Good Bones Joinery System

Stripping back kitchen design

A Victoria University of Wellington interior architect has designed a kitchen for 21st century New Zealand. Innovative joinery using sustainable materials that allows simple assembly and maximum flexibility and durability.

Innovation overview

In today’s kitchen market, plastic-coated MDF box system kitchens still dominate, despite being difficult to upgrade, wasteful in production and their disposal harmful to the environment. Built on an in-depth understanding of kitchen history in New Zealand, this new design proposes a shift away from the box system to a joinery skeleton holding bench and drawers. Each part can be produced from natural materials and easily replaced. Assembly is simple and design options are endless – suited for a flexible and sustainable lifestyle allowing owners to bring their kitchen along moving between modern city apartments and traditional villas.


Long term solution
Durable materials and adaptable design
Non-toxic materials or finishes
Environmentally sound
Recyclable and/or bio-degradable materials, minimal structure – frames instead of ‘box’ carcasses
Simple installation
Kitset assembly, no scribing to wall
Accessible plumbing and electrical
Open frame under bench
Wood finish ‘touch-up’ by owners


Residential kitchens
Either as a kit-set design or custom build, Good Bones joinery in combination with wooden drawers and exchangeable fronts and bench
Professional kitchens
As a full stainless steel build, the joinery and drawers without fronts offer a clean and durable solution for high demand environments
Shelving solutions
The flexible joinery can be build up to suit other furniture applications such as shelves or drawers

Use as residential kitchen

With its first prototype built for a residential kitchen, this is an obvious application for the invention. Kitchens in private homes need to have visual appeal suited to a variety of environments and tastes – the Good Bones design allows for the fronts of drawers to be replaced easily, resulting in a complete visual upgrade. The open drawer system gives easy access to plumbing and electrical, making it easy to maintain installation of fixtures and appliances.
Our market research findings show that buyers are more health and environment conscious with purchases for their own home. A kitchen without toxic materials such as MDF (medium density fibreboard) is the preferred choice and a sustainable solution for New Zealand.

Technology Diagram

Research leader

Christina Mackay

Christina Mackay is a Senior Lecturer in Interior Architecture at Victoria’s School of Architecture. She also holds an MBA (from VUW), is a Registered Architect and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. As a researcher, Christina is interested in the dynamics of building alteration and understanding and designing built environment for protection against UV over-exposure. In the last...

Contact person

Liam Sutton

Liam joined the Viclink team as an Assistant Commercialisation Manager on 1 April 2016. Although he only recently graduated from Victoria with a Bachelor of Architecture, Liam is no stranger to commercialisation, having started up his own business at the 2015-2016 Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp. Responsible for developing and formalising processes that will make the innovation pipeline more effici...

See Liam Sutton's technology portfolio