The kitchen is the heart of the home, as the saying goes. So it makes sense that kitchens are a major focus of any renovation or new build.

This was the case for clients of Michelle McAnulty of Whakatāne, who asked her to design a kitchen that would work when they had hoardes of family around, and also when it was just the two of them.

McAnulty, of Beaver Kitchens, has won two awards at the 2019 NKBA Excellence in Design Awards held in Melbourne last night.

Michelle McAnulty. Photo / Supplied
Michelle McAnulty. Photo / Supplied

This year, 19 kitchens and bathrooms created by 15 designers in the country were recognised.

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McAnulty won the 2019 Kitchen Distinction - $40k-$60k Award and the Bay of Plenty Chapter Kitchen Recognition Award.

McAnulty's award-winning kitchen was part of a major renovation and extension to a coastal property.

The clients wanted the kitchen and the deck to be the focal point of their renovations. The brief was for a relaxed, social and casual space.

In the summer, the home would be full to the brim with family and friends visiting and so the clients wanted a space that would accommodate their love of entertaining, but one that would also work when it was just the two of them.

Michelle McAnulty's winning kitchen design - the scullery. Photo / Supplied
Michelle McAnulty's winning kitchen design - the scullery. Photo / Supplied

The kitchen design includes a scullery for food preparation and storage of food items. Vibrant green tiles in the scullery reference the client's collection of Tony Sly pottery – in particular the potter's rustic green range.

Judges said the timeless black and white design was balanced and striking.

"The island is a really special element, with the waterfall edging unlike any finishing the judges have seen before. Many details in this kitchen are compelling, the fridge looks great, as does the open shelving."

Michelle McAnulty's winning kitchen design. Photo / Supplied
Michelle McAnulty's winning kitchen design. Photo / Supplied

National Kitchen and Bathroom Association president Jared Dinneen praised McAnulty for bringing something to the table that the judges hadn't seen before.

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"It is a difficult task to be innovative. You really have to think differently. To present a kitchen with an island element that the judges haven't seen before is very special. Well done to Michelle."

The NKBA is the only professional body for kitchen and bathroom design professionals in New Zealand.

The NKBA Excellence in Design Awards are a celebration of excellence, innovation, creativity, quality craftmanship and inspiring design in the sector.