Shelley tells how she used storage smarts and prioritising her family’s habits to design her dream kitchen with Hewe Kitchens and Blum.

Storing

(rooms) Kitchen
(rooms) Kitchen
(rooms) Kitchen

One of the most common kitchen issues is a large pantry filled with food that often gets pushed to the back and forgotten about (something I was totally guilty of). Instead I decreased the size of my pantry and added additional food storage in different zones around the kitchen where I actually used it, using Blum products to organize each. To get maximum space out of my new pantry size I used a Blum Space Tower and it has seriously changed my relationship with the kitchen. Drawers fit more than regular shelves and you can access food from three sides when they’re pulled out (great for kids fighting over the snack drawer). The drawers come in different widths, depths and heights so you can customize your Space Tower to fit the foods you always buy. I put a tall drawer at the bottom so the kids can easily reach their cereal, allowing them to get breakfast themselves. I used Blum Legrabox drawers in Silk White, featuring clear fronts so you can easily see what’s inside, and added inner dividing systems to tidy up the interior and make sure products don’t tip.

Cooking

(rooms) Kitchen

I used large deep drawers rather than cabinets to house frypans and saucepans, plus added a slimline inner drawer for cooking utensils. Herbs, oils and spices are now underneath the hob so everything I need when cooking is within arm’s reach. The spice holder keeps containers from tipping over and rattling around, and also stores them at an angle so you can easily see the labels. The bottle pull-out and inner dividers keep bottles of oil and vinegar from tipping and leaking – I also like the easy-clean metal trays. I opted for the Fisher & Paykel Double Built-In oven in white because I can cook multiple dishes simultaneously, and it creates a seamless look with the white cabinetry.

Cleaning & cooling

(rooms) Kitchen
(rooms) Kitchen

The little room adjacent to the kitchen was previously a laundry. Instead I redesigned it into a slashie laundry/scullery. I moved linen to a cupboard in the hallway closer to the bedrooms, making room to store bulky appliances that are not used often (pizza makers are great, but boy do they hog space), and bulk food items. The washing machine and dryer are now stacked on top of each other to gain space. Household cleaning items have dedicated shelves and organisers under the sink, while everyday cleaning items like detergent live under the sink in the main kitchen. For rubbish in the main kitchen I used a high front drawer with two bins, one for general rubbish and one for recycling. I also added an additional inner drawer behind the high front to create extra space for rubbish bags and bin tags. Placing the bins directly to the right of the sinks and opposite the fridge and pantry was a practical choice after observing our main sources of waste.

Before the renovation I had a big pantry and space for a regular sized fridge only. But we needed more fridge/freezer space because my family eat like locusts, so space for a larger fridge was a priority for me in the new kitchen design. I planned an integrated kitchen design, so all the appliances are concealed behind cabinetry creating a seamless aesthetic. The only issue was a marital vow I’d made to my husband. Steven had given full permission for me to choose and design the aesthetic of the kitchen, but all he asked for in return was a fridge with a water and ice dispenser (which doesn’t lend itself to an integrated design). Thankfully there is a wizard in the Fisher & Paykel lab who understands these types of husband and wife dilemmas and has invented a solution to ease marital pressure. The Fisher & Paykel Integrated French Door Ice & Water Refrigerator is designed to use with intergrated cabinetry, but has a nifty panel door accessory meaning you can have access to water. And there’s a huge bottom freezer with an ice maker that also has a boost function (meaning lots of ice, quickly).

Dining

(rooms) Kitchen
(rooms) Kitchen
(rooms) Kitchen

My dinnerware and serveware is now all in drawers as they fit more and are easier to access. I’ve used Blum Metabox drawers and pull-outs as they’re strong, streamlined and simple to install, with Blum inner drawers to house cutlery. My kids are often yanking out drawers or closing cabinets too hard so I used Clip Top Blumotion hinges that adapt to the dynamics of every door, making sure there’s a soft and smooth close regardless of size, weight or force. This helps to avoid noise and hurt fingers, and the strength of the hinges keeps the cabinetry you’ve invested in streamlined. I also got rid of years of mismatched plastic kids dinnerware and bought practical and pretty enamelware at a bargain price from the Citta Outlet store.

Adulting

(rooms) Kitchen
(rooms) Kitchen
(rooms) Kitchen

One of the joys of my new kitchen is the bar. There are three hungry males to feed in my house, and I felt like my kitchen was just a factory cranking out the same old food. I’ve thrashed our kitchen over the years and it’s served me well, but it wasn’t giving me any pleasure and I was pretty disillusioned with cooking. I’m very passionate about people having their own special spaces in their homes. Running a household is constant work and you deserve to have areas just for you; places that encourage hobbies or activities that YOU love. So I challenged storage in every other area of the kitchen to make sure Steven and I could have our own bar. I absolutely love it because it’s added an adult layer to our lifestyle at home. Tea, coffee, liquor and mixers used to be kept in the pantry but are now in drawers and tall storage underneath the bar, using inner dividers and non-slip mats to ensure bottles don’t tip or rattle. We love having friends over for drinks (Steve has perfected a next-level espresso martini recipe!). We also use it as a smoothie bar with the kids, pulling out the Vitamix from below and creating delicious juices, smoothies and sorbets. It inspires us to experiment more with coffee and tea, trying different variations and flavours. While we could have used our kitchen bench to do this anyway, designing it into a feature has added value emotionally and aesthetically.

Visit Blum.co.nz for more information on their products, and Hewe.co.nz to view their projects. Photography by Helen Bankers.