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Classic good looks combine with a great connection to the outdoors

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It is often the case that a majestic old villa is let down by its kitchen – a classic Victorian frontage and long hall shouldn't give way to a rather makeshift workspace.

This house suffered from just this kind of mismatching. The owners asked designer Sandra Grummitt to replace their tired-looking space with a traditional-style kitchen. The new design had to be a good fit with the extension to the existing kitchen and breakfast area in both grace and scale, says Grummitt.

"One of the owners had specific ideas about finishes and looks – even supplying pictures of the style and sense of symmetry she wanted. I took these on board, improving placement for aesthetics and to create efficient work triangles."

The resulting kitchen features a long, wide central island. This tames the considerable size of the expanded room and allows both owners to work at cooking or prepping on opposite sides without getting under each other's feet.

"I designed the island to be like a prized piece of furniture, with legs and a classic box-framed construction – but with modern functionality behind the cupboard doors. It also leads the eye down the space, out to the views.

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"Another feature of the kitchen is the classic mantelpiece – complete with original corbels supplied by the owners. They also had the tiles for the splashback imported from England to achieve the exact look required."

To the left and right of this, in near-perfect symmetry, the wall of cabinets is in a pale blue, and finished with a distressed look.

"This process involved the application of three different coats of paint, then sanding back to let some underlying coats show through. Then the cabinets were rubbed, knocked and reworked – right down to minute painted borer holes – to create the sense they have already had a long work history."

While the cabinets are symmetrically placed, they also have a contrasting individuality – the uppermost panels are smaller than those below and display cabinets have arched glass fronts.

"The furniture-like appeal extends to the wall cabinets as well," says Grummitt. "For example, the antiqued wooden piece near the refrigerator was built to different specifications to further the gathered-over-time sensibility.

"For the same reason, the tongue-and-groove splashback has exaggerated proportions."

First published date: 03 March 2012

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Credit List

Kitchen designer Sandra Grummitt CKDNZ, MDINZ, Sandra Grummitt Design (Hamilton)
Cabinet company Customtone Kitchens
Oven, cooktop Falcon, available from Kitchen Things
Rangehood HMV, available from Kitchen Things
Refrigeration Liebherr; Fisher & Paykel
Dishwasher Asko
Splashback Marlborough Tiles
Cabinetry Perimeter, distressed, painted pine; island, macrocarpa with antique finish
Hardware, storage systems Blum
Benchtops Perimeter, Indian black granite; island, matai from Kings 4th Generation
Flooring Waikato Designer Tiles
Lighting Skinflint Design
Kitchen sinks Shaws
Taps Imperial by Shaws