Breaking the blogging fast to do an update on Spring. I have completely skipped Winter - life has been very busy and I feel like I spend a lot of time drafting on my computer, so the last thing I want to do is write a blog post in the evening... and of course now that the weather has completely turned to extremely warm this week,  writing about what I did in Winter seems completely ridiculous. So, I'll try to update the past few months with more of a Spring theme...

Doing:


There has been a little bit of travel in the past few months. In September I attended a Design Weekend with my friend Romy (her beautiful instagram is here, she no longer blogs) in New Zealand at Kauri Cliffs lodge. Guest speakers included Paul Bangay (one of Australia's better known Landscape designers), Thomas Hamel (whose career in Interior Design started at Parish Hadley in New York, and continued to Sydney and now part time back in the States) and Paul Swanson from Mossgreen (Antiques and Art gallery).


As you can see by the line up it was an ideal drawcard for both of us, and the added bonus of a long weekend escape from family duties with sleep ins and no meal prep. I have never been to New Zealand before, so this was a great little taste. We had a night on either side of the time at Kauri Cliffs in Auckland due to flight times and enjoyed exploring the waterfront precinct which is full of fashionable bars, cafes, restaurants and the best of New Zealand designer fashion (and some European labels too).


Kauri Cliffs, where we stayed, is about 4 hours from Auckland by car (there are flights from Auckland, but again they didn't line up well for us). It revolves around a golf course which I believe is very good (we are not golfers) and that has spectacular views over the water. Romy and I did quite a lot of walks in the areas, down to the beautiful pink sand beach as well as to other coves that had small streams running into them and that looked out onto jagged islands.

I took a lot of photos of details... the floors are apparently typical to this part of New Zealand and are large planks with mortar inbetween.

The hotel itself is beautiful, and worth a mention as it had many elements that you would feel inspired to emulate in a home. Kauri Cliffs is a luxe lodge, so it has the main old weatherboard house on the site which houses the restaurant, library, private dining rooms and lounges for guests, and then the guest lodges are set some distance away down a path. The interiors are really beautiful and had a sort of classic, rustic nautical edge to it. There's a mix of old and new furniture, pattern, and a play of scale that I found really interesting. I think in Interiors the one thing most people are afraid of is going big, particularly with lighting, but you can see how it was done really successfully here.


The talks themselves weren't aimed at design professionals, they were more overviews of the individuals careers, but I particularly enjoyed talking after Dinner one night with Thomas Hamel, who is the loveliest man, about all things design. The best part of the trip though was chatting with Romy about Art, Design, Books, Fashion and then the trials of life and motherhood in general.

The walls were a sort of shiplap with a wood effect to them. I think they were a gyprock panel system.

Work has been busy, but a lot of it is in the boring planning stages, so not a lot to show of interest. I have a couple of images of projects nearly completed. I do post more on Instagram... I had thought I'd never fully abandon the blog for it (and I'll try not to!) but it is a lot quicker and easier to upload a photo and brief description in the car while waiting for kids to come out of school...  Here are a few recently completed bits I haven't shared on the blog before

Window seat in a Library that I recently completed. The cushions were custom with applied braid. Walls are in navy blue grasscloth wallpaper that picks up the original stained glass detail in the window.

Beach house completed bedroom reflecting the colours of seaglass in blues and greens. I really love the fabric combos in this room.

The garage/ studio at our house has finally been finished. It was s.l.o.w going due to the render. The render is Venetian plaster, with Ashlar block impressions in it, and it is very finicky to apply due to sensitivity to weather conditions. Doing it in Winter meant constant delays, but it's finally all done (with a big of a clear out of builders junk still to go to finally finish for good).

Street view - the attractive pole is an iconic Adelaide invention from the 50's - the Stobie pole. Made of concrete and iron it is termite proof, and car proof too. 

view from the garden of the path down to the garage/ service area and the raised veggie beds. The hedge will grow and hide it all

We have landscaped the final bit of the garden down to the garage - this was a bit of work as we have a slope in our block, and so there were some retaining walls and paths that needed to be built. There are veggie patches in raised beds, and they're slowly coming along with some promising tomatoes on vines.

