Kitchen of the Week: Former barrister chambers becomes apartment with award-winning black kitchen

This black kitchen, designed by Nicola Manning of Auckland, won the Outstanding Renovation Kitchen award in this year's NKBA national awards.

MARK SCOWEN

This black kitchen, designed by Nicola Manning of Auckland, won the Outstanding Renovation Kitchen award in this year’s NKBA national awards.

It’s hard to believe this kitchen is in an apartment that was previously a commercial office space.

Kitchen designer Nicola Manning of Nicola Manning Design says the space was the client’s inner-city barrister chambers for 20 years: “As he was approaching retirement, he and his wife decided to convert the ‘office space’ into an apartment that would have a New York loft feel.”

The kitchen Manning designed has just won the Outstanding Kitchen Renovation award in the national NKBA awards, with the judges calling it “an inspired transformation”.

Kitchen designer Nicola Manning.

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Kitchen designer Nicola Manning.

Manning says the client’s brief was to transform the staff lunchroom and storage space into the kitchen, which was to be the heart of the new apartment. “It needed to have a slight industrial edge.”

Not surprisingly, there were several challenges with the conversion, including the fact that the kitchen space is triangular with tight corners. And services to the floors above ran through the main “back wall” of the kitchen, which limited the depth of the cabinetry that could be placed there.

To gain more space, a wall was removed to open up the kitchen to the central hallway through the apartment.

“The steel window joinery throughout the apartment was an inspiration for the predominantly black colour palette,” Manning says. “This contrasts beautifully with the light oak herringbone floors.

The triangular island is the central feature of the kitchen, echoing the shape of the space. “I created vertical steel fins at each end to complete the triangular lines without making the ends too solid, and to provide texture,” Manning says.

A deep steel clashing around the benchtop helps to anchor the island in the open space, and defines the boundary of the kitchen.

Removing the wall between the former office kitchen and main hallway has opened up the space to create a gathering space for the family.

MARK SCOWEN

Removing the wall between the former office kitchen and main hallway has opened up the space to create a gathering space for the family.

The island features an industrial Dekton Trillion benchtop that adds texture and warmth. Rounding off the corners of the island for safety reasons also helps to soften the look.

The sink and Miele cooktop are positioned on the main benchtop that runs beneath the window. “The benchtop is a bead-blasted stainless steel with a shark nose edge that creates a floating effect and provides a strong contrast with the solid steel-clashed island.

Manning chose textured tiles with a “butterflied treatment” for the wall above the main bench.

To achieve the required tall storage to house the ovens, fridge and pantry, a compromise had to be made with the position of the fridge.

Manning says the only position that worked for the fridge was at the right-hand end of the tall wall area. However, the central area of this ‘back wall’ was very shallow due to the services housed behind.

To utilise this space the designer created large shallow cupboards and used a sliding door

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