In the Studio with Janice Kumar-Ward: A Journey into Interior Architecture & Design

Introduction Step into the world of Janice Kumar-Ward, the talented interior designer behind JKW Interior Architecture & Design. With her passion for creativity and an eye for detail, she has transformed numerous spaces into stunning...


Step into the world of Janice Kumar-Ward, the talented interior designer behind JKW Interior Architecture & Design. With her passion for creativity and an eye for detail, she has transformed numerous spaces into stunning works of art. In this article, we dive into Janice's journey, her recent projects, and the inspiration behind her remarkable designs.

Director of JKW Interior Architecture & Design

Janice Kumar-Ward embarked on her entrepreneurial journey 11 years ago when she started her own interior architecture and design business. Initially known as The Recipe, the company rebranded in 2015 after purchasing a modernist building in Auckland's Newton area. Janice saw this as an incredible opportunity to renovate the space and take her career in a new direction. Now, surrounded by a dedicated team of talented individuals, Janice continues to push boundaries and create extraordinary designs.

Versatility and Collaboration

JKW Interior Architecture & Design is a versatile studio that can handle any project, whether residential or commercial, big or small. Janice and her team even offer peer reviewing services, collaborating with architects, construction teams, and project managers to ensure clients fully understand the potential of their space. Through these collaborations, Janice has had the privilege of working with some of Auckland's best architects, artists, and tradespeople, allowing her to continuously evolve as a designer.

Unforgettable Projects

Janice's recent projects have been nothing short of extraordinary. From restoring a historic house in Dunedin to transforming a fourth-generation sheep station in Gisborne, she has consistently delivered exceptional results. In Dunedin, Janice breathed new life into a grand old dame, converting it from three flats back into a warm and welcoming home. In Gisborne, she rejuvenated a house with lowered ceilings, blending modern aesthetics with classic finishes to create a space that perfectly embodies its owners' personality. Currently, Janice and her team are working on a Brent Hulena-designed house in Whangapoua, where their goal is to honor the original design while giving it a fresh update.

Mr & Mrs Ward: A Collaborative Endeavor

Janice also runs Mr & Mrs Ward, a bespoke furniture business, alongside her husband Julian. Together, they offer beautifully crafted furniture made in New Zealand. To celebrate their 10-year anniversary in both business and marriage, they embarked on the 10 Favourite Things project. Collaborating with their regular partners, they created timeless pieces, including art prints, candlesticks, and pillowcases, all designed to celebrate the beauty of shared creativity.

The Home of JKW: A Dream Realized

The JKW studio operates from a 1967 building that once served as the headquarters of Wattyl paints. Janice and Julian stumbled upon this gem while contemplating building a house in rural West Auckland. They were captivated by its high stud, abundant natural light, and convenient location near major motorways. Despite the challenge of affordability, they joined forces with another couple to purchase the building. After a complete renovation, including the removal of asbestos and the restoration of steel windows and doors, the building now houses a stunning 150m2 studio that perfectly showcases JKW's design aesthetic.

Aesthetic and Inspiration

Janice's interior aesthetic is driven by her desire for flexibility and a desire to showcase the team's creativity. She wanted a space that felt welcoming and spoke to their clients. Diaphanous curtaining divides the studio, adding a touch of elegance while maximizing the budget. They even created a sample ledge to display suppliers' new samples, making it easy to share new design ideas with clients. The studio also features a fully stocked snack drawer, a shower for convenience, and a pull-down bed for Janice and Julian to use as a city getaway.

Endless Inspiration

When asked about her inspiration, Janice finds it in every aspect of life. Her children, husband, clients, fashion, art, and gardens all contribute to her creativity. She draws inspiration from her peers, following numerous designers on Instagram and diving into magazines and Pinterest boards. Even films, such as old Bond movies, inspire her through their stunning interiors. Travel also plays a significant role in Janice's inspiration, with a recent trip to New York providing her with a next-level creative boost. Museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art left her awestruck with their collections.


Janice Kumar-Ward is more than an interior designer; she is a visionary who brings spaces to life. Her dedication to her craft and her ability to collaborate seamlessly with clients and industry professionals set her apart. With each project, Janice continues to create breathtaking designs that stand the test of time. Whether it's a historic restoration or a modern transformation, JKW Interior Architecture & Design is the epitome of excellence in the industry.

Interview by Claire McCall | Photography by Duncan Innes

ABOVE This view into the drawing studio showcases the white palette and simple textures that provide a blank canvas for the JKW team’s work. A picture ledge at the rear of the room puts suppliers’ latest and greatest on display.

ABOVE The elegant file drawers behind the reception desk were made for Janice by Julian. Atop them sits a gilded Recess mirror by Simon Lewis Wards and Sam Burton.

ABOVE The meeting room decorated with bespoke table by Mr & Mrs Ward, French floor lamp by John Stephens, Otto chair by Tim Webber, No B49 Le Corbusier chairs by Thonet, and pendant lights by Flos. The trivet on the table was a gift from Italian Stone that inspired Janice and Julian to collaborate on others for their 10 Favourite Things project.

ABOVE A pull-down bed by Mr & Mrs Ward is hidden behind sliding doors in a space that provides privacy and extra storage. It houses Janice’s weekday wardrobe of meeting attire and activewear. The lights overhead are from Mr Ralph, the bolster is by You’re Welcome, and the printed pillows are by Christian Lacroix.

ABOVE The bathroom expertly combines Cole & Son wallpaper, a vanity table by Mr & Mrs Ward, Winckelmans tiles, and Pan tapware by Zuchetti from Robertson.

ABOVE Janice designed this shaped vanity then had it made in Silver Brown Wave marble by Italian Stone. The mirrored cabinetry and wall-to-wall drawers are another Mr & Mrs Ward creation. Wallpaper by Thibaut surrounds it all, lit by pendant lights picked up in Bali.

ABOVE A glimpse of Janice's exquisite taste in interiors.