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Natural connection

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This kitchen's warm, grainy aesthetic chimes with a leafy outlook – the space also offers visual corridors into adjacent living areas


An attractive way to connect a home to its surroundings is to find material empathy. Wood, growing outdoors as trees and processed for use indoors, is a convenient and natural linking element.

This kitchen, part of a whole-house design by Craig and Coltart Architects, has been situated with the home's other living spaces on the first floor to maximise enjoyment of its heavily tree-clad and scenic setting. Bedrooms and ancillary spaces have been situated on the ground floor.

The owners wanted the living spaces and the kitchen to look out on the views – and this informed much of the design, says David Craig.

"We set the living room off to one side, then an informal living zone for the children to the other, leaving the kitchen and dining area to take centre stage."

The kitchen looks over the dining area to the scenery and connects to this space via its rich-toned cabinetry. The 18mm-thick keruing plywood cabinetry features extensively in the kitchen and again in an integrated bar facility next to the dining table.


"This cabinetry is actually a mechanism for integrating all the home's living spaces," says Craig. "To optimise the effect, it was vital to match all the wood for consistency at the time of manufacturing."

Matt Coltart says two banks of tall cabinets provide a dividing wall between the living room and dining area – offering a degree of separation, but also letting the parents interact with their children when preparing family meals.

"A strip of plywood runs across the ceiling over the entrance between the rooms," says Coltart. "This adds to the idea of the cabinets forming a wall. A similar strip of plywood also helps define the other side of the kitchen."

As a finishing touch to the design, some appliances are integrated into the woodwork, while others are given their own niche alcoves, says Craig. "The warmth of the wood cabinetry is balanced by the cool surfaces of the stainless steel appliances, and the matt concrete floor that connects the living areas.

"Surfaces generally have a muted finish, avoiding excessive reflections from all the windows and skylights."

First published date: 28 August 2009

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Credit List

Architects and kitchen designers David Craig NZIA, Matt Coltart NZIA, Craig & Coltart Architects (Wellington)
Interior designer Tricia Lawrey
Kitchen manufacturer Holmes Joinery
Cabinetry Keruing plywood surfaces, Stefano Oriati handles from Sanco
Benchtops Black galaxy granite
Sinks Volare by Mercer
Tapware Progetto by Plumbline from Cherrytree
Oven, induction cooktop Miele, from Kitchen Things
Microwave LG
Refrigeration and dishwasher Bosch, from Cherrytree
Coffee maker The Rocket from Cafe L'affare
Splashback Matt grey tiles from Simply Tiles
Floor Concrete with black oxide
Drapes Harlequin zinc from Malcolm Fabrics
Furniture Stools from BoConcept