This kitchen renovation is all about functional style with a dash of glam

This “reno-crazy” couple relied on DIY, with help from family and friends, to create a stylish open-plan kitchen in their 1950s New Plymouth home

This kitchen renovation is all about functional style with a dash of glam

Who lives here?
Shay Starrenburg, web developer, John Starrenburg, construction foreman, plus dog Coco and cat Ebony.

DIY dreams

How much of the work did you do yourselves?
Shay: We did basically everything ourselves (with a little help from family). John being a builder meant anything was possible. Plumbing and electrical were completed by friends.

Describe the style you were going for.
Palm Springs, plant-crazy, bright, happy, with a hint of glam.

What was the biggest risk you took?
We ordered the kitchen bench from the tiniest sample at Mitre 10,which was a big risk being that it’s a marble pattern that changes vastly from a tiny sample to a large bench, but we were really happy with it when it turned up! We went with laminate which was $1600 (the next option up was over $7000).

The results

What were you wanting to achieve with the makeover?
We wanted somewhere that’s a great hub for entertaining friends and family – that was really tested this Christmas as we hosted two Christmasses in three days with more than 20 people at each!

What’s your favourite feature of the new space?
Design-wise it’s hard, as I just love it all. Functionality-wise, neither of us had ever had a dishwasher so that’s been life-changing!


What was your budget?
We didn’t have a set budget, just renovated as we could afford things. We’ve done time without a kitchen, two winters without ceilings, about six months living in the basement, and a few months living completely out of a bedroom. It’s been crazy but so much fun.

What did you save on?
John being a builder was the biggest saving. But we saved on most things. We bought all our kitchen carcasses from Mitre 10 and did all of the panels with premium MDF. I love the look and feel of these and I’m known for changing things up, so it’s simple enough to repaint.

Total: Approx $11,000

Fact file

Kitchen carcasses and Duropal benchtop in Statuario Venato laminate from Mitre 10; front panels in MDF, painted in Resene ‘Dark Knight’; splashback in pressed-tin panels from Ico Traders; sink from Cabro; brass tap from Collected; door knobs from Early Settler; pendant light from Lighting Direct; stools from Cintesi; table and chairs from Harvey Norman; walls painted in Resene ‘Quarter Black White’; door painted in Resene ‘Vista Blue’; flooring is original rimu floorboards.

Words by: Fiona Ralph and Alex Scott. Photography by: Jane Dove Juneau.