Ensuite in the upstairs Studio - round steel window and Bird and Thistle wallpaper. I did the internal doors as Beadboard.

My desk area - the rest is still a bit of a mess...

The rest of the garden has exploded this Spring, and it's really looking very established now, especially the front garden which is only 1 year old. I've been picking lots and lots of roses, and have had a couple of big sessions in the garden, but am still woefully behind on the weeding/ pruning schedule.


New lamps in the living area with roses from the garden

so many roses

back garden neatly clipped by Kurt.

Wearing:



While in New Zealand, I spied a dress in the window at Kate Sylvester. I think I could say it's the most perfect dress ever... it is made of light silk, so is perfect for a hot day, swishy, and very flattering hiding all sorts of sins. On me it comes below the calf and has a high elasticated neckline. I can't tell you how much I love this dress!! I was contemplating buying it in the other, bright, colourway. Her clothing in general is fab (despite some dubious fashiony styling with the models - the dress looks far better without trousers under it...!) and worth investigating.



Long term readers know I have a love affair with shoes, and this pair from Aquazzura that I purchased a few months ago from Matchesfashion.com are perfect. I tend to wear fairly plain and unadorned clothes with a tailored aesthetic in Winter, so interesting shoes are always easy to include in my wardrobe. I also tend to wear flats most days due to all the running around/ schlepping of stuff I do and the persian carpet style print of these shoes really grabbed me. When I'm just wearing some dull outfit like a fitted chambray shirt and my favourite black Joseph stretch trousers that I've blogged about before it definitely makes it look more interesting. Of course it also helps that I had an electrician in fits of laughter on site when I wore these one day, and also that when I popped into a Trade agent in Adelaide I found that they matched perfectly with the Colefax and Fowler fabric range...

Reading
I have done so much reading lately. One book tends to lead into another...

Bunny Mellon's Antigua bedroom from "How they Decorated" 

Firstly, I bought "How they Decorated" which is a fabulous overview of well known personalities from the 20th Century and their Interior Decoration style. Many of the Interiors were very inspiring, and some of the Interiors that I found interesting were those of Bunny Mellon. Featured in the book was the house she had in Antigua in the 1960's, which featured painted floors (something she introduced to the US in concept), chintz and simple elegance.


Tory Burch's bedroom in Architectural Digest with painted floors and chintz


Then out came Architectural Digest, with Tory Burch's new house in the Hamptons on the cover, designed by Daniel Romualdez. The internet started swooning over the whole thing, from the picture of her in a Land Rover Defender (naturally), through to the immaculate perfection of the lettuceware table setting. But it occurred to me (and some others) that there was a lot of "inspiration" (not attributed) being drawn from other sources. Many credited the master bedroom with being a copy of Lee Radziwills. And it was, but I thought it reminded me strongly of Bunny Mellon's bedroom in Antigua....

Tory with her Diego Giacometti bronze table. These cost about $4.4 million at auction

And it was then that I started reading the new Bunny Mellon biography and read about how Lee visited her in Antigua, and how Bunny collected Diego Giacometti  bronze furniture (Tory's hall also has a bronze Giancomo table in it, pictured above), started the fashion for painted wooden floors and essentially Bunny was copied by Lee, was copied by Tory.


