With no demarcation, this kitchen merges seamlessly as part of the living area. Discover the details behind architect Belinda George’s award-winning home
This open plan kitchen in Mahurangi is masterfully detailed
Architect: Belinda George
Brief: A kitchen at the centre of family life, placed in the living room and requiring the same aesthetic.
Tell us about the use of reclaimed timber.
The kitchen is made from solid river rimu. It was recovered from the rivers between Dargaville and Whangarei, cut down more than a century ago and lost to the bottom during transportation to the mill. It’s a sustainable source of native timber and we love it. We first saw it in its raw form on the back of a trailer on its way to the kiln to be dried. We love the history, the stories and the incredible colours that time submerged under water have created. We have an ongoing friendship with the supplier and continue to marvel at this product.
Since it’s your own kitchen, did the design evolve more organically than if there had been a client to consider?
Yes, it did evolve organically, especially as my husband David White was constructing it.
Building this home was a collaborative effort between you both – how did that process work in the kitchen?
I guess I dictated the materials and layout and David figured out how it all went together. He specialises in interpreting ideas and drawings and making the impossible possible.
What prompted the decision to install an Aga?
It’s a combination of our overall sustainable energy philosophy for the house and nostalgia from winters in the UK spent huddled around an Aga. We’ve combined the wetback idea for home heating with solar hot water and PVs. Living rurally, we can source firewood easily and David creates a lot of off-cuts from his furniture making. It means that you are very aware of your energy consumption as it’s not just flicking a switch to create heat.
Words by: Suzanne Dale. Photography by: Simon Devitt.