Half Moon Bay resident Liz Egan is using knowledge she acquired as a student at the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design, based at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Pakuranga, to help create an apartment, a corporate office, several bathrooms and even furniture.
She was inspired to enrol in the part-time course by a life-long interest in design and interiors.
Liz’s first major project under the tutelage of interior design guru Alaine Ingle was to create a new kitchen for her adult daughter.
“The course, as well as teaching the skills of designing interiors, puts emphasis on the important aim of giving students confidence,” she says.
“I’ve learned to trust my instincts more now that I have knowledge. My tastes have been refined and become more discriminating.”
During her second year of study at Te Tuhi, Liz was given an assignment to design a kitchen, or redesign a new one.
Her daughter, who lives in Sandringham, central Auckland, had recently purchased an old house in need of attention.
There were aspects of charm about the interior, but the kitchen was dark to work in, not to mention tired and dated.
Liz’s daughter was desperate for a new space in which to work, so her mother decided to test out her new skills.
The decision was made to eliminate a wall and fill some of the space with a beam.That opened up the kitchen to more light and exposed the house’s stained glass windows.
She describes the style she maintained as a “contemporary take on traditional design conventions”.
“Designing within the compact footprint of the kitchen, I wanted to incorporate some of the traditional elements of the home,” Liz says.
“That included retaining the leaded light windows, using framed doors and drawer fronts, and introducing warmth using native New Zealand Rimu timber on the bench top.
“It complements other native timbers in the garden and the timber flooring throughout the house.”
The inspired designer used a neutral colour scheme in the project with white featuring on the walls and cabinetry, black granite and natural timber bench tops, white glazed tiles on the splashback and stainless steel appliances.
“By removing a wall between the kitchen and dining area, my daughter now gets to look out on her beautiful garden and enjoy the original coloured stained glass window featured in the dining area,” she says.
The project turned out to be a larger and more involved task than Liz first realised, as it required having to measure the room accurately and drawing up the plan to scale.
She also had to select what surface materials to use.
As part of the interior design course, the students visited a number of kitchen manufacturers, bench top fabricators, and kitchen hardware specialists.
Liz says she found the process “invaluable” in helping her get a grasp on the technical aspects of putting a kitchen together. Designing the new kitchen has given her the confidence needed to deal with tradespeople of all stripes.
She’s furnished a Wellington apartment, designed an office for a company’s chief executive and finished two bathroom fit-outs.