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The Art of Kitchen Design: Insights from Craig Marsh at Total Kitchens

Welcome to our Floorboards Designer Spotlight Series. This April, we're excited to introduce Craig Marsh, who is the Senior Kitchen Designer at Total Kitchens, and seasoned kitchen design expert. Discover his journey from the UK to New Zealand, explore his perspectives on evolving trends, and learn about his method for creating spaces that blend practicality with elegance.

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

I'm originally from the UK, and my father, a cabinet maker, introduced me to woodworking at the age of seven. This early exposure sparked a passion for joinery, leading me to pursue a career in kitchen joinery. Since immigrating to NZ two decades ago, I've been involved in all facets of the joinery industry, from design and manufacturing to installation. 

What inspired you to focus on kitchen design? 

With a background in joinery, a natural inclination towards creativity and a love for exceptional kitchen design, I gravitated towards specialising in the design aspect of our industry, and I love dealing directly with clients. 

Can you tell me about Total Kitchens? 

Total Kitchens is a family business (owned by the Weatherell family), that specialises in the complete process of designing, manufacturing, and installing new kitchens. We are situated in Te Rapa, Hamilton, and our impressive showroom has very experienced Kitchen Designers alongside a cutting-edge factory.

Additionally, our sister company, Kitchen Things Hamilton, offers the widest selection of new appliances, making us your ultimate one-stop destination for both new kitchens and appliances.

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

Timber grained cabinetry in new kitchens is becoming on-trend, especially Oak colours, also light pastel greens are currently popular. The move away from engineered stone benchtops (due to silicosis) will see a rise in the popularity of Porcelain/Ceramic benchtops. 

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

Clients are wanting minimalistic, streamline looking kitchens so fully integrated appliances will be popular. I feel that cork flooring will become more popular in the future, as it's softer, more aesthetically pleasing.

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

As a Kitchen Designer, it's crucial to gather a thorough client brief, understand their vision, needs, and desires, and then meticulously assess the space. Through a blend of ergonomic principles, functionality, and innovative design, the goal is to transform their vision into a stunning reality, ensuring the new kitchen is both aesthetically pleasing and practical. 

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

Set a realistic budget (that allows for contingencies). It's super important to engage an NKBA-Accredited Kitchen Designer for the client's peace of mind. I recommend my clients get some inspiration from searching the internet to get some ideas and inspiration. This will give them some direction to give their Kitchen Designer at that initial client meeting.

What advice would you offer someone who wants to create a timeless kitchen design? 

To create a timeless kitchen design, opt for neutral colours, quality materials, and clean lines. Focus on functionality in the layout and select classic fixtures and appliances that will stand the test of time. 

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

We schedule a meeting to discuss our client's project brief and budget expectations. For renovation projects, we'll conduct an on-site visit to assess the space and take initial measurements; for new builds, obtain the house plans. I utilise CAD software to draft the design and provide a price estimate. Subsequently, our clients are invited to our showroom (at 11 Maui Street, Hamilton), where I'll present the kitchen design and pricing live in our 3D CAD software. During this meeting, I guide them through material selections, and upon confirmation, a 50% deposit is then required to proceed. 

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

Our showroom, located at 11 Maui Street, boasts a contemporary design, providing an ideal setting for client meetings where I can showcase various material and colour options. Utilising cutting-edge CAD software, I can seamlessly modify colours in real-time during the presentation of their new kitchen design and even provide a video walkthrough via email. 

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

I utilise our showroom to convey ideas and show new material, as well as our new, powerful CAD software, which has a program called Vortex, which allows me to do amazing, realistic 3D rendering.

In your experience, how does flooring impact the overall aesthetics and functionality of a kitchen space? 

I believe it's crucial for the new flooring to harmonise with the kitchen design and seamlessly blend with the chosen colour scheme. The flooring selection should align with the client's preferences and lifestyle requirements to ensure optimal functionality and be aesthetically pleasing. 

Thinking back to one of our projects together, could you share some insights on why you might have chosen a specific floor for a certain project? 

We highly value our relationship with Floorboards and rely on their flooring expertise when we work on a client's new kitchen project together as they are the flooring experts. 

Are there any upcoming projects you're excited about that you can give us a sneak peek into? 

I do have something exciting coming up but unfortunately, I can't share anything about it just yet. 

Thank you for exploring kitchen design with Craig Marsh of Total Kitchens. If you're planning a new kitchen or updating an existing one, consider Craig's expert advice. For tailored designs and innovative solutions, contact Total Kitchens on 07 850 9040 or visit to bring your vision to life.

Thank you for reading our latest Designer Spotlight feature. Floorboards are flooring specialists with over 20 years installing hard surface flooring throughout homes around the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. If you need information on choosing hard flooring for your new kitchen, have a chat with our team and ask to view floor samples alongside your kitchen cabinetry.  

Hamilton & Waikato
Phone 07 959 1861

Tauranga & Bay of Plenty
Phone 021 977 548


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