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Natural instincts

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

Beautifully finished timber can be the hero of any kitchen

Timber kitchen
The soft sand tones of the adjacent beach inspired the use of Resene Rock Salt for refinishing... more

Balancing act

As a self-confessed greenie, Yellowfox designer Peta Davy was only too happy to use timber – and lots of it – in her new home, including two different timbers in her kitchen.

Peta’s husband Joe sources and recycles timber, so using old power poles for the island benchtop was a natural choice. Protected by Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane, this mellow old timber is a true hero of the kitchen. It’s joined by under-bench cabinets in Resene Black White, as well as open shelves and wall cabinets in timber veneer.

While the timber cabinetry is made from a commercially available veneer from Bestwood, Peta and Joe wanted to avoid the more popular styles. They found Bestwood Koto languishing at the back of the warehouse. Says Peta, “I loved the almost Japanese feel to the grain, and the fact that it had quite a yellow base so went well with the Alaskan yellow cedar we have used elsewhere in the room.”

Timber kitchen
The island benchtop was made from old power poles.

The veneer is used for wall cabinets, also finished in Resene Aquaclear, and set against a background of dark Resene Armadillo walls. Open shelves at the end of the kitchen also showcase the veneer. “I like being able to access things easily so the open shelves work well for that. Some people like this approach whereas others like things to be closed off, out of sight.”

To help balance the warm timber tones, Peta specified not only the almost-black Resene Armadillo, but also Resene Black White. “So much timber can get quite intense so the use of Resene Black White, rather than a warm white, helps cool it down.” Painted brick and polished concrete also help the cooling process.

Throughout the room, texture is a key element albeit often in subtle ‘visual’ forms: the exposed pebble in the honed concrete, the fine grain of the timber veneer, the rich depths of the upcycled power pole bench, the satiny finish of the painted cabinets, the gloss of stainless steel and the pattern of the painted brick.

Timber kitchen storage options
Left: Open shelves at the end of the (balancing act) kitchen showcase the veneer.  Right: Pine battens decorate one wall of the (raw beauty) kitchen.

Raw beauty

In a home sculpted from concrete and ply, including a kitchen that had a certain raw beauty was a natural extension of the overall design philosophy. The kitchen is part of a house designed by Wellington-based Studio Pacific Architecture with a lot of input from the homeowners Ann and Noel. While opting to use plywood for the kitchen cabinets, they wanted to soften the colour with a whitewash effect. Research resulted in using Resene Rock Salt stain from the Resene Colorwood range for a blonded effect. The cabinets were then protected with coats of Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane.

Pine battens decorate one wall of the kitchen, and were given the same treatment. Any walls that aren’t ply, and the ceilings, are painted in Resene Quarter Tea.

To enhance the natural good looks of the kitchen, the bitter green tones of Resene Wasabi have been used on the back-painted glass splashback as well as the kitchen upstand. The colour was inspired by the tones of the sweeping grass pastures outside the large windows in the adjoining living room. Stainless-steel benches and handles complete the picture.

Blonded plywood kitchen
The cool stainless steel bench and green accents complement the blonded wood cabinetry.

Born again

A stunning location, on the beach with wide sea views – that’s what these owners loved about their holiday home. The interiors were another matter – a hot-box of aged orangey timber, an old kitchen and chipboard floors. The owners had no objection to timber… but weren’t fans of timber that looked like ‘that’, so they sought help from designer Celia Visser. Celia’s challenge for the space was to find a product to change the look of the timber, and to design a new kitchen to blend with the reborn interiors.

Celia took her lead from the soft sand tones of the beach, using Resene Rock Salt from the Resene Colorwood range to refinish the timber walls and ceiling. She then specified pine veneer for the kitchen cabinets, and also finished them in Resene Rock Salt.

“Given that the timber on the ceiling was older and the cabinets were new, they have come out looking slightly different. But I think that adds to the beauty of the whole space,” says Celia.

“The whitewashed effect has completely transformed the interior from quite busy to soft, restful and relaxing. It also allows that amazing view to be appreciated more.”

The kitchen functions beautifully, according to the owners, and includes a new long window and sea-toned tiles above the cooking hob, a separate bar area for serving drinks and a marble benchtop for the island. “Even though it’s a beach house, we chose quality fittings and materials that are made to last,” says Celia.

Wooden holiday home kitchen
The soft sand tones of the adjacent beach inspired the use of Resene Rock Salt for refinishing.

Top timber tips

Resene has a comprehensive range of products to protect timber from wear and tear and make it look even better. Key to the collection are the many waterborne products that are easy to use, and which give great protection.

Resene Qristal Clear polyurethane imparts a yellow tone to timber so is suited to timbers with a yellow, orange or red undertone such as cedar and rimu.

Resene Aquaclear doesn’t accentuate the natural undertone of timber to the same degree, so is more suited to white or pale timbers such as pine and oak, as well as composite boards such as MDF, particle board and strandboard.

If you want to change the colour of timber but still see the grain, Resene Colorwood stains come in a range of colours from natural tones to brights.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash is a great way to get the popular white-washed effect and can be used on floors, walls, furniture and cabinetry.

If you want a suitable base for a wax, use one or two coats of Resene Qristal Clear Poly-Flat before waxing. Or, if you want a waxed look but without the hassle, simply continue with an extra coat or two of Resene Qristal Clear Poly-Flat as it has a very similar look to a wax finish.

Resene Qristal ClearFloor is a tough waterborne urethane for floors. It comes in two grades – 1K for low-to-medium wear areas; or 2K for high-wear areas.


Text: Sharon Newey. Photography by Tessa Crisp and Terry Hann.

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