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Black and white kitchen packs plenty of visual punch |

Black and white kitchen packs plenty of visual punch

Black and white kitchen packs plenty of visual punch

The chequered black and white floor determined the monochromatic palette of this new kitchen in a traditional house built in the 1920s.

What’s the starting point for a kitchen design?

It can be all about functionality or a favourite benchtop material, but for this project in St Heliers, Auckland, it was all about a black-and-white chequered floor.

Auckland designer Celia Visser says the owners were adamant they wanted such a floor – partly because they have a dog in the house and such a floor would be easy to keep clean.

Black stools reinforce the visual drama.

But they also wanted something “really dramatic”, the designer says. And the design needed to work with the traditional 1920s house, which has undergone many renovations over the years.

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The benchtops are Super White granite, which has a strong grey veining.

“The former kitchen didn’t have an island and was quite out of date,” says Visser. “It was also very crammed when everyone wanted to do something at the same time. Everyone in the house likes to cook and the new kitchen needed to flow a lot better so people could work on different benches at the same time.”

With this in mind, the designer created a long island opposite the cooking centre, and introduced a separate work bench alongside the windows, with a second sink. She also provided a flow to the new laundry immediately behind the kitchen, so that it could be used as a mini scullery when the owners are entertaining – the room features similar cabinets and benchtops.

To reinforce the visual drama created by the floor, Visser specified white cabinetry and Super White granite benchtops, which feature a lot of dramatic grey veining. 

The kitchen also features a black Falcon 900mm cooker and a matching black Falcon rangehood.

The white elements are contrasted by a black Falcon 90cm double-oven cooker and a matching black rangehood. “The owners love the great big cooker, and they do a lot of entertaining, so the large size is appreciated,” says the designer.

Small appliances are also colour co-ordinated and kept out on the benchtops. They include a black toaster and a coffee machine in a dedicated coffee prep area, where drinks can be prepared without interruption to people working at the island. And there are striking black stools and matching black and white artworks.

Few kitchens have overhead cupboards today. Much preferred are deep, easy-glide drawers and vertical pantries with slide-out shelving that provide better storage.

Even the accessories are colour co-ordinated. The coffee centre is positioned at one side of the kitchen to keep foot traffic out of the main work space.

“There is so much wastage in a conventional pantry,” says Visser. “You can fit so much more into the same space by using a vertical pantry. And the glass sides of the sliding shelves allow you to see everything at a glance.”

This kitchen features two Blum vertical pantries that provide all the storage the household requires.

To maintain a clean, streamlined look, white shutters were chosen for the long window.

The laundry sits at the far end of the kitchen, and is equipped with similar cabinetry, so it can function as a mini scullery.


* A monochromatic look can be very dramatic, especially when it is carried through to all the accessories.

* Consider doubling up a laundry as a mini scullery when entertaining on a grand scale. Matching cabinetry will reinforce the visual connection.

The kitchen is part of a large family living area.

* Coloured appliances are very much in vogue. The matching black cooker and rangehood create a strong focal point.

* Two sinks means two workstations, although you can have even more people working in a kitchen with two long benchtops.

* Keep the coffee centre out of the way of the main food prep area, so the cook is not interrupted.


 – Stuff

Next Kitchen story:

At home with Jess Daniell, of Jess’ Underground Kitchen deli

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