Kristina Rapley takes us inside her newly renovated mid-century kitchen

  Replacing the kitchen in this mid-century West Auckland home was all about balancing period detail with practicality

Meet + greet

Kristina Rapley, 32 (editor of Your Home & Garden, on maternity leave), Ashton Lines-Sherwood, 32 (Starleaton NZ country manager), and Tallulah, 1 month, plus Blue the Lab and Bell Belles the cat.

Tell us about you and your kitchen. Do you spend much time in it?

Kristina: The kitchen is one of my favourite places to be – I love cooking and pottering around preparing food. I actually can’t believe I managed with the old kitchen for as long as we did; it was so grotty.

What didn’t you like about your old kitchen?

It was the original 1950s kitchen so it had seen a lot of wear and tear. Lots of tiny drawers, discoloured and cracked vinyl flooring, peeling paint, not enough storage – the works.

What was the inspiration behind the new design?

The old space needed to be demolished. It was beyond saving so we used the opportunity to start from scratch. Style-wise, we wanted it to blend in with the character of the house which meant warm timber, brass and blue tones. On the design front, we worked with Eric from Pacific Coast Kitchens in the Bay of Plenty.

They measured the space and came up with an awesome layout, plus a few other suggestions which we loved. It was Eric’s idea to knock out the wall between the kitchen and bathroom and pinch some space to put a big pantry in, which has been a game-changer.

How did you choose the materials? 

I found this part really hard! We wanted handleless timber cabinetry but that was going to drive the price outside our budget. We decided to go for a two-toned look instead – white cabinetry below, which was much cheaper, and the timber cabinets above as more of a feature.

How did you decide on the new layout?

The new layout is pretty similar to the old one, except we’ve got loads more storage now, thanks to the new cupboard space.

Did you have to make any structural changes?

Yes, we borrowed some space from the adjoining laundry/bathroom for our pantry, but that was okay because the bathroom was also being renovated.

Did you DIY or use professionals?

Ashton did the demolition and I sourced the fun things like tapware, handles, the sink and tiles, but we got in professionals for the rest.

Best lesson learned?

Expect the unexpected/the worst when you’re dealing with old homes and, if you’re trying to be sympathetic to the character of an older home, accept that you can’t really go for cheap and cheerful materials. It’s going to cost a bit more.

Any nasty surprises?

There have been nasty surprises around every corner with this reno of ours. The one that hurt the most was getting the call from the electrician to say our whole house needed to be rewired.

How long did the renovation take?

About four weeks all up for the major things.

Anything you’d change?

Nope! We love it.

What do you like best about your new kitchen?

I love the warm timber tones against the blue tiles and I love, love, love the butler’s sink – I’ve always wanted one.

Best experiences in it so far?

It just makes everyday life so much easier. It’s such a lovely space to cook in and so easy to keep clean and tidy; it’s super-practical.

What have you been cooking lately?

Lots of baking has been going down in our new kitchen recently. I’ve never been much of a baker but it seems I’ve caught the bug now I have a nice space to experiment in.

Overall cost?

$30,000 (not including the rewiring, which was $8000).

See the before & afters below

Take a tour through Kristina & Ashton’s mid-century bathroom.

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Interview by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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