Over $30,000: Dream kitchen makeover

Kitchens sell houses, but also clear bank accounts. For some, that investment is totally worth it, adding considerable value to a home. For others, a sizable remodel is simply about creating that dream kitchen.

If you’re looking to go big, here are Shelley Ferguson’s dream do-over tips.

The dream do-over

Cost: upwards of $30,000


Custom or kitset


Custom or kitset?

A custom kitchen is professionally designed to perfectly fit your space, needs and desired style. Custom kitchen fit outs are best if you want a bespoke look that’s not available off-the-shelf, have awkward spaces that need maximizing by professionals, or want top quality and high-end impact.

Flat pack kitchens are pre-cut and require DIY assembly. Many retailers now offer a semi-custom service complete with an in store kitchen designer, where modular units are teamed with custom-made ones. Your choice really depends on your budget! 


Play out the layout


Play out the layout

Common kitchen layouts are galley (opposite walls), one-wall (common in small spaces), U-shape (lots of bench space but also more corners) and L-shape (good for accommodating a turn or island).

Your choice will often be determined by the space available or the existing plumbing and wiring, but try to achieve the most efficient workflow between the fridge, oven and sink.

Open plan is great for some, but those that are bothered by kitchen sights, sounds and smells being in open view and earshot will prefer some separation. 



Cabinet talk

Cabinet talk

Just like deciding which dress or handbag to buy, the material you choose for your kitchen cabinetry will likely depend on your budget.

The majority of New Zealand kitchens still feature Melamine – it’s a cost-effective material that’s durable and available in a huge range of colours. Just check yours is the High Moisture Resistant version that won’t swell (chip board, you’ve had your day).

Spray painted lacquer, timber veneer, painted ply and solid timber are other options. If you want my two cents worth, be creative and consider colour! Soft greys, pale greens, dusky blues and American oak are at the top of my lust list.


Benchtop basics


Benchtop basics

White and neutral surfaces are still winning popularity contests – they suit most homes, don’t date and are easy to live with.

If you opt for white, add interest and depth by layering different textures and accessories throughout the kitchen. Other options are laminate, stainless steel, stone, acrylic, concrete and timber – check out the pros and cons of each compared to your budget and lifestyle to narrow the options.

If you can invest in a high-quality benchtop, please do! Surfaces get a hammering, so they need to last. Personally, I love granite and engineered stone – the beautiful tones and textures available can change your entire space.



Go-go gadget

Go-go gadget

If you’re into entertaining, your inner MasterChef will rejoice at the new wave of smart appliances, boasting gourmet cooking features, automation and intuition. There are a daunting amount of designs on the market, so when shopping for appliances, choose designs that honour the foodie lifestyle you live.

I have two boys and a busy house, so I want a fridge with plenty of capacity for big shops, platters of food and leftovers (not that we ever have any). Oh, and throw in a wine fridge too, please.

My husband is obsessed with cold drinks, so his heart is set on a design with an integrated ice maker and water dispenser. These factors instantly narrow down our choices. Consider who uses the kitchen, and write a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves before you shop.  

If you’re getting a custom kitchen, consider integrating appliances into your cabinetry for seamless style. If not, buy appliances from the same range for a uniform look. Before you shop, read up on consumer reviews, have a budget in mind and measure your spaces.



A place for everything

A place for everything

If you find yourself yelling at your pantry, it’s time for some storage therapy. Identify your bugbears and work with your kitchen designer/architect to plan solutions: built-in systems to conceal rubbish, drawers for pesky hard-to-reach goods, storage at joint-friendly levels, and storage ‘zones’ for optimum workflow (e.g. cleaning, cooking, consumable, non-consumable and cooking).

The custom options on offer from companies like Blum have changed kitchen storage from scream to dream – think swing-out corner shelves, multi-tiered drawers, slide-out chopping boards and oh-so-smooth soft-close hardware that’s worth every penny. Storage has never been so sexy.



Light saver


Light saver

For a high-end, designer look, statement pendants lead the way. Available in a dizzying array of designs, materials and finishes, you can choose a product you love to personalize your kitchen. Use one large statement pendant as a focal point, or a row of three over a kitchen island for wow factor.

Task lighting is also a modern kitchen must-have – use LEDs or strip lighting under and above cupboards, and ceiling down lights to ensure your kitchen is practical not just pretty.



Modern farmhouse



Modern Farmhouse

Oak benchtop from Timbertops.nz
Tradco drawer pull from Knobsnknockers.co.nz
Perrin & Rowe Minoan one hole sink mixer with crossheads from In Residence, inres.co.nz
Aga S Series Classic Edition Range Cooker from agaliving.co.nz
Usine pendant in vintage blue from House of Boudi, boudi.co.nz
White apron sink from earlysettler.co.nz
Artisan Marrakesh tile in charcoal from tilewarehouse.co.nz
Herringbone mosaics from tilewarehouse.co.nz
Prime Melamine panels in Transformer from PrimePanels.co.nz

Images: property of Bauer Media

Cheat's kitchen makeover: Under $15,000

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