Finally, I can say that the kitchen is finished. Unfortunately a delay on the pendant light fittings over the island bench meant that almost 6 months after installation, it's finally a space that is complete. 





I've written quite a few posts on the kitchen design, finishes, appliances and various other things do do with the kitchen, so I will try not to rehash those posts, and instead concentrate on the finished space. I'll provide a list of links to those previous posts at the end of this post if you're interested in the process.

The design for the kitchen was a tedious and frustrating process. I love designing kitchens as I love to cook, but there were a few things that I struggled to reconcile along the way. Part of this was that Mr AV wanted a far greater input into the kitchen design than I had envisioned (he does not cook and does not work in Design, so this was unexpected). The major issue we had was the open plan concept. Open plan living is essentially a non-negotiable in modern Australia. We live and entertain casually, and it is now expected that a modern home will have a large open plan kitchen/ dining/ living zone at the rear of the house opening onto the garden and outdoor entertaining areas. 





The problem with that is that a kitchen is on display constantly, and kitchens are by necessity fairly messy areas. I don't like sitting at the dining table and viewing the mess from cooking in the kitchen - as we don't have a formal Dining room, but like to entertain in a slightly more formal manner from time to time, this was doubly important. (On this topic I was recently at a large Dinner Party where caterers had been employed. The dining table was right next to the very open plan kitchen, so essentially we were right in the middle of the preparation/ cleaning up and there was no separation of the catering staff and the guests. It was not exactly hugely problematic, but some form of separation would have been reasonably appropriate in that instance.)



So, the typical response if you view this as a problem is to have an island bench with an up stand on it to block the view when sitting at the dining table into the kitchen, or to have a second kitchen (a Butlers Pantry) where food preparation and mess can be contained and a 'show' kitchen is in front of it. Instead, in our kitchen with a lack of wall space to accommodate the appliances, pantry and oven, I looked at blocking the view from the dining area into the kitchen with a wall of kitchen units, which was reasonably radical in concept to cause Mr AV and I to have a lot of… animated… discussion. The end result was that cupboards do not go all the way up to the ceiling so it still gives the open plan concept and feel. 



It's been really successful and works so well. If you're cooking, you're still part of the action… but when I'm sitting at the table with guests, the kitchen can be a huge mess and no one has a view of it.
The second point that differentiates this kitchen from a lot of current kitchen design is that the island is reasonably small, and in fact the kitchen itself is not overly large - it's really a very average sized kitchen for a family home. It's in fact the same size as the old kitchen we used for 3 years, but more efficient use of the space means it functions with triple the storage, and is much more user friendly. My younger sister was surprised the first time she came over at the size of the kitchen, as she expected I would have done a cavernously large, flash kitchen instead. But I have designed kitchens like that in the past, and I don't feel they work very well from an ergonomic perspective (the design was client driven - they wanted large kitchens). This kitchen is SO easy to work in. Everything is a few paces from where you need to be, there are large areas of bench space, and it takes no effort to clean up. 




So, onto finishes. The kitchen cupboards are painted melamine. They are (hand) painted in a semi-gloss pale grey enamel paint, and are easy to wipe clean when spills occur. I did the door profile in a very simple shaker style panel - my aim throughout the extension design is to do pared back semi-traditional, so simplified detailing is part of the design. The skirting is flush to the doors - there is no kicker, which has not been a problem ergonomically speaking (if you're interested), and the bench top is also flush to the cupboard panels. I was trying to make it look like cabinetry. There is a simple header at the top of the full height cupboards to make the cabinetry look 'finished'. 






The wall around the steel windows are tiled in a large format subway tile that butt up against the very simple window architrave. The tiles have an undulating/ handmade look to them, and are a matt finish (rather than shiny), so give a bit of textural interest. The grout is in the palest grey grout to match the cupboards and the veining in the bench tops. 