The Bunny Mellon book was a really good read- very balanced, but oh my goodness, was Bunny an unpleasant woman. She was really pretty mean to her children and grandchildren (or one child - she played favourites), and would cut off friends of many years standing for absolutely no reason. They'd just find she was no longer home/ answering their calls. She is a figured revered for her good taste in the US, ironically because she favoured stealth wealth and discretion over flashy logos etc (ironic because most of those that revere her would kill themselves to own a Hermes Birkin or some other uber status symbol) but it seems to me that it's not necessarily difficult to have good taste when your budget extends to Picasso and Monets and the ability to stack them one ontop of the other all through your multiple houses. She was a shopaholic, and would buy things every day, and at the age of 103 had 200 staff and 6 houses that she never visited. She left very little money to her surviving son and grandchildren, nothing to her great grandchildren (but money to staff, friends and to charity).  Her marriage to Paul Mellon wasn't a happy one (he had many affairs), and seems largely driven by her desire for a larger budget to create her perfect houses and to have the convenience of her own Boeing at her own private runway on standby. I've subsequently read reviews on Amazon of the book, and while many say a similar thing to me, there are a few reviews where the readers are still breathless over her good taste and billionaire lifestyle and seem blinded by the other aspects of her actual personality. It's a great read, and I recommend it.

Eating:


Smoked Salmon and Asparagus tart

I use my grandmother's Quiche Lorraine recipe and adapted it - the pastry is excellent

Pastry
1 Cup Flour - half plain (I like spelt, it gives a shorter crust) and half Self Raising
3Oz/ 90 Grams Butter chopped
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water

Ingredients
1 Cup milk
3 eggs
1 Tbsp Butter
4 Oz/ 120 Gram grated cheddar cheese
2-3 Spring onions/ scallions finely sliced
Parsley, dill and chives finely chopped
250grams (small packet) smoked salmon
1 bunch asparagus

Method

Butter a 25cm Quiche or tart tin and set aside, preheat oven to 165C fan forced.

In a food processor whizz together the pasty ingredients until it just forms a ball, then place in fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

While this is chilling, combine the spring onions, cheese and herbs (I do these all at once in the food processor as I'm quite lazy on the chopping front... I also just chop the cheese rather than grate it). Add the eggs, milk, butter and combine in the food processor.

Prepare the pastry by rolling out and placing into the quiche/ tart tin. Add half the mixture, and place slices of smoked salmon all over it. Add the rest of the mixture and then add the trimmed asparagus on top. Grind over some pepper and salt and bake in the oven for 45minutes.

For Quiche Lorraine substitue the salmon for 3 rashes of chopped bacon, and the asparagus for slices of tomato.

Think that's enough for me for a bit! I'm so sorry I've been so absent from the blog - I'm not sure anyone cares that much one way or the other, but I'll try to drop back in and get back into the swing of things... I have missed it and constantly write blog posts about things in my head... it's just finding the impetus to get it out on the computer that has eluded me.

 What's news with you?

outside the Goyard Store in Paris


I have been meaning to write a packing- for- travel blog post for a very long time. Every year in January, and then again around July, my Instagram feed is full of people I follow all around the world bemoaning their lost luggage. I like to think that due to my extremely practical side, I have pretty much bullet proofed myself on this.

 Karl Lagerfield's luggage - he travels light


When once travelling home to Adelaide (from Melbourne where we lived at the time) to attend a Black Tie wedding in the country our luggage was lost by the airline. We had no carryon bags with us,  and the decidedly lackadaisical approach by the airport staff to finding our suitcase was worrying ("we'll send a message to Alice Springs where the other plane was heading as it might have gone there, hopefully they'll get back to us tomorrow, but the airport's closed now"). Fortunately our suitcase was returned about 20 minutes before we had to get in the car to drive the couple of hours to the country wedding the next day, so all was fine and we arrived correctly attired. But that incident, coupled with a view I once glimpsed of the lost luggage room in LA airport (it was vast, and filled with a sea of black suitcases, some tied with a red ribbon to distinguish them) I have worked a few things out.




My first travel tip is:

Buy a suitcase in any colour that is not black

If you want someone to pick up yours by mistake on the conveyor belt, then black is the colour to choose. It's also not very distinguishing when you are describing to lost luggage what your bag looks like. I remember watching former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer talking on a news program once about his suitcase, for which he was apparently teased by his staff. It was a bright yellow, ageing, hardcase Samsonite suitcase, which he hadn't upgraded as he said it was easy to pick on the conveyor belt. Unless you routinely fly by private plane, then this is a tip to make note of. Which leads me to my next tip...


