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Watery green glass with a subtle organic pattern contrasts with splashes of burnt orange, white, sea blue and warm oak in this dramatic kitchen

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For years, it seemed that whites and neutrals would dominate our kitchens and family living areas forever. Walking into one kitchen was a lot like walking into another, with just a slight tonal change to mark a point of difference.

Kitchen designer Mal Corboy is the first to point out that this was never his thing anyway. As a designer who loves colour, pattern and innovative lighting, Corboy prefers to look outside the square for his inspiration, and this kitchen in a seaside house is no exception.

"The existing kitchen had been built in the '90s and was an uninspiring U shape, with poor access," the designer says. "There were inaccessible corner cupboards and doors falling off, and the whole space had been poorly laid out."

Corboy consequently rearranged the entire space to create a much larger, more workable space that would also afford the owners a great view of the sea.

"Because we renovated the entire house at the same time, continuity was essential. We specified white oak floors throughout the living area, and for the steps and landing. Similarly, we picked up the American oak for the open shelving and a table top in the new kitchen."

The most significant reference for the design, however, was a newly wallpapered sitting room off one side of the kitchen. Corboy introduced the same soft bamboo pattern to watery green glass panels, with the printed glass covering walls and supporting the base of the table at one end of the island. LED lights enhance the translucent, watery effect.

Tall cabinets are painted in a lacquered soft blue-green, Resene Kumutoto, while the island and perimeter cabinets are white. To contrast these colours, the designer added another bright shade – one that is a favourite of the owner. The splashback behind the cooktop, the perimeter edging of the cabinets and all the toekicks are painted in Resene Whizz Bang, a bright burnt orange.

"We have definite blocks of colour in the kitchen, but this is a big space that can handle it well," says Corboy.

Because the owners love to entertain a lot, large-scale appliances were specified, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator, two Gaggenau ovens and a Wolf cooktop (available exclusively at Kouzina).

Benchtops throughout the kitchen are in a new Corian product – Rain Cloud, which is from the Organics range. This reinforces the link with nature.

"As the kitchen is large, we kept the layout simple, so several people can be working at any one time and not trip over each other," says Corboy. "There is plenty of room to move."

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First published date: 06 February 2013

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Credit List

Designer Mal Corboy, Mal Corboy Design (Auckland)
Kitchen manufacturer Mal Corboy Design
Cabinetry High-gloss lacquer
Splashback DecoGlaze custom coloured glass
Hardware and storage systems Hettich
Benchtops Corian Rain Cloud; Oak from Kings Fourth Generation Woodworking
Flooring White oak plank from Jacobsens
Paints Resene
Lighting Marset Pleat Box from ECC Lighting
Taps Grohe Minta from Paterson
Waste disposal In SinkErator Evolution 200 from Parex Industries
Water dispenser Just Water
Oven Gaggenau
Cooktop Wolf
Ventilation Qasair
Refrigeration Sub-Zero
Dishwasher Miele
Appliance supplier Kouzina