our Kitchen Design

Part 2 of kitchen design ideas “From Concept to Completion”. The series of articles from the Style Plus design team will look at key aspects of kitchen design and the types of kitchen renovations that Style Plus undertake.


Kitchen Design

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. We want them to be useful, have all the latest gadgets and conveniences, to offer a place to meet as a family and to reflect the style of our homes.

In this article we will be covering off areas of a kitchen renovation that includes:

• Kitchen cabinetry & styles.

• Kitchen benchtops & styles.

• Waterproofing.

Kitchen Cabinetry & Styles

When deciding on a new kitchen or renovating your kitchen, you need to choose the style early on. There are many different design styles available, however, they broadly fall into three groups;

• Modern.

• Traditional.

• Shaker.

modern kitchen design

Modern Style

The design aspects behind a modern kitchen are to keep things simple, uncluttered and sleek. This type of design works great for large kitchens but it also works well for small kitchens as the basic ideas behind modern kitchens overlap the principles behind a small kitchen. Whatever space you are working with you can renovate your kitchen into a modern masterpiece.

The appearance of your cabinets has a lot to do with the overall design of your kitchen. Cabinets with heaps of detailing, fancy hardware, and standout features are not modern. For modern cabinetry you require functional, sleek, and plain cabinet faces. High-shine white cabinets that blend almost seamlessly into the walls are going to give you the modern look you are seeking. However, that doesn’t mean you have to stick with white. Modern kitchen cabinetry comes in a variety of colours. Saying that, regardless of colour, the more seamless your cabinets appear, then you will achieve a modern kitchen design.

Traditional Style

There's much more to traditional design than meets the eye. This type of design does allow for flexibility, however, from first principles it often relies on simple design while making way for a few bold accents.

Traditional kitchens typically incorporate painted cabinets with or without glass front doors, simple granite or laminate countertops, and hardwood floors. The best traditional kitchens lean on classic elements, while still allowing room for family fun or guest entertainment. Go a step further by mixing in modern or industrial elements, like unique lighting fixtures or boldly painted walls.

Kitchen Benchtops Types & Styles

Once your kitchen layout and style has been decided, it is then time to choose a suitable benchtop to complement your selection. When it comes to selecting a benchtop there is quite a selection to choose from. With the various materials available it can become difficult to understand it all. So, the first step is to think about your lifestyle and likely use of the kitchen when considering what benchtop is likely to work best for you. For example, one that fits in with the style and design, but more importantly one that's functional, suitable for your purposes and which makes preparation in the kitchen easy.

Benchtops Selections

There are many material types available to the New Zealnd market. The Style Plus Team reviews the following:

• Natural Stone.

• Engineered Stone.

• Stainless Steel.

• Polished Concrete.

Natural Stone

When it comes to stone countertops granite and marble are two popular options. Quartz is another popular stone for countertops, as it is very strong, and relatively scratch resistant.

Granite is one of the hardest materials available for use as a kitchen bench top. It provides durability and character to kitchen surfaces and is traditionally black in colour. It is often found in more classic designed kitchens.

Marble is a stunning addition to any space but the downside is that it needs extra care and maintenance in a kitchen environment. As a stone it is softer and more porous, and has a tendency to stain, scratch and even crack. However, with regular maintenance and sealing, staining can be minimised but may still occur.

Engineered Stone

Engineered Stone also known as Composite Stone or Quartz Stone has become the materials of choice over the last few years.

The product is a mixture of chipped-up quartz stone and occasionally granite and or glass, mixed with resins to form a combination that is moisture resistant and extremely tough. The product is available in slab form and varies in thickness from approximately 6mm ~ 30mm. Thinner products are typically built up with a timber base to a finished thickness from 40mm ~ 60mm.

There are a number of different brands of engineered stone, all of which have their sets of available colour ranges:

• Iquartz.

• Caesarstone.

• Silestone.

• Roxx.

Engineered stone is highly abrasion resistant, very stain resistant, however on the downside, it is not as heatproof as most natural granites.

When looking for an engineered stone worktop, you should look for a stone content of no less then 90% as the more resin content used makes for a bench top that is too soft and less durable.

Engineered stone is typically found in more contemporary styled designed kitchens.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel kitchen tops are resistant to water, heat, stains and just about any other nasty. This product has a non-porous surface, which means that no type of liquid or substances can penetrate into the material. They are sometimes described as bullet proof by chefs. Used in the right environment and the right design, they can create a stylish finish..

