Quaker-style cabinetry stars in this new kitchen design

This sleek yet family friendly kitchen was specifically designed so the entire space can be opened to the outdoors

The kitchen at a glance

Who lives here? Manu Withers (structural engineer), Kelly Wyn (full-time mum), Taylor, 10, Camryn, 7, Virginia, 2, and Otis the dog.

Where is your home? Birkenhead, Auckland. (The kitchen was part of a new-home build which took around 10 months.)

Total budget: Around $30,000 plus design fee

Designer Q&A with Robyn Labb from Robyn Labb Kitchens

The brief
Manu and Kelly were building a villa-style home and wanted a modern, light and bright family kitchen. The focus for the kitchen was a classic style which would stand the test of time, both quality- and style-wise. Although they wanted a classic style, the couple also specified clean lines with no clutter or open shelves.

The plan/design
The layout is a tried-and-true configuration with the island holding the sink, and the cooking zone located opposite, along the back wall of the kitchen. As in the initial brief, the island has seating on both sides for a more social family hub.

The overall aesthetic is clean and cool, with a soft tonal grey-white palette and striking ‘waterfall’ (where the same material is used for top and sides) island in marble. Appliances and clutter are tucked away in the butler’s pantry, and quick work is made of cocktails at the custom-designed bar in the recessed area near the pantry entrance. Industrial-style fixtures and fittings such as the pendant lights and Tolix bar stools enhance the classic style without straying too far from the original brief.

The result
The kitchen and benches met both the couple’s budget and design expectations.

New build know-how

Kelly, what were your kitchen must-haves? We insisted on several design elements including a central marble island, Quaker-style cabinetry and a walk-in butler’s pantry. A bonus was the space for a bar area with wine fridge and storage for glasses. The rest we left in (kitchen designer) Robyn’s capable hands.

Describe the end result: A kitchen which captures our lifestyle and aesthetic perfectly. Our builder worked closely with subcontractors, which made installation a breeze. Tapping in to design and trade knowledge was invaluable compared to past projects where we have relied on DIY.

Favourite feature? The fact that it’s designed around the bifold doors which open the entire space to the outdoors for summer living. The island is also a huge success and used for everything from sharing meals together, doing homework, quiet cups of tea, enjoying the view, as well as for shindigs. The brief was adhered to perfectly – it’s exactly what we wanted.

Words by: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Larnie Nicolson.