Kitchen of the Week: Alice and Caleb go for black

Former winners of The Block NZ, Alice and Caleb Pearson, have subsequently made a living renovating and selling houses.

And their last project, a quaint villa in Richmond, Nelson, was a beauty. All the more so, because of their dramatic black kitchen.

Alice Pearson says when they purchased their “Diamond in Richmond” home, the kitchen was their least favourite space in the house.

“The kitchen was a lean-to extension on the back of a gorgeous 100-year-old villa,” she says. “The dining space was another lean-to that had a very impractical layout - a big step separated the dining area from the kitchen, and in the middle of the room was an unconsented woodburner with a hotwater cupboard behind, and a beam that didn’t stretch as far as it should.”

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Pearson says they knew they would have to be “really, really creative”.

“Using a Bunnings’ DIY Kaboodle kitchen gave us the opportunity to design and install the kitchen ourselves. We used their online 3-D design kitchen planner to plan out our space, and we probably devoted two full weeks to the design and planning process, being very intentional about storage, look and layout.”

The couple chose a panel door style for the cabinetry, so it would be in keeping with the villa character, while still creating a contemporary kitchen.

Tongue-and-groove features, plus the Alpine profile and little mushroom handles on the cabinet doors give the kitchen a Shaker-style look. However, teaming black cabinets with black appliances have kept it modern.

Kitchen of the Week: Alice and Caleb go for black

“Having a black kitchen has always been on my reno wish-list,” Pearson says. “This room was large and bright enough to do it. While we didn’t integrate any appliances, the selection of a black dishwasher and oven give a seamless look.

The couple also specified a black granite sink and black chrome mixer. They teamed the black with white (Resene Quarter Alabaster) walls, white tiles and shutters. Bamboo elements, including the benchtops, add warmth – Pearson says hard wax oil makes the bamboo bench water resistant. A light-hued laminate vinyl features on the floor.

“My favourite design element of the kitchen is how we created a dining booth off the back of the base cabinetry along the top of the step leading down to the dining room,” says Pearson. “The back of that cabinetry then became the vertical part of the long seat in the booth.

“There is tongue-and-groove detailing on the MDF panel for the back of the booth – an affordable and easily achievable option.”

Cut-offs from the bamboo bench were used to make kitchen shelves, and a small tabletop next to the bench seat.

“Once the dining room was complete - the thing that struck us most was how large and open the space felt, says Pearson. “Designing this kitchen was about creating a social space, and we certainly experienced that, easily hosting friends and having plenty of space for people to sit.

“The TV and bench seat on the back wall created a second living space too. I also enjoyed the pantry and fridge being slightly removed from the main kitchen - meaning the husband looking for snacks or cold drinks didn’t get in my space when I was cooking.

“How a kitchen looks is important, but how you want to cook, eat and host is even more important to creating a kitchen you will love.”

The total cost of the kitchen was $35,000.

The Pearsons sold the villa a year ago and are now working on a project in Auckland.