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When New Zealand–based architect Raimana Jones’s clients told him their Titirangi home would (hopefully) be their forever one, a list of boxes to tick followed—particularly for the 156-square-foot kitchen. They started with the basics, like an open floor plan that allowed them to see into the living room (it was previously closed off by a wall of pea green melamine cabinets from the 1990s) and an extra-long peninsula with room for food prep and seating. Then came some of the more unusual requests: a dedicated area for pasta making, a built-in sliding cutting board, and a hidden compost bin.
Accomplishing the first task required some coordination with an engineer and a steel fabrication company to install l-beams where the old wall used to be. Everyone was initially nervous they wouldn’t fit inside the house, but luckily they came in separate parts so they could be welded on-site. Jones and his business partner at Atelier Jones, Mathilde Polmard, put the new structural components to work by using them as the frame for the peninsula, custom pivot lights by Tom Lopes, and a spice rack. Jones, who has always been fascinated by utilitarian interiors, notes he frequently referenced the Frankfurt kitchen by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky while working on this project. “It was built for the efficiency of tasks in mind, and I appreciate the integration of small elements such as built-in aluminum pouring bins for storing flour and spices,” he says. Here are four hardworking details we never knew we needed in a kitchen until now.
A Suspended Spice Station
Jones’s favorite storage solution is hands down the magnetic spice jars that attach to a wood block above the peninsula (on the other side, the cubby provides open shelving). “I think it is always nice when spices are visible in a kitchen,” he says. “Being exposed to their colors and aromas can give you inspiration.”
Jones and his team tested the height of the box on-site before installing it to ensure it wouldn’t cut off the view of anyone sitting in the adjacent lounge area and also be easy to reach (they landed on 6 feet). The bar below the unit offers the homeowners a spot to hang dried herbs.
A Cutting Board That Moves
One of the later additions to the kitchen was the sliding cutting board that can be moved across the stainless steel surface. The permanent piece was crafted from leftover wood from the butcher block countertop by the sink and, for a seamless look, the designers finished the board with a sloped edge.
A Proper Place for Italian Night
The designated pasta area is located just to the left of the sink. After whipping together the dough on the stainless steel peninsula, the owners can then roll everything over to the wood surface, where an open cavity underneath the counter allows them to securely clamp down a pasta maker.
On the right-hand side of the sink? Trash bins. Although you’d almost never know it. There is a removable lid integrated in the wood countertop that leads to a food compost bucket.
Cupboards That Are Durable and Quiet
The home’s location in the western part of Auckland served as the major inspiration for the cabinetry. Some of the storage is crafted out of oiled, recycled rimu, a wood native to New Zealand that is most commonly used for cutting and cheese boards. “One of the main reasons we chose rimu for this kitchen project is its connection to the region and its ability to match the original flooring of the house,” notes Jones. (It’s also incredibly strong and resistant to rot.) Titirangi’s lush landscape played a role in the powder-coated green steel cabinets. Jones custom-designed everything with soft closing drawers so that slamming never disturbs peaceful pasta-making sessions.