Soon to be married, Nick and Mike Robinson replaced the original 1940s cabinets in their former state house in Three Kings, Auckland, with a new kitchen designed by Jade York.
Old state homes from the 1940s and 1950s are often praised for their “good bones,” making them sought-after homes for renovation projects.
And, invariably, one of the first things to go is the original kitchen, with its narrow, painted cabinets – the walls are also knocked down to create spacious, open living areas.
That’s what bride and groom Nick and Mike Robinson did at their home in Three Kings, Auckland. Their original kitchen – painted two shades of blue – just wasn’t up to par.
“While the kitchen was very solid, the layout was very impractical, with limited bench or storage space,” says Nick Robinson. “The cupboards couldn’t hold our plates (so we had to remove the cupboard doors), there was no place to put the plates or the KitchenAid (and other appliances), and the pantry was very small.
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“There was also no room for the refrigerator, so it was blocking one of the doors and there was no dishwasher.”
As was the norm “at the time”, the kitchen was in a separate room, with no connection to the living room, nor outside: “It did not suit our way of life, which is very centered on the cooking and family gatherings. and friends.”
The guys commissioned Jade York to design a new kitchen that would make living, cooking and storing easy and hassle-free. It had to be “perfect for entertaining, but also great just for our family”.
“We wanted lots of storage and a pantry on the bench so that benchtop appliances, such as the toaster and coffee maker, could be easily accessed, but also tucked away quickly,” says Robinson. “We have high ceilings, so I also wanted closets that went all the way to the roof for every storage space we could have.”
The kitchen also had to reflect the era of the house and look good for years to come.
Part of a major renovation of the house, the room has been opened up to the living space and the outdoors, with sliders opening onto a large terrace.
York designed a U-shaped kitchen with a peninsula that provides plenty of space for cooking and serving. The worktop is slightly higher than usual (950mm vs standard 900mm), so it’s comfortable to lean on when standing and talking to guests.
Primestone Statuario Venato engineered quartz in a slim profile with a leather finish features on the countertops and cascading end of the peninsula. It is paired with white cabinets with Dezignatek Thermoform doors and drawer fronts.
“We’ve imported handles from overseas that have this great clean, yet classic, deco feel, so they fit right in with the rest of the house,” says Robinson. “And the closet profiles mirror the style and shape of our windows, so they feel very at home with the rest of the house.”
The couple say they couldn’t be happier with the outcome. “It’s really easy to cook and entertain. We’ve had quite a few dinners where we don’t even sit at the table, and all eat standing around the island bench – that means I can cook and have always feel like part of the fun,” says Nick Robinson.
“The sparkling water tap (Spring Neotap) is our favorite luxury – it’s in constant use and also saves us buying plastic bottles.”
The couple say they likely spent between $55,000 and $60,000 on the kitchen portion of the entire home renovation.
But now, having completed the renovation and had time to enjoy it, the couple have made the difficult decision to sell: “It means someone else will now be able to enjoy the kitchen I’ve spent too much on time to think,” says Nick Robinson.
They listed their home with Ray White Mt Eden.
Kitchen manufacturer: LaBella Kitchens
The 2021 NKBA Design Excellence Awards feature New Zealand’s best kitchens and bathrooms.