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Designer Davinia Sutton answers all our burning kitchen and bathroom questions

In the next episode of our Behind the Design series, we talk to multi-award winning designer Davinia Sutton and get her invaluable advice on all things kitchen and bathroom. Watch the video below – you just might get a tip that could help your next project

In our video series Behind the Design we chat with members of our Trends Design Council to get ideas, advice and find out what design means to them.

Our previous episodes include Paul Clarke of Studio2 Architects and Architectural Designer Mark McLeay of Creative Arch. Here, we sit down with one of New Zealand’s most awarded kitchen and bathroom designers Davinia Sutton of Detail by Davinia Sutton.

A self confessed art geek, Davinia’s earliest memories of design go back to when she was just four years old mirroring her mother, a graphic artist, as she did freelance creative work.

After completing a diploma in interior design and a degree in spatial design, Davinia went on to work with respected designers Ingrid Geldof and John Gaynor before launching her own business in 2009.

Davinia’s innate ability to create intrigue, interest and ambiance in all of her designs has led her to receive a staggering number awards at both a national and international level. These also include our very own TIDA powder room and TIDA bathroom awards.

With such a decorated career, Davinia is brimming with interesting, inspirational and just downright practical design advice.

Watch our video with her above and check out some of Davinia’s top design tips below:


1. Make a plan

Before you embark on a kitchen or bathroom journey, Davinia says you need to have real clarity in your brief about what you’re wanting. However, the most important decision you need to make is your budget. “No one likes to talk about money in New Zealand,” laughs Davinia. “But it’s such a critical element to rip that bandage off and discuss it with your designer.” 

2. Lighting is key

“Lighting for me is so essential,” explains Davinia. “It can give such a mood and such a variance to a space.” She says kitchens are bathrooms are task areas but there are times that you may want to create a moody, subtly lit space. Powder rooms in particular are ideal spaces to create some drama. Davinia says that whatever you invest in your lighting you will get back in the ambience and feel of your interior.

3. Don’t buy your appliances first 

This is Davinia’s #1 golden rule. She says if you’re working with a designer; allow them to flesh out the plan for your kitchen first. “Appliances really can drive the design because sometimes what you think you need might not actually work in that space.”

4. Be realistic about your space

Davinia say some of her clients can get caught up with wanting a particular design or appliance that just won’t work in their space. “Look at your lifestyle and the way you cook in a kitchen space and think about proportions of appliances,” she explains. Try a smaller fridge and then if you need place a cool drawer somewhere else for over flow when you’re entertaining. 

In bathrooms, Davinia says to be “realistic with size and clever with your selection of fittings and fixtures.” For example, all in one vanity with the sink merged into it will create the illusion of space instead of having a bowl sitting on top.

5. Find a designer that suits your needs

Having someone design your kitchen or bathroom is a really personal journey so it’s important that you find someone that you connect with. Davinia recommends having a meet and greet with a couple of designers at the start. “Bathrooms, kitchens or interiors, it is such a personal aspect of your life to engage someone to come in and design your spaces, so just make sure that connection really sits.”

See more from our Trends Design Council here

Story by: Trendsideas

13 Sep, 2020