Natalie Du Bois takes kitchen and bath design very seriously. You can see that in the number of awards her spaces have won, and how frequently they grace the covers of industry and shelter publications. A member of NKBA, Natalie has been designing kitchens and baths for 17 years – 14 in New Zealand, and three in the United Kingdom. Prior to that, she studied interior design in Cape Town, South Africa.
NT: One hallmark of your designs is the influence of your diverse travels and background. Would you say that much of your design inspiration comes from travel?
NDB: Absolutely – from travel, and from having lived in three different parts of the world. I try to visit at least one interiors trade show in another country every year to keep up to date with trends in design, and how they are evolving. I am a student of other cultures’ approaches to interior design.
NT: You’re a former chef in training. How does that affect your kitchen designs?
NDB: My love of cooking helps me look at the functionality of space differently. It’s not enough for the kitchen to look beautiful – it has to perform beautifully as well. From an appliance standpoint, I love to incorporate a built-in steaming oven whenever possible. I love healthy cooking, and this is the appliance I use most in my own kitchen.
NT: Do you have a signature style?
NDB: My design style tends to be varied as I try mix things up a bit to create interest and unpredictability. I want each project to be absolutely unique – tailored to my client’s personality, design requirements, and the needs of their home. I always get excited working on ultra-modern projects with their sleek and minimal feel, but I also love the beauty of highly ornate traditional projects which showcase skilled craftsmanship.
NT: Do you have a particular philosophy on design or sustainability?
NDB: I like to use materials that originate from nature, especially timber, stone and metals. I strongly believe using natural products makes us happier by helping to connect us with our environment. I always look at creating functional and durable spaces with permanence that will stand the test of time. My ethos is to create spaces that will enrich the lives of my clients and add value to their homes.
NT: You’ve used Native Trails copper sinks in your projects – what factors led you to selecting copper, and more specifically, Native Trails?
NDB: Copper being a natural and antibacterial product is definitely a favorite material of mine to use. After researching what was available in New Zealand, Native Trails seemed to have the largest and most interesting range of options available. Most recently, I used a Native Trails double-bowl copper farmhouse sink in a Mid-Century Modern kitchen. The project won the 2014 NKBA Trends Most Innovative Kitchen award.
NT: We’ve talked a lot about kitchens – do you have any favorites for bathroom design?
NDB: A good magnifying mirror with lighting and a comfortable soaking tub perfect for escaping day-to-day stresses and recharging the batteries.
NT: What’s your key advice for clients?
NDB: Think about longevity of the products you use. Sometimes spending a bit more will be cheaper in the end. Something which stands the test of time costs less than replacing something that may have been cheaper to start with.
See more of Natalie’s award winning projects here.