The bench tops are in a composite stone that looks like marble. I'm really happy with how it's performing. As I said when discussing finishes in previous blog posts, I love the look of marble, but know that my family will ruin it fairly quickly… so this has been a good alternative. 




The handles are a brushed brass, and I chose very simple modern and timeless handles, rather than a more ornate or traditionally styled handle. I've tried to do a blend of old and new throughout the new extension. 




The flooring is sheet linoleum, which has probably been one of the best decisions we made with the extension. It looks fantastic, stands up to the rigours of family life, and is very easy to clean. I really don't know why more people don't look at putting it in - it's environmentally friendly, lasts 150 years, and is dirt cheap. 

Lighting in the space required a bit of thought - I didn't want down lights in the ceiling as the ceilings are very high (nearly 4 meters), and you'd need a lot of them to get enough light on the bench tops. I decided on a recessed strip LED light in the underside of the window architrave over the sink area. In the day, you don't notice it at all, and at night it provides good task lighting. 




The island bench has three pendant light fittings that appear to be hand blown glass - they have a mottled quality in line with the aesthetic I was trying to achieve… a bit of a hand made/ textural feel. They compliment the light fitting made by the Jam Factory over the Dining table in the adjacent dining area.




Almost all appliances are concealed in the kitchen. With the kitchen visible as soon as you walked through the door into the new extension, I didn't want a wall of stainless steel fridges/ dishwashers etc to be the first thing to visually distract. I wanted the kitchen to look like cabinetry, and to be simple and in the background when needed. I think the overall space feels quite serene and uncluttered because of this too. Concealed in the cupboards are a Fridge, Freezer, bifold doors to the walk in pantry, and two dishwashers. The unit with the visible cabinetry is not seen from the living area and contains the double oven, warming drawer, range hood and cooktop. 


Of course, opposite the kitchen is the visual interest for this space - the wall of steel windows around the stairs leading down to the cellar and Mr AV's study. This is wallpapered with Library wallpaper in sepia tones, which provides a nice view when standing at the island bench. The view out of the steel windows to the garden is slowly improving too as the landscaping continues. 

The only regret that I have with the design is that I could not fit three stools at the kitchen bench for my three Children. Unfortunately I was space constrained - I would have had to lose space in the adjacent Children's playroom to accommodate a larger island, and the playroom was at what I considered the appropriate size, with no room to squeeze another half meter out of it. It's rare to be able to accommodate everything in a design, but this also means that we are disciplined in always eating at the dining table, rather than the island. The island stools are used more for chatting to the cook or a quick snack. 

So, onto the details

Finishes

Cupboard paint: Dulux "Ghosting" in Semi Gloss Enamel
Wall paint: Dulux "Fair Bianca"
Wall Tiles: from Eco Tile Factory
Flooring: Forbo Marmoleum from the Dutch Design range "Piet Hein Eek" M0512
Joinery pulls: Colonial Bronze "306 Cabinet Pull" in Satin Brass available here
Benchtops: Bianco Venato Quartz from Designer Finishes
Stools: Hay Denmark "About a Stool"
Pendant lights: "Bolla" Light from Gineico
Wallpaper: Andrew Martin "Library" in Sepia

Previous blog posts on the kitchen design



58 comments:

  1. Your kitchen looks incredible and that pendant was worth the wait WOW!

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    1. Thanks Michelle…. am still feeling traumatised over the pendants, but they do look nice! x

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  2. Fantastic! And, I agree with everything you have said. All open plan does not work in my opinion. Clutter, noise, mess etc. , all visible and audible. It's a hard working and busy area and I believe these open plan kitchens are pushed onto the public by developers who want to build the cheapest and easy way out.
    I love your kitchen and every point you raised is practical and relevant. Beautiful and workable result.
    thank you. Linda C.

