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The long view

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This expansive galley kitchen boasts an ocean panorama at one end and access to an outdoor living area at the other


W hen a kitchen is beside an outdoor pool and living area it can become as much a thoroughfare, as a destination. Its design should therefore cater not only for the cook, but also for those passing through.

When Marney Kells designed this kitchen for her new house, she worked closely with John Erren from Johannes Erren Cabinetmakers to create a kitchen that would provide for her young teenage family.

"As this area is the focal point of the house, I wanted a galley kitchen with a sleek, uncluttered look," she says.

Defining this space is a large island that is 4.8m x 1.4m. It sits flush at one end of the island and overhangs at the other to provide seating with ocean views.

A minimal colour palette emphasises the long, clean lines of the benchtops and cabinetry. In place of handles, there is a continuous aluminium extrusion, over which laps the cabinet facades. The recess is deep enough to reach underneath to open and close cabinets. To match the metallic trimmings, every drawer has a silver lining.


Aluminium is a material favoured by Kells because of its matt finish and it's easy-to-clean surface.

Aluminium roller doors flank either side of the cooktop. These conceal small appliances such as the toaster and coffee maker which are set up and ready to use.

To match the white cabinetry, the splashback consists of three frosted white glass panels. These slide across to reveal narrow shelves for spices and cooking oils.

"I wanted to keep everything within easy reach for cooking, but out of sight when it wasn't required," says Kells.

Symmetry is a key aspect of this kitchen's design and everything along the back wall is laid out in exact proportion to each other. For example, clerestory windows are 300mm deep, and so are the strips of white walls that are directly below them.

The exception to this strict adherence to a rectilinear design are the island's bar stools. Kells describes them as "stingray chairs" because their round seats remind her of the wings on a stingray.

"Everything in the kitchen has a square profile, so the bar stools are a total contrast. The generous seats are designed to be extremely comfortable."

First published date: 18 February 2005

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Credit List

Kitchen designer Marney Kells, Aztec Developments (Auckland)
Cabinetmaker John Erren, Johannes Erren Cabinetmakers
Architect Hulena Architects
Doors and panels Designer white Melteca with silver anodised aluminium edging
Drawer systems Hettich Innotech drawers, Quadro V6 silent runners
Internal drawer material Silverhaze Melamine
Roller doors Aluminium
Glass Diamante back-painted glass from Graphic Glass
Benchtop Granite Workshop
Oven, microwave, warming drawer and dishwasher Miele
Rangehood Gaggenau