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Natural reflection – Reinvented entertainer's kitchen designed by Celia Visser

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Reinvented entertainer's kitchen designed by Celia Visser

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Treatment of materials can be all-important in a kitchen remodel. Wood, for example, might evoke a home's classic origins, contrast crisply with contemporary elements, or with a different treatment, become a modern finish in its own right. Then there is the green, renewable side of wood – a plus in any sustainable design.

The owners of this remodelled kitchen had asked designer Celia Visser to transform their cramped galley workspace into a kitchen-living area that would preserve the integrity of their home. They wanted a contemporary look, but with a retro touch – and a green focus.

"To begin with, a wall and window were removed – effectively doubling the available area. The kitchen was then reoriented, with a laundry door relocated and a central island introduced. Both elements helped create an easy flow from the living room to the laundry."

Now on full show from the living areas, the kitchen has been given a material palette that hints at the past but looks to the future.

"Wood accents were already a feature, with Rimu skirting boards running throughout the house, and the teak veneer surfaces and bamboo floorboards respond to this."


The rich veneer offers a modern twist, in terms of texture – the Urbane Teak veneer has a rough, tactile surface, in contrast to the smooth stainless steel and black acrylic panels.

"The gloss, reflective black acrylic surfaces make up the other half of the two-tone cabinet look," says Visser. "While the look is very up-to-the-minute, this material has been favoured in hospitals for years for its durability and anti-microbial properties – characteristics that will also benefit this family and entertaining space."

Besides the play between tone, texture and reflection, the kitchen also makes a statement with the shapes of the cabinetry and island. Visser says the rectangle shapes of the cabinets are accentuated by their reflections

"We also played with dimensions to create visual interest. For example, on the island, the stainless steel is a practical worksurface. On the breakfast-bar side, the top is finished in warm, approachable veneer. However, the edge of the stainless steel reappears below this – in the same gauge as seen on the side counter."

First published date: 06 September 2011

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Credit List

Architect Mike Roulston ANZIA, Mike Roulston Architecture (Auckland)
Interior designer and kitchen designer Celia Visser NKBA, DINZ, Celia Visser Design
Splashback Parapan
Cabinetry Laminex Urbane Teak veneer and PSP Parapan
Hardware Blum
Storage systems Hettich
Benchtops SJ Crosbie
Oven Miele
Cooktop, dishwasher Asko
Ventilation Qasair
Refrigeration Westinghouse
Waste disposal InSinkErator
Flooring Bamboo planks