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    1. Thanks Linda, it's interesting how many people have said similar things about open plan design. When we have people over, there's a lot of curiosity over the partial separation of the kitchen, and a lot of people then comment about the difficulties with it. Interesting perspective on the developer push too… certainly it's a cost saving to remove walls, and I think magazines have also pushed the design quite a bit too. x

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  3. Congratulations on your finished kitchen! What a treat to look at and surely to work in. I think you spaced it well. Kitchens that are too big have the feel of a catering kitchen and doesn't look homely after a certain point. Open plan does work well with the mostly casual atmosphere in Australia. While it has been catching on here, it doesn't work half the time because of the restricted layout and there are still a lot of conservative attitudes in terms of the separation of cooking space. I think you have a great compromise of roominess but defined space. Well done H xx

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    1. Thanks N! I really love cooking in it…. which is a good thing as I sometimes feel like I'm in there permanently! I find it quite fascinating how different cultures do things differently with their living areas. I was so surprised when I moved to the UK to see that there was such a reluctance to embrace open plan kitchens, it seems it hasn't changed much. xx

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  4. Heidi
    The open plan design so popular now has it's drawbacks, IMO. Conflicting noise issues can be a bit of nightmare when there are opposing demands of TV versus meal prep/cooking in such close proximity. And, as you said, the mess that is always on display!
    I am curious to know who practical those very tall cupboards are in your daily life as so much is out of reach. And what about a pop of colour, just to spice things up a bit. It looks a little clinic in the photos.
    A fabulous job overall though. 9/10 ...LOL ..only joking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Melody

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    1. I think open plan living and acoustics are a huge problem…. I've been thinking about writing a post on it actually - so many images I see in magazines and on Pinterest look fabulous, but I wonder about the echo factor in them.
      The cupboards are 3 metres high, and I use the top parts for longer term storage items - serving bowls/ platters/ etc etc things that I don't use everyday. All the storage that is lower level is the everyday stuff. It doesn't bother me much - I'd prefer to maximise the storage that I've got and I just use a stepladder when I need to get those things down.
      As of the colour, usually there is a fruit bowl, kids toys and various other bits and pieces to provide colour!! The kitchen aid is the one thing that is colourful in the kitchen, but I do prefer a more neutral kitchen as I tend to think of it as a working space (although I always love going into other peoples kitchens that are colourful and fun and have a lot of decorative bits and pieces around… I just prefer my own space to be simpler). x

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  5. Heidi I love your kitchen! This post has been so helpful and the links to your older posts on the process are really appreciated. I'm on holiday just now and having a break from the computer except to read things on house design and pin them, when we return home we go into the final phase of designing our kitchen renovation.
    The cupboard wall is such a brilliant way to separate your kitchen from your dining area, really smart and so good looking as well.
    Thanks Heidi!

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    1. Thanks Dani! I've had a computer break for the past week too, and am just catching up! I'm so excited you're going ahead with your renovation - you seem to love your home so it's a good idea I think to stay and make some changes… I'll look forward to seeing your ideas and how it all comes together. Hope the trip continues to be wonderful! xx

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  6. I really like your design, the only question I have as I am a matchy macthy person, does it bug you that the oven finish is a huge contrast to the brass handles and tapware?

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    1. Hi stayday, No it doesn't bother me… I mix metals a lot in my Interiors at any rate, as I think it gives less of a 'show home' type feel. I think I wrote a post about it a while ago. At any rate, there's the black steel of the windows, the brushed stainless of the oven front, the brushed brass of the handles and the dulled down brass tap. The only thing that I wouldn't do in a space like this is shiny chrome. All the metal finishes are dulled down, so I feel they go together. Because I chose the grey cabinets, I wanted the warmth of the brass to avoid it feeling too clinical grey/ white/ stainless. x

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  7. Nice work Heidi. It looks great and its functional! Thank you providing all the links to your earlier posts, I am thinking of doing a minor update on my kitchen (ie replacing the aging wood finish on the cupboards with something more bland). I second the comments about open plan kitchens which leaves the mess on display for all to see. The less said about the show kitchen with the butler pantry the better. I cannot comprehend why you would cram a major work space into a cupboard.
    Love it when husbands have opinions about things that are not their area of expertise!

