Thu. Oct 29th, 2020

This kitchen, designed by Melanie John of Cube Dentro for first-home owners moving into a new house, received the NKBA Kitchen Distinction Award for a kitchen under $25,000.

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This kitchen, designed by Melanie John of Cube Dentro for first-home owners moving into a new house, received the NKBA Kitchen Distinction Award for a kitchen under $25,000.

The owners of this new house in Glenbrook, Auckland lived in a caravan for two years to save enough money for their first home.

And of course there was a tight budget when it came to the kitchen design, says Melanie John of Cube Dentro in Takanini. “Their budget was around $20,000, but the kitchen came in closer to $22,000. But they were very happy with it.”

And John was happy also to see her project win the NKBA Kitchen Distinction Award 2020 for a kitchen under $25,000.

Melanie John says she "future proofed" the house, providing more storage than the first-homeowners' current requirements.

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Melanie John says she “future proofed” the house, providing more storage than the first-homeowners’ current requirements.

“In a simple kitchen, details matter,” the judges said. “This kitchen is the perfect example of why. The attention to detail has lifted the space, from the benchtop with the negative detail, through to the lining up of the fridge with the joinery. This is good value for the budget, with a fantastic execution of pallet and texture.”

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John says the design brief from the young couple was quite different from the finished kitchen. “One of the owners is a draughtsman for the company (Designmax, Waiuku) that built the house, and he just gave us the standard spec-home plans with a spec kitchen.

‘THERE’S NO WAY WE’RE GOING TO GIVE YOU THAT’

“When they came in, I said there’s no way we’re going to give you that. You have come to us to design your kitchen, and we don’t do standard spec kitchens.

“His partner was thrilled to hear that, and they just said, ‘OK, for it’, so I had pretty much free rein. The kitchen did need to reflect the owners’ penchant for clean lines, attention to detail and balance, however.

Engineered stone benchtops wrap over the sides of the island, but don't extend far down.

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Engineered stone benchtops wrap over the sides of the island, but don’t extend far down.

“It also needed to remain a practical space to work in as the clients start their journey on the property ladder. Because they had been living in the caravan, they didn’t have many items to bring into the kitchen, so we ‘future proofed’ it, providing plenty storage appropriate for the three-bedroom house – there’s a pantry with a benchtop on the right side for small appliances, and another large one next to the fridge.”

As the house is in a new coastal subdivision, the concept needed to reflect the light, bright, beachy surroundings.

“The challenge was to incorporate all of these requirements while delivering a space that conveyed a designer feel over “first home spec build”.

There is a large pantry at one end of the ktichen, plus further cupboard space next to the refrigerator.

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There is a large pantry at one end of the ktichen, plus further cupboard space next to the refrigerator.

The designer says she didn’t want the cabinetry to be overbearing, so she has included a mix of white laminate and Bestwood Ranfurly Oak cabinets. A feature woodgrain rangehood box sits seamlessly between tall cabinetry creating negative space and a sense of lightness.

Interestingly, John says the materials used in the kitchen are standard, but (as the judges noted) it’s the craftsmanship that lifts the kitchen out of the ordinary.

Look closely, and you can see the negative detailing where the benchtop meets the base of the island.

John also introduced visual texture with white finger tiles with a cracked look and darkened edge for the front of the island and the splashback.

These are teamed with Ruyi engineered benchtops in Ice Snow. The cooking appliances and dishwasher are Ariston, the refrigerator is a Westinghouse, and the microwave is a Panasonic.

John also took out another award at this year’s NKBA awards, winning the CDS Bathroom Design Award for a bathroom in and Auckland home.

NKBA

Winning kitchens and bathrooms in the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Awards are announced.

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