While kitchens used to be simply a workplace, albeit also the ‘heart of the home’, they were traditionally built purely for functionality. Now, kitchens have evolved from being places of work to works of art.

That’s due to multiple factors, but as kitchen expert Carl Riley of Wackrows says, the prolific use of the internet means people are able to access a lot more design inspiration quickly and easily than they used to and they’re wanting to recreate what they see in their own homes. “Combined with that, materials aren’t increasing in price. The cost of stone in particular has not changed in a long time, and in some cases has decreased simply because more people are bringing it into the country and with volume comes cost efficiency.”

Wackrows specialises in timber cabinetry, joinery and renovations, and has a history of building award-winning kitchens. From Carl’s point of view, there are a few clear directions residential kitchen design is heading and that’s towards bespoke kitchenware and cabinetry and away from parallel and traditional right angles.

“We’re seeing a move towards irregularity with curvature, obtuse and acute angles. Solid timber panelling is popular at the moment, as are multiple designer finishes integrating handles, and one-off bespoke pieces.”

The plethora of choices available in kitchenware and detailing is also allowing more design freedom and bespoke or individualised solutions. Wackrows uses Blum hardware primarily and even choosing drawers there is a large range to consider. “Then there’s all the other options, metal, glass or a timber drawer side, colour choices and everything that goes along with 

choices and everything that goes along with that, which is allowing people to be more creative with what they’re aiming to achieve in their homes and at a lower price point than has previously been possible.”

Handleless drawer and door systems are being specified more with touch-to-open capabilities. “In many of the projects we’re involved in – and that’s everything from a basic renovation to high-end new kitchens and renovations – entertainment is also a key element of the design,” Riley says.

Built-in bars are common, as well as whiskey nooks and different seating areas allowing for more intimate spaces as well as incorporating larger groups. An overall move away from open plan living to broken plan spaces is evident throughout the home, and is part of the development of separate nooks and spaces for relaxing alone or conversing within kitchen areas.

“Indoor-outdoor flow has developed as well, and we’re building kitchens that essentially open up to incorporate the outdoors within their footprints. With the ability to use joinery that completely opens up and disappears this is more easily achievable that it has ever been before, and it’s an aspect of design that our customers love,” Riley says.

Wackrows has been working in the timber joinery sector for decades, with more than 80 years’ combined experience in the field in the management team, and a highly experienced staff on the floor as well.

The company recently won the 2016 Master Joiners Association Kitchen of the Year Award for an eco-friendly build in Auckland’s Herne Bay incorporating floor-to-ceiling timber, a honed Carrara marble benchtop with mitred waterfall legs, bespoke totara drawers and bi-folding handleless timber pocket doors. The space is tied together by the Carrara marble splashback, and clean fresh finish of Osmo oil on all timber surfaces. “While this was a high-end project, it’s representative of what we are seeing more and more of across the market in terms of bespoke designs, from the lower budget projects right through to the top end,” Riley says.

Wackrows is based in Cambridge and predominantly operates throughout the North Island. Get in touch with Wackrows for your kitchen or timber joinery project. Visit them on ArchiPro here.