New Zealand’s best kitchen and bathroom celebrated at 2020 NKBA awards

A stunning kitchen inspired by a coastal setting in Tauranga has taken top kitchen honours in the annual National Kitchen and Bathroom Association NZ awards.

The long, galley-style kitchen, designed by Chelsey Mathieson of Vekart, won the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Supreme Kitchen Design Award.

The main bathroom winner at the awards evening on September 18 was a dark and masculine bathroom in an Auckland house. The bathroom, by Christchurch designer Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors, won the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Supreme Bathroom Design Award.


This is the best kitchen in 2020 – winner of the NKBA Supreme Kitchen Design Award. The kitchen, in a beachfront Tauranga home, was designed by Chelsey Mathieson of Vekart, Rotorua.

And the 2020 Designer of the Year was Morgan Cronin of Cronin Kitchens, Auckland, who took out seven awards.

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The designer said the kitchen, in a beachfront home, was designed for a “small family that have a love of entertaining, a strong passion for interior design and a vision for the overall outcome”. The coastal environment inspired the visual warmth and textural elements – the home looks out across the beach, providing a view of toi toi grasses, wood and sea.

“The clients have lived in Sydney and so a strong influence came from interiors and themes often seen in Australian homes,” said Mathieson.


Mathieson’s winning kitchen was inspired by the coastal setting. It features a marble island and splashback.


The judges praised the limited colour palette and openness of the kitchen.

The judges praised the “restricted pallet, coastal vernacular and structured elegance”.

“A clever, aesthetically beautiful and complex kitchen that has been completed to the absolute highest of standards,” the judges said. “The marble shelf and marble detailing running through the cabinetry is both subtle and thoughtful, and a lovely addition. The project is refined simplicity at its best. The space is open and welcoming, the lighting responds beautifully to its environment.”

In total, the kitchen received five awards. In addition to the Supreme Award, it won the the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Kitchen Distinction Award $60k – $80k Award, the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Lighting Design Award and the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Bay of Plenty Chapter Kitchen Recognition Award.

The 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Supreme Kitchen Manufacturer Award went to Vekart for their “extraordinary work on the kitchen fabrication”.


Supreme Bathroom Award winner Angelique Armstrong’s master suite is a large opulent space.

Special features include a large double shower in bespoke gunmetal, glass entrance doors and glass handles from Italy, and the vanity fronts, top and vanity basins fabricated from Neolith Calatorao. The blue stone has a honed leather finish, and was cut and laid into random sizes and lengths.


This dark, masculine bathroom by Christchurch designer Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors won the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Supreme Bathroom Design Award.

The freestanding bath sits on a pedestal floor of Neolith, with a heated pad to keep the stone bath hot.

Judges said it was a “cleverly laid out and detailed bathroom space”.

“The designer has thought about all the little things and the result is a supreme bathroom that wows.”

The judges were impressed with the way the bath is bathed in natural light. They also praised the built-in storage and a nook on the vanity to store and display important bathroom essentials.


The bathroom is bookended by a shower at one end and a freestanding tub at the other.

“A thoughtful and very cool space,” said the judging panel.

The bathroom also won the 2020 NKBA Creative Excellence Bathroom Design Award and the 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Canterbury Chapter Bathroom Recognition Award. And The 2020 Supreme Bathroom Manufacturer Award went to Stone by Design for their work on the same bathroom.


Five out of seven awards, including the First Runner Up – Supreme Kitchen Design Award, were awarded to Morgan Cronin in recognition for his work on a striking, sculptural kitchen where the brief was for the kitchen to look like a piece of art, rather than a kitchen.


The Designer of the Year Award went to Morgan Cronin for this sculptural “art” kitchen, which was cast in glass-reinforced concrete.

The island’s seamless sculptural shape provides the required artistic presence. A prototype of the entire island was built in the Cronin Kitchen workshop from MDF for the client’s approval. Concrete fabricators then built formwork around this prototype to copy its exact dimensions, before casting it in glass-reinforced concrete.

The Judging panel said the unique, sculptural kitchen transformed a standard villa renovation.

“There has been so much thought into this incredible space, for a client whose joy is in entertaining, rather than cooking. The result is a lifestyle kitchen, not the most practical, but one that pushes boundaries and celebrates an out-there concept with its completely customised, bespoke island.”

The judges said they applauded the designer for being bold enough to go all white and minimal. They also praised the “highly skilled execution of an extremely complex and technical project”.


The 2020 NKBA Excellence in Design Award Winners are:

  • Chelsey Mathieson of Vekart (Bay of Plenty)
  • Morgan Cronin of Cronin Kitchens (Auckland)
  • Angelique Armstrong of Armstrong Interiors (Canterbury)
  • Hannah Withy of HM Design (Southern)
  • Nicola Manning of Nicola Manning Design (Auckland)
  • Melanie John of Cube Dentro (Auckland)
  • Natalie Du Bois of Du Bois Designer Kitchens and Interiors (Auckland)
  • Michael Murray of Kitchen Inspirations (Auckland)
  • Damian Hannah of German Kitchens (Wellington)
  • Milvia Hannah of German Kitchens (Wellington)
  • Robert Xia of Aurora Australis Interior (Auckland)
  • Mal Corboy of Mal Corboy Design (Auckland)
  • Trudi Rabbitte of Rabbitte Joinery (Hawke’s Bay)
  • Ingrid Geldof of Ingrid Geldof Design (Canterbury)
  • Annika Rowson of Rowson Kitchens (Taranaki)
  • Brooke Cholmondeley-Smith of TAWA Architecture (Waikato)
  • Gillian Flynn of Kitchen Inspirations (Auckland)
  • Craig Hooper of Cooper Webley (Top of the South)

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