Goyard lineup


Buy a durable suitcase

I like a hardcase, as if you travel through Asia you will sometimes find that a monsoonal rain event might sweep through the airport, just as they're about to load your luggage onto the plane. The staff will take cover during this time, but your luggage will be left sitting out. This means things can be rather soggy at the end of your trip. A hardcase will also protect your belongings to a greater extent than a soft side. Sure, you can't squish things in as easily when you've purchased a few extra bits and pieces at your destination, but it's the tradeoff I suppose. If you're buying an "investment" suitcase - say Globetrotter, or even Louis Vuitton or Goyard as pictured above, unless you get a private plane to go with them, they'll arrive very battered. Airport staff do not handle bags well, so whatever you buy will get scratched, marked, have ugly stickers put on it... you need to select a bag that suits your actual mode of travel, rather than the fantasy one. Keep the fancy brands for carry on where you can treat the case with more care.

my suitcase interior on a recent trip- this pleases my obsessional side


Packing Cubes will change your life

I cannot tell you how much I love a packing cube. My Mother in Law put me onto them first. She likes to pack outfits in a cube, which means you're more organised at the other end and can easily find things without having to rifle through your case. I now have 5 sets in different colours, one for each member of the family, so we are colour coded... I have a very particular method of packing for family travel, which I'll detail below, but I find it far easier to find my things in a packing cube than without. I bought sets of 6 packing cubes off eBay (extra large, medium, small - which fits shoes), but they're easily available in travel departments of large stores, or I've even seen them at my local pharmacy.


Packing for a family holiday

With children in tow, I've perfected packing to ensure that we have minimum disruption to a holiday if our suitcases go missing en route. It has struck me over the past few years of watching the unfolding lost suitcase sagas on Instagram that most people don't pack like this. So I thought I'd write it down, incase it helps anyone else out. Here's what I do: For our family of 5, we pack one or two suitcases depending on our length of travel (one for a few days, two for a trip longer than about 4 days), plus Mr AV and I take a carryon each.


In the carryon, I pack a full spare outfit for every member of family with two spare tops (because I have seen other parents with a vomiting child have to wear the Qantas Pj's off the plane after they have been vomited on). If we are travelling somewhere warm, I will pack a set of swimwear for each family member as it can take some time for luggage to be delivered to your room on arrival, and my kids are always desperate to go for a swim in the pool straight away. One set of PJs and spare underwear , and basic toiletries fill up the rest. If luggage is completely lost, then we can go for just over 24 hours with no real discomfit.


In the suitcases, I use the packing cubes, which are a different colour for different family members. I realise this sounds very pedantic, but there is a reason for the madness. I pack roughly half the clothes in rough outfits for each family member into one suitcase, and the other half into the other. If one suitcase is lost en route, then we all have clothes, rather than one person having no clothes, and everyone else having theirs. And when we arrive at our destination, I can pick the cubes out of the suitcases and take them to the correct rooms (we usually have to have two adjoining rooms, so don't share a dressing area). It takes only seconds at the destination, the organisation is before the trip.

During the time away I gradually repurpose the cubes so that some contain the dirty laundry, and again, once home it's easy to sort through the suitcase and unpack for each family member - laundry to the laundry, and each family member's cubes back to their rooms and unpacked.

Easy, and no danger of landing at a tropical island somewhere remote with only a very expensive hotel shop to stock up at and a wait of several days to find your suitcase. There is nothing more upsetting than finding yourself uncomfortable on a holiday washing underwear in a sink and wearing the same clothes while you wait for your case to arrive - it's disappointing after the anticipation of a wonderful holiday ahead.

Ziplock bags are very useful. Pack a couple of spares for wet items too (swimwear) or if you've struck a leak on the trip over and need to discard one.

In terms of other packing tips, my only other one is that I put anything with a cream base (toothpaste/ sunscreen/ skin creams/ deodorant) in ziplock bags in the suitcase as they seem to have a tendency to leak under cabin pressure. Having had bronzer go all through my toiletry bag and having had to spend a considerable amount of time wiping things down and ultimately throwing out the stained toiletry bag, this is a good precaution.  During my last trip my perfume leaked (fortunately in the ziplock), which could have been a pretty unpleasantly heady experience otherwise.

