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April 13th, 2017
Beachside House by German Kitchens

A kitchen for a couple in the food business, who love cooking and entertaining. That’s the sort of open brief that Damian Hannah of German Kitchens can really get stuck into.


The multi-award-winning designer was called in by the New Plymouth clients to detail the generous kitchen space in their complete renovation of a 1980s beach-side home. The brief then morphed, Hannah designing the entertainment and fireplace for the adjoining living room, before overhauling the bathroom and master bedroom closet.

“The architect had retained the footprint of the old house, but moved the kitchen and living upstairs into what was bedroom and bathroom, with walls of glass to the view,” he explains. “The owners wanted everything gloss, the house is open and light and bright, so we also wanted to bring in the sandy beach colours. The floor tile starts at the front door and goes right through, it’s like the beach starting as you enter the house.”

First up was persuading the sociable pair that a seperate scullery or butlers’ pantry would defeat their entertaining style. Hannah points out that as more and more of the messy prep gets banished to a secondary room off the kitchen, the poor cook is left stuck out the back, with no views, no conversation, a reversion to isolated kitchens of the sixties. Instead, he pulled everything out into the open, using a clever wall of storage to fit the two wide ovens, two 900cm fridges and a slew of cunning pantry and appliance fixtures.

The coffee machine is on display, and only a microwave and the dumb waiter to haul groceries from the garage below are tucked out of sight. Two dishwashers are integrated under the sink, where cooking and clean-up share those beach views.



Tom Dixon pendants sit above the kitchen island bench.

The couple now love their kitchen so much that they’ve moved the computer into the sunny corner of the breakfast bar, so that they can check emails, bring up recipes and not miss the sociable buzz. Hannah specified German Alno kitchens, which come with custom interior drawers and fittings, making space for every baking pan, bulk groceries and dishware. The end of the storage run houses a bar area, with cupboards for glassware and bottles (one of the fridges is dedicated to booze, alleviating the need for a wine fridge).

Hannah’s expertise is evident in the custom details: the black glass cabinetry is framed with aluminium and recessed handles; frosted glass cabinets above the cooktop hide an integrated extractor; the granite slabs on the counter were hand-picked for the earthy warm tones they added to the glossy cabinets.

Lighting is eye-catching where it needs to feature – an array of Tom Dixon black and brass Beat pendants over the breakfast bar – and cleverly subtle elsewhere – bands of LED task lighting along the ceiling, hidden under cabinets and glass shelves.


His design for the entertainment unit is equally considered. He switched materials to a more cosy dark oak, meticulously detailing spaces for the client’s prized speakers, the flat screen television and sound system. The 1500 wide Escea gas fireplace gave him the long, low proportions he wanted to balance the electronics.

“It’s a nice even linear heat, it spreads the warmth to everyone sitting in front of it,” he says. “This room gets the setting sun, so this is where people congregate in the glow of the fire. I’m a fire sign, so the fire must have a good solid base, a really decent hearth. That matched granite, with its quartz graining glows, it’s the detailed and beautiful, just right for the solid tradition of a fire.”


An Escea DX1500 multiroom gas fireplace with black coal fuel bed sits seamlessly within the dark oak cabinetry.

The mix of earthy and gloss continues in the master bathroom, where again Hannah’s attention to detail includes a glass-fronted cupboard inside the shower to hide messy toiletries, custom heated glass towel rails and more of the sandy palette, this time with long brick wall tiles and mosaics in the shower. 


Sky lights flood the bathroom with light, provide bathers with unexpected sky views.


The walk-in closet includes a makeup counter lit by more LED, plenty of mirrors and some show-off racks for the owner’s shoe collection. Cunning pull-down upper rails and sturdy structural support means that the closet can take a lot of weight.

“The house has direct beach access, everything was about the views,” says Hannah.

All images by Damian Hannah from germankitchens.co.nz 

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