Kitchen of the Week: Hawke’s Bay renovation makes kitchen the social hub

The kitchen was expanded to include three spaces - kitchen, laundry and porch - to create a more spacious feel.

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The kitchen was expanded to include three spaces – kitchen, laundry and porch – to create a more spacious feel.

Like many 1960s kitchens, the one in this Havelock North home had no space for anyone other than the cook.

When owners Sarah and John Allen entertained, there was nowhere for family and friends to sit – any visitors had to be in the lounge while the host prepared and cooked alone.

Designer Trudi Rabbitte of Rabbitte Joinery won the 2020 NKBA distinction award for kitchens in the $25,000- $40,000 price range.

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Designer Trudi Rabbitte of Rabbitte Joinery won the 2020 NKBA distinction award for kitchens in the $25,000- $40,000 price range.

Designer Trudi Rabbitte, from Rabbitte Joinery, kept this concern front of mind when she conceived the new kitchen that would go on to win the distinction award for kitchens in the $25,000 – $40,000 price range in the national NKBA awards.

The renovation also took out the Kitchen & Bathroom Recognition Award for the Hawke’s Bay chapter.

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Further to the original sitting space woes, there was nowhere in the evenings for the Allen children, two primary-school aged boys, to do their homework while dinner was being made.

”Sarah and John were forever running backwards and forwards from kitchen to dining room to oversee homework and dinner prep,” Rabbitte says. “They were also wanting more storage in the space for kids and a more relaxed shared space for everyone.”

The initial plan was to downsize the laundry and incorporate that into the kitchen space.

“However, it was a very unusual space,” Rabbitte says, “and we didn’t gain much in doing this.”

'Before' - the kitchen was in its original 1960s form.

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‘Before’ – the kitchen was in its original 1960s form.

“So we then looked at including the built-in porch, which produced challenges with floor levels, insulation and also additional windows. But this gave us our final layout.”

She decided to remove all the windows in the porch area which looked out towards the road, and instead incorporate a large floor-to-door-height window at the end of the kitchen. This means there is a view into the green space of the yard when standing in the working area of the kitchen.

A skylight above the workspace brings extra natural light in.

“Sarah wanted a space that could hide away the kettle, and so we created the on-bench coffee nook which was accessed on the side of the hob bench. We also carried the LED lighting round into this space.”

Drawers under the bench seat allow the boys to store their school bags in a handy location.

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Drawers under the bench seat allow the boys to store their school bags in a handy location.

Dedicated space was requested for each of the boys’ school bags – so that they weren’t running down to the garage constantly to collect lunch boxes and homework. Drawers under the bench seat filled this requirement.

The design even incorporated office space – with storage for a printer and office supplies included beside the bench seat.

The laundry was hidden away behind bifold doors, and includes its own sink.

Rabbitte says the materials chosen – American white oak, pitch black Melteca acrylic fronts on the island and organic white caesarstone – have created “a beautiful palette, and shine in this new space”.

A simple white-tiled splashback maintains a clean look in the new kitchen.

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A simple white-tiled splashback maintains a clean look in the new kitchen.

She is delighted with how the project has turned out. “I think that we’ve achieved a beautiful spacious and cohesive space for the family.”

Judges commended the kitchen as an example of a successful layout “with layered spaces and simple forms”.

”[We] enjoyed the detail of the framing of the island and the treatment of kitchen around the window.”

Oak cabinetry was combined with an engineered stone benchtop.

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Oak cabinetry was combined with an engineered stone benchtop.

Overall, they commended it as a “comforting and very social space with a lovely, homely palette”.

Rabbitte says the owners are loving the new space and it has inspired them to plan further renovations in their home.

NKBA

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

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