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seeing red


From Habitat magazine - issue 16

In a restful home of mellow colours, a red kitchen is a vibrant centrepiece.

When Christine and Tony Smith built their house on Hospital Hill in Napier, their vision of a mellow and welcoming home using sustainable principles was paramount.

Red kitchen 1
The bright Resene Pohutukawa red cabinets are a departure for the otherwise restful colour scheme. Beyond the kitchen, the dining and living areas look out onto a superb view. The walls are Resene Blanc.

The house was designed after extensive consultation with local architect Gavin Cooper, who won a New Zealand Institute of Architects regional award for sustainable architecture for his design.

The concept of the house was simple – to make it sustainable, warm, welcoming and a good family home. With children and grandchildren frequently visiting, it needed to be aesthetically pleasing, functional and practical.

With sweeping views north out across Ahuriri to the bay, and west up to the mountains, the interior of the home was kept restrained with neutral colours, polished concrete floors, pine detailing and walls painted in Resene Blanc. Then came the kitchen – the one departure from what Christine describes as a ‘restful’ palette.

Red kitchen 2

As the stunning centrepiece to the home, it has confident, deep red Resene Pohutukawa on the cabinetry and splashback. It was Christine’s idea to take a gamble with the colour: “Everything else in the house is so neutral that I felt the house could take this bold colour.” Christine had experimented with colour in a previous house, choosing scarlet red for a kitchen. “The painter thought I was mad and didn’t want to do it,” she laughs. “But as soon as it was done he loved it.”

Timber is used as a secondary tone, with great effect. A pine tower anchors one corner of the kitchen and a pine and glass cabinet marks the other corner of the kitchen. Pine is also used in the toe-kicks, as a frame around the sink bench and in the plywood panelled ceiling of the kitchen.

American Oak, in a similar tone to the pine, covers the floor and is used for the return bench top. The other bench top is a serviceable stainless steel. The appliances are all Fisher & Paykel with iridium stainless steel finish with the exception of a Brandt induction cook top.

Red kitchen 3
The kitchen has direct access to a sheltered outside courtyard, flooded with morning sun. Pine plywood panels form the ceiling above the kitchen.

The kitchen is ergonomically designed with the wide, open layout and big floor area making for a great working space. “It’s the first kitchen we’ve had where the two of us can work in it and not get in each other’s way. When I’m in another kitchen I feel like I’m cooking in a cubby hole,” says Christine.

The cabinets on the return bench float off the floor to give the area an added sense of space and lightness. The timber bench top visually holds it in place by continuing in a waterfall effect at the end. This unit (along with the pine and glass cabinet) mark the transition from utility kitchen to dining area.

The couple worked with Gavin on the kitchen design and then further refined it with local kitchen maker Simon Molloy at Kevin Molloy Joinery. “Gavin had some great ideas and convinced us to use drawers for storage. However, we tweaked a few things like the depth of the benches.”

At one end of the kitchen, generous french doors lead out to a sheltered courtyard where a table and chairs are the perfect place for breakfast in the sun.

Aside from the views from the living area and kitchen, the space is also flooded with light and sun through high windows. Says Christine: “When we built the house we were not at all worried about it being too cold in winter, but rather too hot in summer.” Strategically placed louvres help circulate cool air.

Tony and Christine are both keen gardeners and have planted their garden extensively with edible, exotic trees including sapote, chilean guava, tamarillo and cherimoya. The trees provide them with bountiful crops through the year, which Tony turns into jams and jellies in that wonderful red kitchen, to give away as gifts.

Accessories: Appliances: Fisher & Paykel. Flooring: American Oak. Clear finish timber flooring with Resene Qristal ClearFloor. Architect: Gavin Cooper, 06 835 4899. Protect timber surfaces with Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane. Get the look with Resene ArmourCat for a tough kitchen cabinetry finish. Timber benchtop: American Oak. Get the look with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom tinted to Resene Blanc.

Did you know...

That Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom and Resene Lustacryl Kitchen & Bathroom combine anti-bacterial silver protection and MoulDefender mould inhibitor, perfect for minimising unwanted nasties in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.

That you can create a handy coloured whiteboard in your kitchen with Resene Write-on Wall Paint. Just apply over your normal Resene paint finish and once cured you can write all over it with a whiteboard marker or liquid chalk. Simply wipe it off when you need to change your lists or messages.

words: Belinda Henley
pictures: Tim Whittaker


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