate the décor. Traditional touches can underscore modern materials and appliances, providing contrast and a sense of permanence.

The brief for this kitchen was to create an open, light-filled space that complemented the existing home's generous scale, says designer Tim Nees.

"The owners also wanted a rural touch to the kitchen, that steered well clear of twee," says Nees. "Several rustic elements were introduced and balanced against some strong contemporary features."

Distinctive rural-style cabinetry fronts are created from closely spaced dowelling rods. These provide an effective façade while still allowing glimpses of the cabinetry interiors.

Rustic cabinetry handles, a traditional butlers sink and willow storage baskets all contribute to the country kitchen look.


"One of the most distinctive rural elements is the distempered finishes on the cabinetry," says Nees." These have an old-world, hand-crafted feel about them."

The oven, adjacent benchtops and large refrigerator provide modern contrast to these rural touches. A concrete island benchtop with a sculptural light fitting above it adds further contem-porary elements.

With a tall stud featuring throughout the rest of the home, it was important that the kitchen was kept to scale. An open-plan design means the new space retains the same ceiling height as other rooms. The large stainless steel splashback also works to the scale of the greater space as do the vertical lines of the cabinetry's dowelling fronts.

"This is a working family kitchen and the stainless steel and concrete benchtops provide easy-to-clean, enduring work surfaces," Nees says.

First published date: 23 August 2004

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Credit List

Architect Tim Nees, New Work Studio (Wellington)
Main contractor MT Stevens Construction
Benchtops Jarra from Kings IVth Generation Woodworking Company, stainless steel from Mercer, in situ concrete from Phil Bartley Contractor
Cabinetry Finger-jointed pine with dowel insert panels; paint finish from Quo Vadis Paint Effects
Basket drawers Willow storage baskets from Heather Shaw
Flooring Recycled kauri floorboards
Sink Corian butler's sink
Mixer Atriflow
Microwave Panasonic
Stove Ilve stand alone
Refrigerator GE
Lighting ECC Lighting