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Renovating their kitchen gave the owners of this property the chance to incorporate some family-friendly features

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Incorporating a modern, open-plan kitchen into an established home requires careful space planning. Often the rooms in an older home are relatively small. Therefore the kitchen design – particularly the amount of storage space – has to be well thought through.

Architect Paul Leuschke designed this open-plan kitchen, family and dining area as part of an ongoing renovation to this established family home.

"The owners wanted to give their existing kitchen, dining and family room a modern look. It's not a particularly large area, so we had to make efficient use of the space available," says Leuchske.

The entire back wall of the space has been put to good use. It incorporates the main cooking area and most of the cabinetry, including extra storage above the glass splashback. The cabinetry continues beyond the sliding door, where a desk and shelving have been built in.

Leuchske says good lighting was particularly important, since the kitchen is at the back of the space, away from the windows. The use of dark cabinetry and the original dark timber floorboards is offset by the white island, which is oriented to face the view of the pool. The white glass splashbacks and plenty of reflective stainless steel further brighten the space.

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The architect incorporated soft closing cupboards and drawers, to make the kitchen as quiet as possible.

"In an open-plan space, it's quite important to ensure that family members can use the family area – to watch television, for example – without being disturbed by cupboard doors banging in the kitchen," says Leuchske.

All the cooking facilities are on the back wall, where there are large drawers, rather than cupboards, for storing pots and pans.

All the washing up facilities are on the island. It incorporates an oversized sink, which allows the owners to clean large items that do not fit in the dishwasher.

The island is also designed to be used as a breakfast bar. There is enough depth in the bench that family members can sit at it to eat, without being uncomfortably close to the sink.

The kitchen also has a pull-out pantry beside the refrigerator, and crockery storage in the glass-fronted cabinetry. An appliance cupboard is tucked into the corner, between the pantry and the benchtop.

In the family area, the small desk means several family members can use the space at once. It allows the parents to supervise their children's homework while cooking. Similarly, one parent can use the desk to work on a laptop, and monitor what the children are watching on television.

The corner sofa faces the flat screen television, which is hung on the wall above the fireplace. Built-in wood storage keeps the space tidy. The door to the left of the fireplace leads to the outdoor living area.

The doors between the dining table and outdoor eating area fold right back, making the entire indoor and outdoor space suitable for entertaining a large crowd in warm weather.

First published date: 24 August 2007

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Credit List

Architect, interior design and kitchen design Paul Leuschke, NZIA (Auckland)
Kitchen manufacturer de Bruin-Judge Furniture
Cabinetry Mahogany and stained American white oak
Benchtops Stainless steel and Quarella
Splashback Graphic Glass, in Polar
Taps Dornbracht
Oven Ilve
Cooktop Miele gas hob
Ventilation Parmco rangehood
Refrigeration GE Appliances
Dishwasher Bosch