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    1. Thanks Claire… I have to say that I definitely felt like a had a client with this project!! My husband suddenly developed opinions about all sorts of things I was not expecting.
      The thing with open plan living is that the detritus of general life is on display for all to see. I think if you're an exceptionally neat person and don't have kids this is not a problem at all (or if you're someone that doesn't care much either way), but for anyone else you're looking at a mess most of the time. Laughing about the second kitchen/ butlers pantry… I had a client that told me she would be in the (very large, walk in but windowless) pantry slicing meats and cheeses and using her food processor. I just couldn't understand why she'd want to do that when she had an enormous kitchen at her disposal. x

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  8. Hi Heidi Great job Love to read your comments. I often wonder why people want a butlers pantry just seems like more cleaning to do. My son has just bought his first house ( his reno budget is very modest) and is really keen on knocking the wall out between his kitchen dining area and living room. I'm trying to temper that by saying a partially wall would not enclose the room too much and one really nice bathroom would better than 2 tiny ill formed bathrooms. I must say I like stuff in my kitchen but sometimes get sick of it so I put it all away and live with a minimal look for a while. What I love most is individualism let's not all do the same it's so boring
    Kind Regards
    Karen

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    1. Agree with you Karen - it's always good to see something different. I feel that there's been a big push from developers and real estate agents/ resellers to do a kitchen in a certain look (which is neutral, and has high end finishes and appliances)… it's always nice if someone just embraces what they like, whatever that may be.
      I think a butlers pantry can work well in some houses, and have seen them where they're also utility rooms (so incorporate the laundry for instance). When we had the children's birthday parties in May, I used our Laundry for overflow of stuff from the kitchen and that worked well (although it is not adjacent to the kitchen). But as I said in a comment above, a windowless pantry is not a good second work space, and I really hope that that particular client didn't use it the way she said she was going to!!
      Hope your son's reno progresses smoothly… tight budgets are tricky - give him the tip off about linoleum if he's redoing the floors! x

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  9. The rest of the family is still asleep, so I had to read your post with hands clasped over mouth because I wanted to shout YES YES YES at the end of every sentence and a lot of times without waiting for the end. I had a butler's pantry in an earlier, older house, and loved it, copper sink and all. A butler's pantry is great for storing china and silver and the best glasses, especially if it connects the kitchen to the dining room. Not a food prep area.

    Most "kitchen planners" that I've encountered are cabinet salesmen by another name, with a sideline in marble. When I've explained that I WANT laminate countertops because stuff spills and splashes during cooking and doesn't get wiped up immediately, jaws dropped. Am I the only person who ever thought of this? Imagine my joy in reading about a kitchen designed by someone who cooks, who is not compensating for the absence of family by buying appliances, who likes food -- oh, the potential for ecstasy!

    I'm at the point in my life where the odds are against my having to redo another kitchen - just counted on fingers and there have been 4, yep, 4 - but you never know where life will take you, and so I have decided that if I ever do have to redo another kitchen it will happen only if I have enough $$ and enough good luck to invite you to fly in for a consultation and sketches. Or at least to pay for an hour or so on Skype or equivalent.

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    1. oooh, I'd do a design consult in New York in a flash Fred! I'm sure I could work that into a good tax deduction/ holiday…
      But laughing a lot about your comments on kitchen designers etc. It's a strange thing that kitchen design has now evolved to mean that everyone is given the same solutions, regardless of their living situation or budget. The kicker on the kitchen is a good example of this - a kitchen designer in a showroom would never suggest you do that… we're all brainwashed now to think we need a recessed toe kicker for ergonomic reasons, but I've not found it a problem at all, and it looks better. I love laminate, and don't understand why it gets such a bad rap… same with linoleum. And then there are the unnecessary over the top appliances that are such big investments in a kitchen, and which most people never use to their capacity.
      Glad the posts have resonated with you, and always nice to find someone else with similar thoughts on the kitchen racket! xx

