Just Casually

A contemporary kitchen quickly becomes part of the furniture in a heritage cottage in Tāmaki Makaurau

Just Casually

A contemporary kitchen quickly becomes part of the furniture in a heritage cottage in Tāmaki Makaurau

“It’s really an apartment kitchen in a house,” says designer Janice Kumar-Ward of the kitchen she and her team designed for a heritage cottage in an inner-city suburb of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. “It had to be compact, inexpensive and serviceable.”  

The owners have a wonderful collection of art and antiques, which they wanted to incorporate into the design; they also have two dogs and busy lives. High-maintenance, fussy materials were definitely off the cards. 

The house is on a corner, so the front door is almost never used: you enter through the garden into the kitchen, so the flow from back door to living areas was crucial. The first job was to rebuild the back of the house, lift the roofline and relocate the kitchen to the other side of the room, bringing in light through new east-facing windows and skylights, and connecting the front living room with the kitchen-dining space. 

The second part was what to put back in. “It had to feel like there was a sense of entry,” says Kumar-Ward. “We wanted it to look like a piece of furniture.” Ward and designer Liv Shew conceived an island with a steel frame and a stone top, in front of a wide bank of drawers using Blum Legrabox for high stability. 

Materials are hard-wearing – laminate and stone – and warm. They fit beautifully with the art and furniture in the rest of the room, including an antique table, armoire and sideboard, along with contemporary artworks. The result is a space that feels casual and warm; contemporary without being slick. 

While the original brief was for a kitchen, Ward and her team have also tackled living areas and are now working on a new mudroom, bathroom and bedroom set-up. “These clients are old friends of old friends” says Kumar-Ward of the clients. “It was such an honour getting into the detail with them.”

This story was produced in association with Blum.

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