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The best kitchen design advice for your home

Designing a new kitchen space? We chat with a kitchen design expert about how you should conceptualise one of the most important rooms in your home.

Mark Elmore, general manager of design at Fisher & Paykel, has been designing kitchen appliances for the Fisher & Paykel for over 35 years. He is particularly interested in the physical and architectural changes that have occurred, and in the sociological and psychological ways in which kitchen design has changed over the years.

Kitchen design at the heart of your home

Elmore says the growing importance of the kitchen can be seen by its location in the home. “[It’s] no longer a place for one person at the back of the house. It has moved forward to occupy the centre and the heart of the home,” he says. As well as this literal move, the kitchen has also changed in function. “It’s not just the place where food is prepared, it’s now also the place where food is shared. We also use it as an office, we use it as a meeting place for the family, and we use it to entertain.”

This change has led to more sophisticated kitchen designs that blend seamlessly into the rest of the home. “As kitchens evolve to be more like lounge spaces, the technology is becoming more embedded. Kitchen cabinets are looking more like furniture placed in the centre of the room and we have made sure that our appliances integrate seamlessly and give people design freedom – they can choose whether they want to show or hide their appliances.” 

The range of things we do in the kitchen has also changed. Sometimes we just want to heat up some leftovers or make a quick bowl of pasta. Other times we want to create a gastronomic feast. “This range of cooking affects the way in which we must design kitchens and the appliances that go in them,” explains Elmore. Fisher & Paykel’s combination cooktops, for example, allow you the convenience of induction, as well as SmartZone Gas for precision.

Go global

What’s also different today is that our palate is more global. We routinely eat food from around the world and want to cook it in an authentic way. We are also trying to eat more healthily. “This has an impact on how we design spaces for different foods to take into account their requirements for storage, handling, preparation and cooking.” Fisher & Paykel has introduced various appliances to respond to these changing demands, keeping up with trends in kitchen design. 

How we work in the kitchen is also changing. It’s starting to be a more collaborative effort with people converging to work together to create, or clean up after, a meal. “This means kitchens are not only growing bigger if space allows, but that we have to rethink the concept of the working triangle that’s based on one person working between the hob, fridge and sink. We have started to … create a more modular design with consistent sizing that allows you to place your products with many different combinations. Now it is possible, for example, to have a cool drawer for drinks by the dining table, a dish drawer dishwasher for the crockery by the sink, and one for glasses by the bar. The kitchen design concept is now about distributed appliances, allowing you to configure the kitchen to suit the way you live.”

The pioneering New Zealand spirit is one of the founding cornerstones of Fisher & Paykel. While they started as an importer and distributor of appliances, in the late 1930s they began designing and manufacturing their own range. Since then, the Dunedin-based company has been a leader in kitchen innovations, creating products that are now found in homes in 50 countries.

Inside The Award-Winning Vineyard Villa at The Landing

The breathtaking Vineyard Villa at The Landing in the Bay of Islands scooped up an award at the 2019 New Zealand Institute of Architects Auckland Awards. MiNDFOOD STYLE travels to the luxurious destination and chats to Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects about the unforgettable Vineyard Villa. 

A visit to the Vineyard Villa at The Landing should perhaps come with a warning or two. Firstly, there’s the very likely chance that you won’t want to leave. And then there’s the fact that once you do come to terms with the reality of returning home, you’ll then spend hours thinking about how you can convince Nat Cheshire, the architect behind the breathtaking property, to work his magic on your property.

The Vineyard Villa is just one of four Cheshire Architect-designed properties situated on the sprawling Bay of Islands coastal property that makes up The Landing. Northland native and Britomart developer, Peter Cooper purchased the idyllic piece of land back in 1999. For the past two decades, Cooper has reinvigorated the remarkable 400-hectare property, planting native trees and restoring archaeological sites of significance.

With its six private beaches and award-winning vineyard it doesn’t take a lot to fall head over heels with The Landing and each of its four residences – all available for luxurious staycations. There’s the grand Cooper residence which played home to Obama last year; the undeniable romantic Boathouse perched on the magical waterfront; and the striking Gabriel residence with its panoramic view. They are all captivating in their own way, but there’s something enigmatic and unforgettably charming about the Vineyard Villa.

Inside the Vineyard Villa at the Landing where outdoor and indoor living become one.

While Nat’s father Pip was at the helm for the other three properties, Nat explains that Vineyard Residence was the first property on which he took the lead. “The other houses are major bespoke houses for owners. This was a much smaller proposition, it’s almost like a bridge for people,” he explains. What it lacks in size – which is of course, subjective – the villa makes up for in character. Its remarkable relationship with the surrounding land is possibly the most salient feature of the residence. “The starting point was that it wanted to dig its heel into the ground,” says Cheshire.

“It really wanted to say it would be there for a very long time and part of the house had been there for a very long time.” Cheshire is referring to the stonewall created by boulders extracted from The Landing’s expansive landscape. “It’s the spine of everything,” Cheshire says. “It wanted to project itself both forward and backwards in time.”

To balance the dramatic nature of the stonewall, Cheshire explains that the lighting of the living space needed to be very open; so open in fact, that the house can transform into what Cheshire describes as a covered terrace. Throwing all caution to the wind, Cheshire decided to reinvent the concept of both doors and windows, designing floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that wrap around the entire living space and open up completely.

“When it is fully open, especially in those idyllic Bay of Islands months, it really is like you are living on the deck of a boat and you’re outside rather than in a house.” It felt only natural, says Cheshire, that the bedrooms became the opposite of the living space. “The idea is that you’re entering a space that’s a bit more romantic, not in an amorous way but it’s cabin-like. It’s almost like you have entered a second building, it’s a place of shelter.” Cheshire says it was a deliberate move to mark the beginning and end of the day. “The landscape up there can be so overwhelming – it’s a 360-degree view – and it’s still and hot, or it’s windy, or it’s sunny and blinding. “It’s important to be able to retreat from that.”

Take a look inside the Vineyard Villa at The Landing in the gallery below and pick up a copy of MiNDFOOD Style to discover more of the breathtaking location.

Visit the thelandingnz.com to book your own luxury escape and stay at the Vineyard Villa.

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