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open up and say ‘wow’

From Habitat magazine - issue 31, kitchens

The line between kitchen and dining spaces continues to blur – for the better.

Kitchen shelving and display

For many of us, the notion of maintaining a formal dining room is a distant memory. In larger, older homes where a separate room may have initially existed, many are breaking down this traditional barrier in favour of a modern open plan layout – and it makes sense. An open plan kitchen-dining area allows for better flow, not only between where food is prepared and where it is served, but also for conversation between those doing the cooking and those about to do the eating. But, it also requires a fair amount of careful planning in order to get a layout that works and a design that wows.

These two thoughtful kitchen renovations show how much can be accomplished with a great layout and a clear design vision.

Warm and welcoming in white

Homeowners Kate and Nick recently completed an extensive renovation to enhance and maximise the potential of their beloved home in Auckland’s Meadowbank neighbourhood. As the owner of Williams Road, a furniture company that creates beautiful commercial fit-outs, Kate definitely has a strong sense of style and was instrumental in setting the vision for the entire project. With three young boys at home, she wanted to make sure the family’s needs would be met both in the present and in the long term while opening up the living spaces in a way that would allow more natural light and movement to flow through.

Warm and welcoming white kitchen
During the cooler months, wall-length glass doors in Kate and Nick’s home provide a sweeping view of the backyard, but when it’s warm out, the doors can be opened fully to allow for a seamless indoor-outdoor living space. The kitchen and dining space has been painted in Resene Eighth Rice Cake, a warm and inviting white, from top to bottom.

Top tip: For a whitewashed timber look to complement white kitchen and living areas, use Resene Colorwood Whitewash, or for a softer more weathered look use Resene Colorwood Greywash.

Kristen Basra, of Spatial Studio, was entrusted to head up the redesign of their kitchen and bring Kate’s ideas to life.

When it came to deciding on the overall look, Kristen says that the brief from the clients was clear right from the start. Kristen’s task was primarily to refine it within the kitchen area so that it would fit naturally within the grander open-plan living space. Clever use of space, maximisation of storage and creating a space that supports social entertaining just as much as busy mornings with the children were all equally important.

The style of the v-groove doors required particular attention to detail in order to pull off the look. The spacing between the grooves needed to look similar from cabinet to cabinet, regardless of differences in widths, and proportion was crucial in order to maintain the feeling of spaciousness.

This meant that the bulk of the design time was spent planning the layout of the kitchen to find a solution that best suited Kate and Nick’s lifestyle. “Larger cutlery and crockery drawers were more important to them than the position of the bins and dishwasher, which resulted in a highly customised layout that was unique to the homeowner’s needs,” says Kristen.

“In the bar area, I suggested an antique mirror to break up the white-on-white and lend an aged, lived in feel to the space. It also helped soften the heavy barn door by balancing it with something else that was noticeable and of a larger scale.

”Top to toe in Resene Eighth Rice Cake, the finished space feels warm and has a touch of glamour, thanks to the eye-catching rose gold dome pendant lamps.

For those looking to achieve a similar look, Kristen offers this advice: “The proportionality and balance with other surrounding textures is very important in an all-white kitchen. Lines draw the eyes in visually, so having too many lines on the cabinet doors would have made the v-groove detail into a distraction. And the larger the span of cabinetry, the better the continuity.”

Note: Resene AquaLAQ provides a tough finish ideal for painting kitchen cabinetry, or if you’re looking for a quick DIY update use Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Resene Colorwood Light Greywash

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

An inspired palette

Petra and Milan Juricˇ have been busily renovating their 1960s home in Brightwater, not far from Nelson, which they purchased a little over two years ago. The couple recently completed a year-long makeover of their main living area, which included the kitchen, dining room and lounge.

While Petra knew she definitely wanted the lifestyle that an open plan kitchen and dining area offered, she also wanted to separate the different areas visually – something she achieved by choosing three different colours and separating them with Resene Alabaster trims.

Colours inspired by Habitat by Resene, issue 28
An open plan kitchen and dining area
The colour palette for Petra and Milan’s renovated kitchen and dining area was inspired by the cover of habitat by Resene magazine issue 28. The kitchen is painted Resene Happy Hour and the ceiling and trims are in Resene Alabaster. Petra and Milan's open plan kitchen and dining area allows for traffic and conversation to flow smoothly. The dining area is painted Resene Moby, which transitions to Resene Happy Hour in the kitchen. The ceiling and trims are in Resene Alabaster.

Top tip: Always check your paint colour choices with a Resene testpot before you commit. Paint an A2 size card, leaving a white border, and move it from wall to wall at different times of the day and evening to see how the light affects the colour.

“We started off with the kitchen and dining area and decided to mix up three colours – green, blue and grey,” says Petra. “With the help of the knowledgeable staff at the Resene ColorShop in Nelson, we chose the colour scheme and went to work.”

Petra in her new kitchen and dining area Petra leans against the threshold between her newly completed lounge and kitchen dining area. The grooved panel walls of the lounge are painted Resene Moby, the kitchen wall, seen at the back, is in Resene Happy Hour and the trims and ceilings are in Resene Alabaster.

“In the kitchen, we painted the walls Resene Happy Hour. The name has been chosen really well, as this colour definitely makes us happy whenever we see it. It works really well with the antique white cabinetry and concrete grey counters and gives this space a boost. For the dining area, we chose Resene Moby, which goes so well with Resene Happy Hour and gives a nice contrast. For the house entrance area, we chose Resene Half Jumbo, which was a great ‘toned down’ option and nicely complements our vertical post wrapped in manila rope. All three colours create a perfect balance.”

Petra says that the inspiration for their lounge came from the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of habitat magazine. “The cover featured plywood planks painted in multiple colours and it looked so awesome that we decided to try something similar.”

“After painting sample planks with Resene Moby, Resene Half Jumbo and Resene Alabaster, we decided that it wouldn’t work for our area because we have multiple colours already in the kitchen/dining area. In the end, we decided to use just Resene Moby as the planks themselves provided such a nice backdrop. And, because of the texture of the plywood, it actually feels quite different to Resene Moby painted on the plasterboard in the dining area.”

Petra’s advice? “Don’t be afraid to be bold – and buy as many testpots as you need to find the right shades because just looking at the colour chart isn't enough. I learned that paint colours are affected by the lighting, surface reflection and the size of the space. I tested many colours before my final decision to find just the right fit.”

With the renovation of the major living spaces complete, Petra loves that she can now sit at the dining table and is able to see the whole area from one spot and finds the mix of colours she selected to be quite calming.

“Thanks to Resene,” she says, “we now have a fresh, vibrant and harmonious living area.”

Note: Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom combines anti-bacterial silver protection and MoulDefender mould inhibitor, perfect for minimising unwanted nasties in moist areas like kitchens, bathrooms and laundries. For a higher sheen finish use semi-gloss Resene Lustacryl Kitchen & Bathroom.

Designer: Kristen Basra, Spatial Studio
Images: Helen Bankers, Kate MacPherson


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Printed copies of habitat highlights are available from late March 2024 at Resene ColorShops and resellers, while stocks last. You can view back issues of habitat magazine online.

If you have an idea, project or story that you think would suit habitat, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us an email with your details and include photos if submitting a project.

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