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The personal touch

Kitchen ideas from Food magazine

Gone are the days when we aspired to have slick showhome kitchens. Now we want these important rooms to be highly personalised. Sharon Newey looks at the trends.

Not so long ago, many kitchens looked the same. And, in the days of minimalism and an aspiration to have showhome- quality interiors, we liked it that way.

But not any more. As our houses and interiors become more homely, detailed spaces, so too do our kitchens. We want them to have heart and feeling and to reflect our personalities and passions.

The vintage look is obviously becoming very popular, strongly referencing traditional design with panelled doors, open shelving, timber or engineered stone benches and over-sized freestanding cookers. Add a butler’s sink and brick-laid white tiles and you’ve got the picture.

Kitchen printed splashbacks
This stunning and colourful kitchen uses a digitally printed lettering applied to the back of glass for under the bench – the place names have special meaning for the homeowners. The kitchen, designed by Maggie Gardner of Kitchens by Design in Auckland, features cabinets in Resene Half Merino and a splashback in Resene Jalapeno. An industrial bench and vintage scales.
Left: Resene Bluegrass walls are a mellow complement to this kitchen by Donna Allen of The Space Within, Australia, which also features an old industrial bench from the Singer sewing factory, vintage scales hanging from the ceiling and a feature wall in recycled oregon planking.

Accessories are the key to achieving this look – lots of lovely vintage items, such as old biscuit tins, preserving jars, enamel jugs and stoneware mixing bowls, are a must. The kitchen pictured opposite page even uses an old industrial bench as a continuation of the benchtop.

Another key trend has a more retro look but is just as personal. Pops of bright colour, fun accessories – such as quirky clocks, coloured bar stools or customised glass and walls of blackboard paint – are key features.

Colour plays a big part in personalising a kitchen, even if combined with white and used as an accent throughout the kitchen, for instance, on a bank of high cupboards, on a suspended, integrated rangehood, on the underneath of an island bench, or inside a cupboard behind sliding doors.

Lynn Plom of Elite Kitchens and Cabinets says the move to more personalised kitchens may be driven by the increasing amount of time we are spending in them. “With the popularity of cooking programmes on television and the desire to use quality, fresh ingredients, we enjoy spending time in our kitchens and want them to reflect our tastes rather than be standard. As a nation, we get hooked up on designing our houses for resale, but fashions change anyway, so a kitchen may be out of date by the time you sell. You may as well have a kitchen that is to your own taste.”

Intergrated kitchen with laundry, fridge and pantry.
Left: The laundry, fridge and pantry are all integrated in this kitchen in response to the owners wanting an uncluttered look. The design by Rochelle Jackson of Kitchen Elements, Wellington, uses Resene Sea Fog and Resene BlackoutRight: Storage for kitchen designed by Celia Visser below.

Her clients are increasingly asking for specific areas, such as baking stations, as well as practical ingredient storage options. While people are nervous of moving away from white, she has noticed many have become braver in their choices, perhaps by introducing texture or pattern. Lynn loves Resene Alabaster for its warmth and has just completed a kitchen using Resene Aluminium, a sparkly grey from the Resene Metallics and special effects range, and Resene Half Barely (very pale grey). This is a move away from white, but still relatively subtle.

She says that, while people may want their kitchens to look more personalised and, in some cases, quite traditional, they want them to function beautifully so will include the latest storage and cooking technologies. “It may look traditional on the outside but it’s high-tech on the inside.”

Rochelle Jackson of Kitchen Elements in Wellington says that having a “cookie- cutter” kitchen doesn’t work and that a custom-designed version is the best way to ensure kitchens suit the home and the homeowners. “It’s best to have a kitchen designed to suit the home rather than what looks good today. Not just a group of cupboards but something much more integrated.”

She has noticed a re-emergence of colour and has just received a client brief for a bright yellow kitchen. “Kitchens need to suit the personality of the family. If they are fun, bubbly people who like a laugh, then kitchens with colour will reflect that.”

A retro kitchen and bright cupboard cabinets.
Left: Lynn Plom of Elite Kitchens and Cabinets let her creativity fly for the retro-style kitchen of her own bach – a retrofitted tram. The cabinets are Resene Comfort Zone and the walls are Resene Alabaster.  Right: This kitchen designed by Celia Visser features old dresser tops and cabinets handpainted using Resene Enamacryl for durability. Most cabinets are Resene Napa, but the inside of some cupboards feature vibrant colours, such as Resene Kashmir Blue, with Resene Eighth Parchment shelves. Even the floor is two-tone, in a traditional chequered pattern using cork tiles coloured with Resene Half Napa and Resene Eighth Parchment.

For those who don’t want in-your-face colour, it can be introduced in other ways – for example, inside a pantry or behind sliding doors. Colour may be placed underneath an island bench or on particular cupboard doors. It may be combined with texture. However, when colour is used, Rochelle says that if a kitchen is part of an open-plan living space (which is still a strong trend), the colour needs to be used well so that it doesn’t overpower adjacent spaces.

Using pastel colours is a trend she has noticed, inspired by the subtle tones of glass and coloured glassware. Other clients still want sleek, uncluttered, minimalist spaces but, again, if it’s an expression of them and how they live, it’s still a very personalised kitchen, says Rochelle.

A word of advice about colour Don’t let your carefully created colour scheme be ruined by not using the right paint. Resene is well-known for its amazing array of fashionable colours but you only get these authentic colours when you use Resene tinters in Resene paint bases. The tinters themselves are complex and highly technical and can’t be replicated. So make sure your painter, cabinet-maker and glass splashback manufacturer only use Resene paints for your kitchen to match your Resene colour scheme.


Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Food magazine in the Resene kitchen inspiration gallery.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.