Stainless is sometimes eliminated as a kitchen top choice because it is reflective and tends to show scratches. As renovations have become more open plan, meaning clients are looking for better finished surfaces, larger windows, and more commonly request that kitchens be moved from the south facing side to the sunny living area makes a stainless steel finish becomes problematic.

Also once they are scratched (naturally occurring once they get used) they tend not to look so good in open plan living spaces.

Over the years the cost of Stainless Steel has increased making them less cost effective except in commercial premises.

kitchen stainless steel counter tops

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is gaining popularity for kitchen benchtops. It can be made and finished in many different ways, both to mimic classic stone-style granite and marble benches or in a way to display the concrete itself.

The sealer is part of the concrete and this, combined with the highly polished surface, provides a heat resistant finish that will not peel or discolour in UV light. Stain resistance is achieved from the sealer in the concrete, the highly polished surface and an application of stone polish after manufacture. All of this combined provides a stain resistant benchtop.

Benchtop Option Summary

Natural Stone
  • Good heat and impact resistance.
  • A natural product
  • Some colours are expensive and can differ from the samples.
  • Light colours can show stains if not regularly resealed.
  • Can be quite costly to make look thicker.
  • Some people find the surface too hard to work on.
  • There is a lead-time between cabinet and bench installation.
Engineered Stone
  • Thicker tops can be relatively inexpensively made compared to granite.
  • Good colour selection.
  • Good heat and impact resistance.
  • Darker colours can look flat when compared with granites.
  • There is a lead-time between cabinet and bench installation.
  • Compared to granite and Stainless Steel, the product is slightly less heat and impact resistance.
Stainless Steel
  • Great impact and heat resistant.
  • Available in a range of different finishes.
  • Can be reasonably priced if used in straight runs.
  • Stainless is fairly soft, scratches easily the scratches will remain visible. They can be removed by professionals.
  • Is highly reflective and unsuitable in kitchens with considerable light that face north.
  • If site joins (welds) are required, it can become an expensive alternative.
  • Expect a time delay between cabinet and bench installation.
Polished Concrete
  • Can provide an industrial type of style.
  • Can be coloured to suit clients taste.
  • Reasonable heat and impact resistance
  • Price varies in comparison to a stone top.
  • Can be expensive compared to low cost granites.
  • Chips easily.
  • Can develop small cracks that are cosmetic rather than structural.
  • Can stain if not resealed on a regular basis.
kitchen waterproofing

Waterproofing for a kitchen renovation

Water escaping from a shower and from around a basin, sink or the like can remain unnoticed for long periods and cause serious damage.

Considering the risk of water damage, there are two types of areas:

• Those subject to frequent and heavy wetting, such as showers and open shower surrounds, and splash areas around baths and basins.

• Those subject to regular intermittent wetting, such as floors in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries and the walls behind baths, basins and tubs. Tiled entries also fall into this category when people enter the house during heavy rain.

Current building standard guidelines provide the requirements for timber and wood-based products for particular uses in building, calls up floor coverings to wet areas such as laundries, bathrooms, kitchens, shower rooms, ensuites and toilets are also covered in the guidelines.

The New Zealand Building Code clause E3 deals with Internal Moisture. Acceptable Solution E3/AS1 only refers to “water splash” not wet areas and there is no definition of water splash in the Building Code although it does have one for wet area, which includes bathrooms and the like including areas within a building supplied with a water supply i.e. kitchen.

• A dictionary definition of splash reads “to cause (liquid) to fall or (of liquid) to be scattered in drops.

Preventing damage from splashing

So, for a kitchen area the building code requires impervious and easily cleaned finishes to floors and walls subject to water splash. This will prevent damage from splashing.

At Style Plus we will offer the option to use our waterproofing service during a kitchen renovation. Waterproofing behind the kitchen splash back, kitchen cabinetry floor area and behind the kitchen cabinetry would seem to be overkill. However, once completed, there is a piece of mind that this area has some protection from water.

You should always check with a building professional such as Style Plus, and seek their advice before deciding whether building work is exempt. The Building Act is quite clear that it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that they obtain a building consent when one is required.

If you are considering renovating your bathroom and would like to discuss your requirments with our bathroom designer, use the "Request More Information" tab on this page. We will then get in touch with you to discuss your project. Alternatively, use the "Contact Us" button on this page.

Whilst all information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and Style Plus is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.

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