Spirit island

The act of cooking is one full of habits and ceremonies. This South Island kitchen takes the ritual of preparing gin-based drinks for visiting friends as one of its main design cues.

drinks and glasses cabinet
Bespoke and rather dramatic cabinet made specifically to hold the owner’s gin collection.

It is theatrically lit from above and is generous with its task lighting, way-finding is assisted through shin-high LEDs, and lumens are even used to frame certain parts of the cabinetry to “create a floating look onto the textured bulkhead,” according to its lead designer, Wanaka’s Melanie Craig.

There is a hero cabinet specifically designed for the owner’s spirits, and created in such a way that has practicality in mind as much as entertainment. “Large black-steel framed doors complete with a punched-clover mesh pocket back reveal [a] brass-clad interior, which celebrates the client’s gin collection,” says Melanie. “When the doors are closed, it creates a clean finish featuring the perforated steel with brass detailing shadowing behind”.

A view of the kitchen
The cylindrical geometry and brass materiality of the island leg is replicated in the Buster + Punch cabinetry handles.

Add to this solid brass handles by Buster + Punch — the London-based homeware company that describes itself as “home fashions” — and you have a recipe for ‘fab’ with a real sense of catwalk oomph and flair. There are also other more structural elements that add to this sense of luxe: “A large brass column works its way from floor, stamping through the [Corian] benchtop, creating a feature to sit around,” says Melanie.

A well-appointed scullery and loads of moody darks continue this theme of theatre and ceremony. Sure, this kitchen is opulent, perhaps in a way that many might find a tad in-your-face, but it is that same assertiveness that gives it a sense of boldness and individualism that works well here.

Project: Buck Kitchen
Design: Melanie Craig
Location: Wanaka
Photography: Jamie Cobel

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