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Three designers completely transform an open-plan kitchen and living space, three different ways

08 Jul 2020

Previously, interior designer Kelly Gammie’s home was dark and moody. Her open plan kitchen heroed cabinetry painted in Resene Milk White, Resene Eighth Friar Grey and Resene Double Cod Grey. The living and dining area were a complex and elegant mix of dark colours, like Resene Double Cod Grey on the fireplace and a hand-painted effect with custom paint colours on rich grasscloth wallpaper from the Resene Wallpaper Collection.

But now, the home has been completely transformed by Kelly once again – this time for new owners. Once dark and sophisticated, it’s now bright and fresh. The kitchen, the cabinetry has been re-painted with Resene Quarter Friar Grey with handles in Resene Double Cod Grey and Resene Alabaster on the ceiling. In the living room, it’s again gone lighter and brighter but has still managed to retain its drama and elegance. The fireplace is now Resene Double Concrete and the display cabinet behind is Resene Blackjack. Pattern and contrast are brought in through the furnishings, which are graphic black and white with touches of grey and brass.

But what if it were given another look entirely? We asked some other designers to take the main living space for a spin in their own direction.

A pink and green dream:

Resene colour specialist Brooke Calvert has come up with an alternative design for this open-plan space. She’s opted to strip back the panelling details for a more clean and simple finish and utilised off-whites and pale wood with splashes of pink and green to create a relaxed, yet sophisticated space.

“I wanted this open plan living, dining and kitchen space to feel relaxing and a place where you could feel at home. The linen sofas, luxurious sheepskin elements and natural timbers have been used to soften the space and create a feeling of calm. Pops of brass have been brought in through the tapware and floor lamp to add a touch of glam. The beautiful coral pink on the far back wall in Resene Just Dance is echoed through the soapstone table piece and kitchen accessories, while the fresh and warm white walls in Resene Quarter Rice Cake work to enhance the timber tones throughout the space, including the floor finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Sage green tiles on the splashback draw your eye in, which then moves to the bench seat, bringing a little extra drama – which is what it’s all about!”


Brooke kept the main elements of the open plan kitchen, dining and living area neutral but incorporated on trend terracotta, sage and blush through the back accent wall in Resene Just Dance, the splashback and other small accessories. The rest of the walls and trims are in Resene Quarter Rice Cake, the ceiling is in Resene Eighth Rice Cake and the timber flooring is finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Dining table and chairs from Me & My Trend, sofas from St. Clement, shelving from Bob & Friends, sheepskin (on chair) from Wilson & Dorset, sheepskin cushions from Bohème Home, pendant lamp from The Workroom Wanaka, floor lamp from MENU and salt and pepper grinders and soapstone dish from Paper Plane.

Top tip: See the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection for a range of easy to live with hues in varying strengths – including plenty of stylish character neutrals.

Modern comfort meets casual contrast:

Designers Georgia Brian and Shayden Whipps of Moochstyle suggest a modern, beachy theme with plenty of texture and dark contrast for a perfectly balanced boho-contemporary look.

“We wanted to create a space that emulated modern comfort, so we started with the colour scheme. Resene Quarter White Pointer on the walls and ceiling set the spirit, and we dressed it up by adding a mixture of natural wood tones to the room, including the sofa and timber table. The gallery wall invites a pop of subtle colour and adds a feature to what could have been a forgotten wall. The kitchen is both contemporary and eclectic with its ceiling-mounted exposed shelving. Resene Triple Dune on the lower cabinets is bold but contrasts nicely. The timber flooring stained in Resene Colorwood Uluru is a nod to a boho aesthetic in combination with the soft furnishings and sculptural pendant lamps.”


Georgia and Shayden’s light and bright space shows how pared down furnishings can add further openness while mixing a variety of shapes and adding in darker colours creates interest through contrast. Gallery wall in Resene Eighth Akaroa, other walls and ceiling in Resene Quarter White Pointer, floor in Resene Colorwood Uluru, lower cabinets in Resene Triple Dune. Sofa, vases and basket from Freedom Furniture, dining table from Loft, dining chairs from Hello Dear Interiors, wall hanging from Flux Boutique and pendant lamps from ECC.

Top tip: Resene wood stains and urethanes help to enhance the beauty of timber flooring while protecting your investment. Inside, use Resene Colorwood to rejuvenate the colour in your wooden flooring, walls, ceilings and furnishings. Outside, use Resene Woodsman to enhance, rejuvenate and protect timber.

image John Mailey

illustrations Malcom White