It's a cliche to say the kitchen is the heart of the home. But in Joanna Hoeft's case kitchens are especially important not just at home, but also as the focus of her working life.
"Because I work in kitchen design I had to have a kitchen that was the best it could be for the size of the space available," explains Joanna, kitchen designer and co-owner of Studio Italia.
So the Varenna Poliform kitchen and scullery in her Arch Hill home is a fine and stylish affair, outfitted in walnut-finish cabinetry with integrated Miele and Liebherr appliances.
Joanna and her husband Nick O'Sullivan bought this property in 2006. The workingman's cottage, circa 1890s/1900s, was in need of some TLC and the couple saw the opportunity to stamp their mark on the site, renovating and extending it to make the most of the sunny north side of the section.
Plus they are close to Kingsland's and Ponsonby's cafes, Eden Park and only seven minutes' commute from their workplaces in the CBD and Newmarket.
They lived in the cottage for two years before Joanna came up with a concept for Dominic Glamuzina and Aaron Paterson of Glamuzina Paterson Architects to finalise.
"We took two years to get to know the site, where the light was best, where the sun was," says Joanna.
They moved out for six months while the cottage at the front of the section was renovated and the extension was built on the back of the land. A glass bridge denotes the join between old and new, where the original wooden flooring ends and the polished concrete floor with underfloor heating of the new build begins.
The brief they gave the architects was for a warm home with lots of natural light and indoor/outdoor flow. "With Dominic's flair and Aaron's experience, it all came together the way we wanted," says Nick.
All main living is away from the roadside, with the northern wall dominated by large stacking doors that slide along the exterior's cedar cladding, opening to the Vitex deck.
While the couple wanted a clear definition between old and the new, they also asked for the exposed beams in the living area's ceiling to give a sense of continuity throughout the home.
Coming in from Bond St, past the off-street parking for two cars, you have the entrance area. Here you have the choice of going forward to the public area (the kitchen, dining and lounge) or going private (veering right to the bedrooms and bathrooms). There are two bedrooms on the ground level, plus bathroom, and then the well-trodden century-old stairs leading up to the master bedroom.
This upstairs space was modified to make one large bedroom with en suite and wardrobe on the street side so a sliding door can shut off the busy-ness out the front.
Back at ground level and over the glass bridge is the open-plan living/dining/kitchen and the sliding doors to the deck and garden.
A baby due in September means Joanna and Nick are selling to move on to their next project. Says Nick: "I don't want to move but it will be great having the patter of little feet around. The idea is to have two in quick succession and for that we want more bedrooms."
The couple imagine their home will appeal to someone who enjoys inner-city living.