Elite Kitchens’ owner Hamish Ross proudly guides Verve around his stylish showroom, sliding open draws and doors that, like the wardrobe of Narnia, reveal improbable hidden spaces. Shelving seamlessly spins, unfurls and unfolds, magically multiplying in surface area while making everything easier to access and often eliminating the need to reach or bend. Next door, the workshop hums, cabinetry proudly stands in various stages of completion and the scent of sawdust lingers in the air. Hamish greets all his craftspeople by name. In today’s ever-decentralised manufacturing and business worlds, Elite Kitchens emits the romance of a cottage industry. Any work that needs to be done off-site is always delegated to folk in Auckland.
“I’m very aware of the fact that this business has been around for over 60 years,” says Hamish, “and has been an integral part of the community for a very long time.”
Previously a partner in a leading legal firm, it’s been an incongruous journey for the affable businessman who’s also a doctor of philosophy in law and an America’s Cup stalwart of 25 years (a photo of his gorgeous, 122-year-old yacht, Rainbow, hangs on his office wall). Looking for a new challenge six years ago, this was one business opportunity that was too good to miss.
It used to be that the kitchen was hidden away at the back of a house, but now it represents the home’s heart.
“What sets Elite Kitchens apart is that we are a manufacturer, not a shop front,” says Hamish. “Our designers work closely with the guys making the cabinets, and there is ample opportunity for clients to sit with the designer and meet the cabinet maker and see their kitchen being made. It’s a lot more of a hands-on process. Many clients, don’t bother, but the opportunity is there!”
There is even an opportunity to view the kitchen built in the warehouse so that clients may request any last-minute tweaks or adjustment to the detailing or the layout. The whole process takes, on average, as little as four weeks, while the initial design consultation is free.
“It used to be that the kitchen was hidden away at the back of a house, but now it represents the home’s heart,” says Hamish. “It is the living room, it is the lounge, it is where you spend most of your ‘awake time’.”
Getting down to the nitty gritty, it is also your home’s most valuable room. According to Westpac, every dollar spent on your kitchen and bathroom sees a $1.50 increase in the value of your home.
“That’s a whopping 50 percent return and a heck of a lot better than most investments!” says Hamish. “Elite’s designers help guide you how to best get the best value return on your investment. It’s not just our kitchens that are designed around you, it’s also our service. Our designers make your kitchen dreams come to life so that your new kitchen will soon be part of the family.”
Elite: Making Kitchens Count Since 1958
Elite is trusted by the nation’s leading architects and building companies and is the first choice for many renovating their dream home.
Built to last, Elite uses—excuse the pun—’top-drawer’ European fittings by the likes of Blum, Hafele and Hettich, their moisture-resistant boards incorporating environmentally certified wood products.
Not just kitchens, Elite’s bespoke builds include study nooks, vanities, and entertainment units.
You’ll likely spend more per square-metre on the kitchen than any other room in the house, so be sure to make it count.
Check out the Elite seasonal specials, they can help out with all budgets. But remember, cheapest is not usually the best option in the long-term, your kitchen is an investment as well as a purchase.
The Elite Recipe
Key ingredients in kitchen construction include communication, care, and expertise. Elite staff is not only on-hand to steer the design process, but to answer any queries that arise along the way. They can even strip out your old kitchen and hook you up with plumbers and electricians when it’s done.
Like a well-stocked spice-rack, Elite provides a palette of cabinet finishes and colours. Choose from the likes of gloss finishes in white or champagne tones, matte cabinets in blues, greys or warming neutrals, and wooden finishes in oak and graphite with natural finishes that showcase their distinctive grains.
Add a benchtop. Stainless steel is still has its place, but more popular are those forged from engineered stone of crushed granite. Ceramic is the worktop of the future, so tough hot pots can be placed directly on to it (it is a pricier option but getting evermore competitive).
Choose features such as taps and handles before stirring in innovative features like stovetops or charging mats incorporated into the worktops that eliminate not only the need for unsightly wires, but arguments about who unplugged whose device!
Place in the workshop, visit as required and watch your vision rise. Tweak if necessary before it’s packaged and sent to your home.