From habitat magazine - issue 36, kitchens
The colour green is one of the hottest design trends. Two designers show the light and dark side of this nature-inspired hue.
Meeting the homeowners for the first time, Marlborough interior designer Jenny Saggers of Collaborate NZ instantly knew they were kindred spirits. The couple, who had not long moved back to New Zealand from Australia, thought it a modern-day myth that you never grow tired of neutrals. In fact, they already had. The basic white kitchen they’d inherited with the house, located in the small town of Renwick, was soulless. “The owner had her heart set on a soft green kitchen. She loves green, and so do I,” says Jenny.
Because they were using colour to move the mood from boring to beautiful, the right shade of green was imperative. Jenny ordered Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches of soft greens to show the owners a range of options. Resene Half Washed Green from the Karen Walker Paints collection was the weathered grey-green that hit the spot. “It wasn’t too dark or too light; it was just right for a room that has lots of natural light,” says Jenny.
The window seat features the same Shaker-style cabinets as the kitchen in Resene Half Washed Green which, when combined with the Resene Half Black White walls and Resene Quarter Black White skirting, creates a soft and airy space. Use Resene Colorwood Natural wood stain protected with Resene Qristal ClearFloor for a lightly stained look on timber flooring.
Cabinets and an island front featuring a Shaker-style profile were painted in Resene Half Washed Green. This gentle shade works well with the solid American oak benchtop on the island and the brushed brass tapware and antique brass cabinetry knobs.
To ensure the room felt contemporary rather than classical, Jenny decided on Resene Half Black White for the walls and the two grooved panel doors that lead off this open-plan space. “It’s a cool tone that keeps the look crisp,” she explains. For the ceiling, she used Resene Quarter Black White. “I specified a lighter quarter strength because if you use the same strength on the ceiling, it tends to look darker than the walls because of the angle the light hits it.”
During the day, light bounces off the tiles and in the evenings is softly diffused through Opal Glass Globe pendants from lighting specialist Mr Ralph. It’s a place you want to linger longer, and there’s no problem with that; a built-in window seat in one corner of the open-plan room is ideal for relaxing. It sports the same Shaker-style profile as the kitchen – painted in Resene Half Washed Green.
Top tip Resene colours are available in A4 drawdown paint swatches made with real Resene paint. They enable you to see a larger swatch of your chosen colour in situ to help bring your project to life. View in the in-store colour library at your local Resene ColorShop or reseller or order online.
The addition of colour, even a 'new neutral' such as the softest green, can change the feeling of a space. Soft green tones have a calming effect, particularly when teamed with pale timbers. Popular soft greens to try are Resene Norway, Resene Spring Rain and Resene Pale Leaf.
You can pick up a colour used in your kitchen on the rest of an open-plan living zone for continuity. For instance, repeat a cabinetry colour on internal doors or by painting a feature wall.
When remodelling a kitchen, work within the original footprint and, even if you invest in new appliances, locate them in the same place so that plumbing doesn't need to be substantially altered.
Clinical white kitchens are a thing of the past, according to Mark Bruce of Designmarked. Or, if they're not, they should be. When the Designmarked team designed this kitchen, they aimed for a layering of shadows and a look he calls 'whiskey den'.
There isn't much natural light within the narrow room. Designmarked painted the ceiling earthy black Resene Element to make it disappear. Then they looked for a shade for the cabinets to capture the smoking-lounge sultriness they were after. Resene Jurassic, a muddy, dusky green, is the epitome of 'masculine' sophistication yet still has warmth. It was perfect.
Mark, a former cabinetmaker, knows a thing or two about paint systems, which is why he is sold on Resene AquaLAQ, a waterborne spray-lacquer innovation. “There are no toxic isocyanates in the paint, so it’s better for the environment and more user-friendly for spray-painters as they don’t need to wear full-body suits to work with it.”
In this kitchen, low-level cabinetry with fronts finished in Resene Jurassic harmonises with dark oak. “We wanted the materials to be rustic,” says Mark, “but the paint allowed us to introduce colour. Shark-fin pull handles on the green drawers are a delightful detail, while the durability and smoothness of Resene AquaLAQ gets top marks.
A luscious slab of Silver Roots marble on the island top complements the Resene Jurassic cabinetry with a show-stopping effect. Its root-like veins range across the surface, organic and dynamic, and Mark has added an angular timber layer of oak, which projects from the bench to give the design more energy and texture.
This kitchen tells an individual story – a concept with global appeal. It’s one reason Mark thinks painted cabinets are enjoying such a resurgence. “With acrylics and low-pressure laminates, there’s a finite palette to choose from. Your neighbour could have the same colour as you. Here, with Resene Jurassic, the colour and design make a unique statement.”
Lacquer, a durable paint finish, is a coating with an even, smooth surface. It provides a less-abrasive feel that’s nice to touch when applied to the doors and drawers. The Environmental Choice approved Resene AquaLAQ range is available in a huge range of colours and clear finishes so you can choose your colour and gloss level.
Did you know that, historically, the best ergonomic measurement for a sink bench is 950mm (higher, so not as much bending needed) and for a hob bench, it’s 850mm (low bench for rolling pastry and cooking)? Most cabinetmakers split the difference and make benches at 900mm high. Think about whether you would prefer bench heights at different levels.
Don’t be afraid to try a gloss finish with dark green, such as Resene Karaka, for an effect similar to black.
Words: Claire McCall
Images: Jamie Wright
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