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  10. Love your kitchen Heidi - the lights are fab. I have tried to comment on your last few posts but must be doing something wrong! Your garden plans and water feature will be amazing - pity the birds aren't included! Heading overseas to warmer climates tomorrow, can't wait to escape the cold weather. Hope school holidays are going well. Enjoy the rest of the week - keep warm. Jo xx

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    1. Lucky you to be off somewhere warmer Jo, and good timing too with our ridiculously cold day yesterday!! How annoying you've been having problems commenting… maybe blogger is playing up again? Happy travels xx

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  11. I am overwhelmed at the design thoughts and plans that went into your kitchen. Everything you mentioned was something I want to remember. Your pendant fixture is gorgeous and it made me think of the one over your dining table. I love that you stated how using the materials appropriate for the space is more important than using what happens to be popular at the moment. I would love to see the wall with the fridge and the pantry, etc., open so we can really picture them. Perfection.

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    1. I'm really happy with the way the pendants marry with the dining area pendants, they've got a similar feel, but are separate in their own right too… as for opening up the pantry and fridge/ freezer…. well, that would take a big tidy up, and I don't have the energy for it at the moment, as it's school holidays and I'm only just managing to keep my head above water with the mess! Maybe in a few weeks?x

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  12. I like your lights best of all, really unusual ..I keep looking at dark pink/ crimson splash backs , am I going crazy ?

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    1. Thanks smr, I love the lights too - they're a bit like giant misshapen bubbles. No, not going crazy with your splash back colour - there is a bit of colour returning to kitchens, and you often find yourself drawn to specific colours in certain periods of your life…. if you love it, go with it! You won't regret it - I always go with something I have a strong pull to, and even if others don't like it it doesn't really matter as I do! x

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  13. I had a walk in pantry 2 homes ago and it was awesome. I've had kitchen and building salesMEN roll their eyes and make rude comments about women always wanting a butlers pantry these days! I think it is a reaction to the casualisation of cooking and dining. Our last house had the open plan kitchen sort of 'stuck' in the corner of the living area. Loved the kitchen I built but despised the location. Also I am so messy I cannot have a sink in an island, a great piece of advice an architect who knew me personally recommended years ago. Next house is being designed with a separate room for the kitchen. Is the tide turning.....?

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    1. I'd have loved a butler's pantry - would have loved somewhere to store the extra crockery and plates, rather than the high cupboards… but space constraints vetoed that very early on. At least I have a walk in pantry! I'm not fond of the sink in island, for the same reasons you mentioned - there's always something in there that needs to be washed. I have done islands where you have a half up stand - it blocks the view of the sink, but the rest of the island is open, which can work well.
      Very interesting that you're separating the kitchen in your new design. I wonder if the tide is turning then? The vast majority of comments on these blog posts have been about the impracticalities associated with open plan kitchens (TV/ noise/ mess etc), so perhaps others are having a rethink about it too? x

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  14. Where on earth have you hidden the 2 dishwashers? Are they behind the hinged doors by the sink - and if so, is it a fake hinged door or do you open the door to access the dishwasher door? Very curious!

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    1. They're behind the doors on either side of the sink to the left and right. I placed the handles to look like the doors are hinged (but they're not!). The joinery guy assured me that it wouldn't make any difference to the wear on the doors, so we'll see… so far no problems! I just didn't want a handle on the side and centred top compared to the other hinged doors to interrupt the rhythm of that run of cupboards. xx

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  15. Congratulations Heidi. The attention to detail is fabulous and has resulted in a beautiful home. Funny I had seen those lights when looking for my light for the alfresco area and loved them(not for that area though). I am still amazed at the prices of lights. The other thing I found is the poor range of outdoor pendant lights. Is it just me?? The other problem for me which you mentioned in another post is choosing between different styles especially when you like both the traditional and modern look. Ahh the problems of the modern world!!