All the other things on packing for a holiday such as capsule wardrobes/ decanting toiletries into little bottles/ the necessity of shoe bags/ crossbody handbags with zips so you don't get robbed etc are far better written by others. I do try to work out a capsule wardrobe and do a bit of colour theming (particularly as when I go away with Mr AV without kids he bans suitcases and its carry-on only which keeps you disciplined), but as it varies so much from destination to destination, I'm not sure I'm going to give any groundbreaking information there.

So, I'll leave you with this final overpacking thought that made me laugh, and I will bid you Bon Voyage



Any packing tips you adhere to?


I was recently reading a column by Bernard Salt, Australian demographer and pop culture column writer, about some surprising results from the most recent Australian Census last year. In in, he noted that the number of bedrooms in Australia now exceeds the number of people in the country, and that the show bedroom, as he thought of it, was on the rise, given there has been a corresponding rise in sales in the bedding industry of cushions, pillows, and bed linen. This is because in Australia, living areas are to the rear of houses, so most visitors to a house will enter through a front door, process down a hallway to the outdoor entertaining zone, and pass by a number of bedrooms that are now required to be arranged attractively with stacked cushions, bedlinen and other things that used to be seen only by the rooms inhabitant, and never by a visitor. This is to give off a 5 star hotel vibe, and to show wealth and taste. You can read the very entertaining column here


This all tied in neatly with a phenomenon that I've noticed over the past few years - the rise of the cult of D.Porthault, French linen company and the linen of choice to the discerning connoisseur of fine living.  We are told frequently by anyone writing about the company on the many, many social media posts written on instagram/ blogs/ magazines that the roll call of famous people that were obsessed  with it include Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the Duchess of Windsor, Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel and a bunch of other famous people from the 1950's up to today far too numerous to mention, aside from on the D.Porthault website. There's nothing like celebrity endorsement, especially when the clients are no longer alive to complain about being co-opted into it.


But we all know they're the style set, so the seal of approval means we can all rush out to buy our own very expensive set of linen and be stylish as well, especially given how distinctive the patterns are as they ensure that everyone knows where your sheets come from. The French company was purchased fairly recently by an American with a passion for linen, and under new ownership the marketing push has really gathered pace, particularly in the US where there are boutiques opening and constant magazine write ups, and now the glossy coffee table book released this month about the company's history.



What is distinctive and recognisable about D Porthault linen is that it is known for a variety of printed patterns on fine quality cotton sheets, and it's rather expensive, thus setting it firmly equivalent to the luxury logo'd handbag... or Hermes Avalon blanket. They do plain linen as well, but it's the distinctive floral patterns that they innovated in the 1920s and have become very well known for that have aficionados/ cult members pattern matching and clashing with gay abandon with their sheets and towels.


I suppose you can see where I'm going with this... I don't really like printed sheets of any sort, aside from in a child's bedroom, so for me it is slightly baffling that they're so popular. For grown up bedrooms I like plain sheets as they don't compete with the other decorative elements in the room. I also think my husband would revolt if I made up the bed in pretty floral sheets and then asked him to sleep in it.

I really do not like the sheets in this bedroom

And this is an interesting fact in the whole Porthault love in:  the women that originally embraced the D Porthault sheets such as Jackie Kennedy and the Duchess of Windsor didn't actually sleep in the same bed as their husband. They had their own bedrooms, as was customary for women from the upper classes of that era. Their bedrooms could be decorated in the manner that they chose, and their sheets were theirs to select without consideration of what a male partner might think of having to sleep under a bower of love hearts or clovers or sprigs of roses and pansies.

Rita Konig's former bedroom in New York with heart print bedlinen

I have seen some criticism of the new book as being essentially a big glossy catalogue, with no photos of D Porthault in the famous clients bedrooms of the past to give weight to the celebrity endorsement. So I googled them for you as I suspected that there weren't any photos showing the flowery sheets for one major reason. My hunch proved correct.

