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A Blend of Style & Function: Insights from Hostess Kitchens Designer Taya Stockdale

Welcome to our Designer Spotlight feature. This month, we're focusing on the skilled team at Hostess Kitchens and their lead kitchen designer, Taya Stockdale. Taya brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, crafting spaces that are both beautiful and functional. Join us as she discusses her approach to kitchen design and shares insights that could help shape your next project.

Can you tell us about your personal journey into kitchen design, from where you started to now?

I've always been interested in architecture and the building industry. Even from a young age, I would spend a lot of my time sketching houses and interior spaces. While studying, I found I gravitated towards kitchen design more than the others. I think this is because it has both creative and technical aspects, which I find engaging and challenging.

After working as a kitchen designer for several years, I still find that there is always something new to learn, and you never know what you'll get when a new client walks through the door. There is something so gratifying about a challenging space that you work through with your clients to achieve their perfect space.

What inspired you to focus on kitchen design?

The kitchen is such a central part of a home. It involves so many different elements you can never get bored of designing them. Each kitchen typically requires an in-depth process with clients to develop a design, resulting in a space that becomes as unique as the people who use it.

The technical side of design has also been of interest to me, but I also greatly enjoy the constant variety and challenges that come specifically with kitchen design. This inspired me to pursue a career in this field and develop my knowledge by studying further in the field.

Can you tell me about Hostess Kitchens?

We work with a wide range of clients; from private clients who are renovating, builders, architects, and large commercial fitouts for construction companies. Our team are confident to find a joinery solution fit for any style, space and budget.

Do you see trends coming through into kitchen design, and if so, what is popular right now?

Kitchens are a key area where you can see design trends coming through, and it can be interesting to look back and see what has been done and what comes back around.

We have been in a more naturally based trend for a while now, but until recently it had been very gentle tones and colours. Currently, we are seeing an increase in bolder, deeper natural colours and a return of contrast colour schemes.

There are always exceptions to trends, however, so each client receives a tailored experience to suit their individual needs.

Where do you see kitchen design and kitchen flooring heading in the next few years?

The combination of kitchen design and flooring is important to get right. With the increasing selection of materials in both kitchen cabinetry and flooring, it makes it easier for clients to combine the two to complement each other. As there become more options available, I suspect clients with a design focus will look to make bold choices with contrast between the two materials.

How do you balance functionality and style while catering to clients' needs?

It is all about balance. Finding the sweet spot that caters to individual client needs but also their wants in design. Functionality is so important when designing a kitchen, we would not feel like we successfully did our job if we didn't focus on making sure our clients had a functioning kitchen.

It is a balancing act, but style is something that comes through the colour choices, appliances, and special features that don't need to affect the function of your space.

What advice would you give homeowners starting their journey into upgrading their kitchen? 

Take the time to think about the space you currently have and what does and doesn't work for you. Starting this process is the perfect time to address what may be manageable but could be more functional and better suited to suit your individual needs. It can be an overwhelming process but also a very enjoyable one when looking into all the options and possibilities to make your space truly you own!

Could you walk us through your typical design process when planning a new kitchen for a client?

It all starts with compiling a brief with our clients. This is something we work on together to find out what their needs and wants are, as well as any inspiration the clients may already have. 

We then look at the space together and discuss how the functionality of the space would suit them best, including how the working triangle would work within that individual space. Once the functionality of the space has been considered, we go through the aesthetics and materials that will bring the space to life.

How do you involve the client in the selection of materials? 

A part of the initial process is to determine the general style and budget for the project. With this, we will go through the suitable ranges of materials, comparing the options against the other colours of the home, including walls, flooring, and even existing furniture, to ensure it will all work harmoniously. 

This part of the process is more client-led as it really depends on what look and feel they want for their space, and we are here to offer our expertise and advice as needed to help with selections. 

Kitchen Design by Taya Stockdale at Hostess Kitchens | Floorboards Flooring: Laminate Park Lane

Kitchen Design by Taya Stockdale at Hostess Kitchens | Floorboards Flooring: Laminate Park Lane

How do you convey your ideas to your client, especially if working with new products or material?

During consults I will often do a quick hand-drawn 3D sketch to convey ideas, as many clients are visual. I find this very helpful for both functional and aesthetic decisions, as it allows the client to quickly see if the idea works or not, and we can progress from there.

After each consultation, we will compile a set of digitally constructed plans and renders, which the client is then able to review and make any further decisions/adjustments.

During the process of material selections, we will have physical samples of any products being discussed to ensure the client is happy with the best possible representation of that product.

And finally, in your experience, how do you think flooring impacts the overall aesthetics and functionality of a kitchen space?

The flooring choice plays a huge part in the overall feel and aesthetic of a kitchen. You can bring harmony and balance into the room by ensuring the materials chosen for the floor and cabinetry work well together. We now find that many of the woodgrain melamine's work beautifully with wooden flooring, but it is vital to have a physical sample of both and compare them in person to ensure that the undertones don't conflict. 

The choice of flooring will determine the overall feel of the space and is often the element that will tie together the majority of spaces within the home. Specifically with the kitchen, however, the flooring can work as an integrated element, an impactful element for contrast, or anywhere in between. Regardless, the two must be selected in consideration of each other to ensure harmony and balance in the overall space.

We want to thank Taya at Hostess Kitchens for sharing her experience and advice on designing kitchen spaces where functionality meets personalised style. If you feel ready to take your kitchen to the next level or just want to explore the possibilities, contact Hostess Kitchens or visit their showroom in Hamilton or Tauranga.

Phone: 07 847 3099
Showroom: 17 Kahu Crescent, Te Rapa, Hamilton

Phone: 07 575 6042
Showroom: 22 Tukorako Place, Mount Maunganui


Floorboards are flooring specialists with over 20 years installing hard surface flooring throughout homes in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel. Contact us find out more about kitchen flooring for your home. 

Hamilton & Waikato
Phone 07 959 1861

Tauranga & Bay of Plenty
Phone 021 977 548


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