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  • Personality and Style | How injection of colour creates warm and inviting living spaces

Personality and Style | How injection of colour creates warm and inviting living spaces

Personality and Style

A new kitchen renovation ten years ago in Bill and Robyn’s Parnell villa probably better reflected the architectural trends of the time than it did the couple’s tastes.

It was Italian by design, high-end and minimal, something befitting a luxury apartment rather than a grand old Victorian. The dark brown wall cupboards not only closed in their otherwise airy kitchen, they opened upwards so that the diminutive Robin was barely tall enough to close them much less see and reach inside.

Bill and Robyn approached Karin Montgomery Spath with an open brief. The emphasis was on creating a welcoming, open kitchen while also finding more space and a fresh look for a cramped bathroom.

According to Karin, “The previous kitchen was built to very high specifications. Everything was so well made and was still running perfectly. I suggested that we just tart it up a bit!”’

Using existing appliances, tapware and layout Karin decided on a range of lively, yet earthy tones and an eclectic wall of tiles to reference Bill and Robyn’s love of colour and art.

Having seen some quality kitchen renovations cost as much as $80,000, Karin says, “we did this for a fraction of that. It wasn’t that money was an issue, it simply did not need to be done.”

The cabinets were replaced with flush mounted shelves that sat lower to the work surfaces and were easily accessible. All remaining cabinet surfaces were taken away and hand-painted in a matt Resene Alabaster to match the trim throughout the home. “We wanted a natural feel, not glossy.” 

The tiles used on the walls extending out from the splash back were inexpensive in themselves. With assistance from Siobhan McDermond at Heritage Tiles Parnell, Karin individually mapped each tile to fit the space before ‘Moon the Tiler’ laid them.

The ‘subway’ tiles on the kitchen island pick up on the cabinetry colour while contrasting with the dark stain floors The stools are from Flotsam and Jetsam and a Talo pendant light by Artemide illuminates from above. 

Existing floor tiles in the conservatory were left and covered with a warm hemp Sumac rug that matches the kitchen runner and gives the family dogs a place to sit. 

A Romeo Moon pleated glass shade was installed above the hand painted Oak dining table and a concealed strip light over the bottom wall shelf provides light for the sink and work bench.

A Resene quarter ‘Tea’ was used on the walls through out the home. It is warmer than white, highlights the art collection and marries the kitchen conservatory with the outdoor patio, where Karin added potted toparies and a star jasmine hedge to create subtle structure and colour around the concrete pavers.  

“The old bathroom was a real dog,’ laughs Karin. The decision to renovate could not have been timelier as the existing wet area had been leaking and under floor joists were in urgent need of replacement.

Referencing Bill and Robin’s love of Italy, Karin chose a Florentine feel for the bathroom. The room is encased with Opal Series ‘Klimt’ mosaic glass tiles, whose blend of aqua, green and grey reflect light, adds texture and is a nod to historic European bathhouses. 

A back wall was pushed out into the office behind creating an alcove for the Opera double porcelain basin over an Opera stainless frame. Karin designed the feature mirror for the wall. The mirror measures 990cm by 990 cm and is a composite of nine individual mirror squares. Each opens into it’s own separate compartment with plugs built in.  

An over the head Talo light takes care of mirror duties while two Minimania lights bookend the whole unit for ambience. A third Minimania sits above the Opera Tondo toilet at the door end of the room.

A generous three square metre shower box with Gitke shower fittings is bathed in light from a skylight above. Opposite, sliding doors hide an existing internal laundry.

Words by Jason Burgess
  • Renovate Magazine