This modern kitchen utilises hard-wearing materials in the most stylish way

The Baldwin family’s new kitchen is the heart of their modern new-build in Cromwell, Central Otago. See how this Kitchen Awards finalist uses ply and stainless steel in the best way

ply kitchen

Meet + greet

Ellen Baldwin, 35 (stay-at-home mum), Shaun Baldwin, 38 (roofer), Stella, 4, Deacon and Jed, 2 and a half, plus Beth the dog.

Key trades/suppliers

Cabinetry Trends Kitchens, Cromwell
Plumber Nathan Young Plumbing
Electrician Chris Sangster, Sangster Construction

Total spend


ply kitchen

What was the inspiration for your new kitchen?

Ellen: I spent years looking at house and design magazines, online sources and other people’s homes for inspiration. There were five New Zealand homes that I drew a lot of inspiration from and our house is an amalgamation of those. Our brief for the kitchen was that it had to be functional for a family with three young children and it had to fit into a living area that is not overly large, so it really needed to be flexible.

What materials did you choose and why?

We wanted to use materials that would create a natural, honest look. It was also important that they were hard-wearing, durable and would age gracefully as this is a family home. The joinery is birch plywood, the benchtops are stainless steel and white-laminated ply, the wall colour is Dulux ‘Okarito’ and the flooring is polished concrete with a warehouse finish.

ply kitchen

How did you shop for your kitchen?

A lot of the accessories and furnishings were purchased over the course of a couple of years before we had even begun construction. Our home and its look was always in the back of my mind, so when I saw something I liked, I bought it, even though the house only existed on paper! I shopped mostly at Folklore Fine Goods, Kmart and The Warehouse, and the plants are from The Borrowed Botanicals in Queenstown.

Did you have any setbacks during the build?

Our kitchen had been mostly installed when a couple of issues arose around the finish of the island and the unit that hangs above the back bench. It was decided to take it all down and return it to the factory. It was then redelivered already assembled. The turnaround was very fast and Trends dealt with the issues with no fuss or bother.

ply kitchen

What do you love most about your kitchen?

I love that it fits into the space so well – it’s a separate area but blends into the living space. I love the design, the overall look and how it functions on a daily basis. It is exactly what I hoped for.

Words by: Sally Conor. Photography by: Sarah Rowlands.

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