Here's Jackie Kennedy's bedroom in the Whitehouse


Here's the Duchess of Windor's bedroom in Paris



Coco Chanel's bedroom at the Villa Pausa



The thing they all have in common is that you wouldn't know what sheets they slept on as they utilised an item very popular in that era: the fitted bedspread.

The bedspread was usually made out of a fabric that matched in with their curtains (in the White House it appears to be white with a fringe), and covered the entire bed and pillows with nothing to show of the underpinnings. Rather like a jacket could have any lining inside, so too the sheets could be anything. While they may have slept on floral D Porthault sheets, or plain ones, or anything else for that matter... the one thing we know is that they never intended them to be seen in a decorative sense. Sheet selection was a personal and private luxury.


So really, all this consideration about the topic is because I feel like I've reached peak saturation of the entire internet world banging on about how special and stunning these linens are, and I just don't get it. Somehow the cult of D Porthault has passed me by. The excessive femininity of the designs, the "it all goes together so mix in all the prints at once" thing, the competition the sheets have with fabrics and wallpapers and other things in a space... it's just not for me.

Estee Lauder's bedroom - I really love Toile de Nantes wallpaper, but would prefer plain linen with it


But it has made me wonder if throughout all the frothing at the mouth comments and coy photos of bedrooms and bathrooms with bits of the distinctive patterns on towels and sheets to get a bit of instagram love from those in the know, there are others who share my distinctive Meh feel about it all.

So over to you: Are you a card carrying member of the Cult, or is a slightly more subdued palette more your thing?
It's been a long time between kitchen posts on this blog. Having finished my own kitchen back during the renovations a couple of years ago, I haven't felt the need to blog about them again. But something has been very much on my mind of late, and that is kitchen size.

 via Ivory Lane blog - double island benches, and a separate butler's pantry

This is because kitchens have in Australia, over the past 20 years, grown and grown and grown in size. Conversely, people cook less. If you look at the average commercial kitchen attached to a restaurant that seats 60 people, it's generally far smaller than the average home kitchen now. So it would seem that the size of the kitchen has no bearing on what is being produced in it.


Commercial kitchen - Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck with 4-5 chefs working in it. Image via


I see a lot of inspiration pictures in both my work, and that pinned by other Australians on Pinterest or Instagram featuring very, very large American-style kitchens. Traditionally Australian kitchens were modelled on European/ English kitchens in terms of size, and these are usually smaller due to apartment living.


Kitchens that often feature multiple sink stations and items like pot fillers (which are used in commercial kitchens locally, but were never considered a standard item to put in a domestic one until fairly recently) are now the aspiration. Kitchens with not one, but two enormous island benches to fill the space up between benches that would otherwise be acres apart. And don't forget the adjacent Butler's pantry with its own sink, fridge (or cool room if you really want to up the ante) and cooking equipment.


This can all lead to an interesting discussion about kitchens as the new status symbol of a house, but frankly, after past blog posts on luxury/ status symbols and the psychology behind it all, I just don't really feel like pointing this post in that direction and derailing the actual thrust I was trying to get across. That might make up a separate post involving kitchens/ dressing rooms/ outdoor kitchens/ home gyms and bars, all of which have seen a rise in popularity in Australian homes recently.

The point of this post is more to point out the following:

1. Large kitchens are difficult to work in

Ideally you should be able to walk a couple of steps between zones in the kitchen when cooking so as not to expend energy racing up and down meters of kitchen to grab something from the fridge or pantry or a pot. This is why commercial kitchens are actually fairly compact. Professional Chefs do not want to spend 8 hours on service running (literally) around a kitchen. Their job is exhausting enough as it is. This is something to bear in mind if you are working with a large kitchen area, and the fact that I have a small physical area is something I love about my own kitchen. I rarely have to move far to get what I need done.

