Kathrine McDonald at KM Interior Design takes us through her latest renovation project, and shares her design selects in creating this classy, beachy Mt Maunganui home.


Kathrine McDonald from KM Interior Design, in UNO Magazine

The brief: The clients wanted a home that’s light, bright and practical for family living.

Kath’s interpretation: Introduce interesting forms while responding to the family’s need for function.

Budget: Mid-range

Kath’s interpretation: invest in key areas


I’ll often work with the architect right from the beginning of a project – for me, it’s the most fluid way to start the design process as we can look at the floor plan to determine exactly how each space will work best. I love the greenery, concrete, and cedar in this home. All the colours and shapes contrast well together. The products have been allowed to speak for themselves with a refined, pared back look.

It’s great to be able to stand back with a client and see their joy over the end result. The success of any project whether it’s a home, like this one, or a work space relies on trust, creativity, and experience. Every carefully considered decision works together as a whole, to fulfill the original brief. I like to stay current with design trends, but I’m a big believer in classic style, and listening carefully to help clients find their design voice.


Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineI start by looking at the colour and texture of the flooring, taking cues for finishes in the room. The beautiful engineered wooden floors are from Gerrand Floorings.

This family loves to cook. Neatly tucked inside all these cabinets are a huge number of complicated kitchen appliances. Every bit of space was eked out for maximum storage. In the pantry, we used pocket doors which recess back, so you can walk round them freely in the kitchen whilst cooking. The double oven was a necessity, too.

The white cupboard on the right of the island hides a bar fridge. So you don’t have to walk too far from the sunny deck for a cool glass of wine.

The stud was fairly low in the kitchen, so we needed lighting that added to the open feeling. These black, surface mounted lights over the kitchen island added impact without closing the space in, with a nod to the black joinery. They are actually exterior lights, but work perfectly in this space.

The texture and colour of this Caesarstone Calacatta Nuvo engineered stone benchtop make it a great investment. Along with the timber cabinets, it adds warmth and texture to the crisp, all-white kitchen.

Dining and living area

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineThe geometric form of the Hex 500 pendant light by Resident from Simon James Design casts interesting shapes onto the table and over the walls. Artworks by Matthew Browne and Keith Clancy from Compose Art Gallery also bring creative interest to this long, linear space.

The Sunday Bench is by Alana Broadhead from the Sunday Homestore in Waihi Beach. There’s real simplicity in this bench. It’s a contemporary take on a piece you’ll often see in a rustic, country setting. It’s very appealing.

New Zealand is full of fantastic designers like Tim Webber. The Shift dining table is so clever, the way it uses timber and steel and errs towards an industrial look, but is flexible enough to be used in a range of settings.

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineThe day bed has a Northern aspect, so gets all day sun. It’s wide enough to sprawl out with a book and snooze.

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineIn delicate pink and grey, Tom Dixon’s minimalist, mouth-blown Bump glass and jug, from Simon James Design, double as a delicate sculpture.


Study nook

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineThis nook was custom-designed and built by Eastwood Kitchens & Cabinetry, with white drawers to offset the timber cabinetry. The children can do their homework here by the light of a Snoopy lamp by Flos from Cult Design, and perched on the Martino Gamper stool from Paper Plane, while still being connected to the main living areas.

Reading chair

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineInteriors are shifting from hard linear lines to curves, like this Hideaway chair by Think + Shift. It has a sculptural quality which allows it to stand alone. The Grasshopper floor lamp is by Gubi, from Cult Design.



Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineMaker are a local lighting designer with worldwide reach. Mat Macmillan’s lamps cast a beautiful light and reference the timber cabinetry throughout the home.

Master bedroom

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineEnhanced by bedding from Paper Plane in layered textures and soft blush shades, this sleep space is pure luxury. The chic gold tripod lamp from MCF Interiors is the ideal complement to the warming hues, and sits on the beautiful Avette side table from Living Quarters.

Kid’s room

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineA Leaf lamp by Muuto shines a lunar light on the pair of astronauts below, and in the evening gives this corner a calming ambience. A set of bright Wooden Wonderland building blocks by Hay is all in good fun.

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO Magazine


Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineThe natural curves of the deep basin and free-standing bath soften the look of the hard-tiled surfaces, while the floating vanity cabinet creates a sense of spaciousness.

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO Magazine

Children’s living room

Kath McDonald Interior Design for UNO MagazineThis duffel ottoman is great for kids to lounge on, read books, and lean over to watch TV. It can double up as another surface, without the formality of a coffee table. The soft curves are always great for children, too.

If you’d like to talk to Kath about interior design, get in touch at [email protected]

Instagram: mcdonald.kathrine
Website: kminteriordesign.co.nz