That magic ingredient

Great kitchens don’t just happen – they’re a combination of many factors, but the one essential ingredient is great design.

Richard Cripps, the owner of award-winning kitchen design studio, Kitchens By Design, strongly believes in the need for good design in our lives, particularly in a complex, multifunctional space such as the kitchen, and that the essential component of any successful kitchen is design itself. Design, he says, should be seen as the most important ingredient in any successful kitchen.

“Good design need not be expensive,” says Richard. Indeed, in the long run it can offer considerable savings, he adds. “The cost of the basic materials and products – the appliances, cabinetry, plumbing, benchtops, lighting, etc ­– are exactly the same whether they go into a poorly designed kitchen or a well-designed one, so it makes perfect sense to ensure you engage a good designer from the outset.” And he has testimonials from satisfied customers whose custom-designed kitchens are still serving them well decades later.

Richard strongly believes that good design helps us change the way we think about things. “Great design is not just restricted to what’s on the surface and how it looks. It solves everyday problems,” he says. “At Kitchens By Design, we design drawers to make items easily accessible. We incorporate good lighting design to help you undertake tasks. We use design to shorten the distances to complete tasks. For design to be successful a designer cannot be just artistic in their approach; they must always have a focus on the customer or user of the product.”

In short, good design is a wonderful mix of imagination and pragmatism, specifically tailored to each situation. “Our designers creatively bring great decorative surfaces, hardware and known planning principles together to create not only beautiful one-off kitchens, but deliver unique spaces that help bring friends and families together, fuel a passion for cooking, or just simply enhance entertaining and socialising.”

Kitchens By Design offers the expertise of six designers, four of whom are acknowledged with awards as among the best in New Zealand and Australia. “All our designers are all professionally qualified and regularly attend industry events to keep up to date with the latest in materials, appliances, style and ideas,” says Richard, with some pride. He is also keen to point out that while you may only deal with one designer as your kitchen design concepts are developed, they are not working in isolation. “We are a team, and there is often cross pollination of ideas around a project as the designer works to meet your brief,” he says. “Design is also about relationships. A good designer works on building a relationship to find out what motivates and excites each client. Are you a baker? Do you buy in bulk or shop every day? Do the kids help prepare the meals?”

If you thinking about putting in a new kitchen, give Richard or one of his team a call, or pop into one of their two Auckland-based showrooms at 3 Byron Ave, Takapuna (09) 488 7201 and 7 Melrose St, Newmarket (09) 379 3084. And for inspiration, take a look at their website at

Issue 107 March 2020