Modern large residential kitchen design is overcoming this by including multiples of everything - multiple sink points (as you don't want to carry a saucepan full of pasta 5 metres to the sink to drain it, but rather dump the water in an area adjacent to your cooktop), multiple taps, multiple fridges. If you are currently designing your kitchen, and you are going the large kitchen route, then this is something you need to factor in and budget for. Otherwise your kitchen will give you no joy.

2. You do not need acres of cupboards to store all your stuff

If you're starting from scratch, or have an existing small/ normal kitchen that you're refitting, then consider looking to European kitchen design for inspiration on cupboard fittings. It's no surprise that the largest and best quality manufacturer of kitchen cupboard fittings and hinges are all German - Blum, Hettich and Hafele. They make all the clever pull out things that go into kitchen cupboards that help to maximise space and functionality. Ikea do a pretty good range too. But rather than just using these systems (which can add up if you start going really crazy on the kitchen organising) consider just using your existing basic cupboards more efficiently.

When I was designing my kitchen, I spent some time with my Aunt M, who is brilliant with design, going through my kitchen plans. M is not professionally trained, but is better than most designers I've ever come across with kitchens as she is an excellent cook, and very thoughtful regarding matters of design. Running through my layout and debating various different options was very beneficial for me as I had a tight space to work with and a lot to pack into it. After we'd caught up, M sent through some photos of her cupboards to show me what she'd meant with some of our discussion. I thought I'd i include some of her most helpful advice and images below.

Tip 1 - get lots more cupboard shelves cut up by a kitchen joinery company than you'd usually have and stack them as close to each other as possible. Then rather than creating Leaning Towers of Pisa with your platters or salad bowls or whatever, you can stack them neatly one to a shelf and maximise your space while making them easy to grab and get down when you need them.




Tip 2 - for deep cupboards, have the shelves cut with an arc on them so that you can access the back of the shelves easily and see what you have stored. An example can be seen at the top of M's cupboard in the image below.


Tip 3 - M also used pull out drawers in some of the cupboards, even up higher than below bench top level as is normal (above), to give good access to the back of shelf areas where things traditionally get lost due to inaccessibility. 

Tip 4 - following on from tip 3, drawers (deep for saucepans or shallow for cups) are far better in a kitchen than a traditional cupboards with shelves. One job I'm working on at the moment is just refitting an existing kitchen that my client finds frustrating to cook in. This is mostly because the lower level cupboards are standard shelved 600mm deep cupboards and she looses things up the back and can never get organised. As she doesn't want to replace the entire kitchen we are refitting the cupboards with internal drawers, similar to M's above in the photo to make access to items up the back easier. 

via Heather Bullard design


Tip 5 - work out exactly what you do have and create specific spaces for them. This is the interior of M's Thermomix storage drawer below.

thermomix drawer

Tray dividers via


Tip 6- point of use organisation. I wrote a blog post about it here

And for my own final tip - really consider what you actually use in your kitchen - equipment, crockery and cutlery wise and whittle it down. Most people do not need 8 saucepans. Perhaps you have partial dinner sets that you started off , didn't finish, and never use as a result because you are missing key pieces (wedding registry are good at creating this conundrum). The juicer you bought on a health kick that is gathering dust in a corner could go.

Now, naturally, if you're someone like Stephen Andrew Jones (who writes the best blog on my sidebar) and who collects multiple Le Creuset pots... but actually uses them all...  then this is not advice you should take to heart. It's more a message to all the people with good intentions that they will become a gourmet chef, or who want a perfectly matched set of saucepans that are never actually used. In my case, in order to get enough storage, I got rid of the microwave. We only used it to reheat food a couple of times a week if that, not to cook, and it's easy enough to reheat food on a stove top, in the oven or in the thermomix, and I haven't missed it at all. Keeping things compact means your back and legs will thank you when you are spending hours cooking in the kitchen, and if you are designing or building a large kitchen, then consider the point of use organisation very carefully and allow multiple zones for different activities so that you're not run of your feet and exhausted from the experience.

Previous kitchen posts:

My kitchen - finished
Kitchen cupboard finishes

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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