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    1. Thanks L - your powers of research continue to amaze me! I think you have better product knowledge than me sometimes and you've definitely missed your calling!!
      I think that there is a poor range of outdoor pendant lights - not a lot of call for them, as they generally have wall mounted lights or more garden style up lighters etc that are suitable for outdoor use, and given how hard it can be to find good interior lighting it's no wonder there's so little choice around. The push/ pull between modern and traditional is a constant for me too. I'm happy with what I end up with, but when I see a really modern or really traditional space they both speak to me and make me question what I go for! Yes, modern dilemmas indeed! xx

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  16. Yes congrats Heidi! Love the kitchen in every part of its glory, the muted colours and the slender shapes and how the island is so elegant.

    I think good on you not having the big cavernous kitchen.
    Ours is big and wide (hopefully not too cavernous) and its where i work. But I've realised its good to have open plan when the kids are younger, but not now as they get older, different rooms works much better. And I am there all day working away at my computer station in the kitchen and its much too open, Im constantly being distracted (mostly by the kids' fighting.)

    Beautiful pendants by the way, they don't block anything and are a lovely line. I know we spent ages finding just the right pendants that don't block but have a personality.

    The only thing we totally differed from our architect was they wanted us to have a 10 ft (!) island which we both thought would be ugly and she thought would be luxurious.

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    1. Jody, I'm astonished that with 4 kids you manage to work from home in your kitchen! You definitely need a room of your own. Funnily enough I was reading about prefab outdoor rooms today http://backyardroom.com.au Have a look - you definitely need something like this to escape from your brood to!
      Lighting is so important! I know I keep harping on about it, but it does make a big difference. Crazy about the island - I had a client once that wanted a lot of bench space. I remember assuring her that 4 meters was definitely long enough. She kept arguing with me about it until I pulled out the tape measure, and showed her how long it was. When it was installed, she was pleasantly surprised at how big it was, generally people can't visualise space and want more so it's kind of funny that in this instance you, the client, was arguing with the Architect to make something smaller! x

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    2. I just procrastinated two weeks on an article so I would say the "station" in the kitchen does not work. (that is my excuse anyway...) Yes, I started doing some research on those pre-fab places (suggested to our architect and she wanted it custom and very zoomy, but I couldn't do any more construction so would consider very seriously a made up thing.

      My father kept telling us with modern design you need to have too many lights, many more than you think and that was good advice. Even now, we don't have enough in our wardrobes and outside and that is hard to fix after the fact.

      Anyway well done you, worth the wait and I fully expect to see you in Australian Decor

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  17. The kitchen looks wonderful, Heidi. It all works so beautifully together and you can see that you really thought about the design. I know the frustration of trying to decide on a design when the other half wants to have their say, so I feel your pain there!

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    1. Thanks N! Mr AV likes to think he's pushed me until we got the best result. I'd say it was a fairly painful process! xx

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  18. Lovely area Heidi. I too hate to see the mess of the kitchen from the dining area. We have a wall similar to yours that screens this off. I hate children eating all the time at the bench so I think the stools won’t be such a problem…maybe at breakfast? Having said that, we are enjoying using ours after me being opposed the stools for ever. Mr T had a habit of standing at the bench to eat his breakfast which really annoyed me, so now he props on a stool. I like a minimalist look too and really only have the kettle and a fruit bowl. Makes it easier to keep clean and easier on my eye. We spend so much time in our kitchens that we need to love them I think. We are now toying with the idea of a wood fire for the family room. I would like to build it in but Mr T prefers free standing. Any thoughts? Congrats again on a gorgeous kitchen. Tonkath

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    1. Thanks Tonkath - yes, breakfast or a quick after school snack would have been great to have fitted the three stools for. But the dining table isn't far away, so it's not a big deal. Interestingly a friend was recently looking to buy a house and the island (or lack of it) was a deal breaker for her with quite a few houses.
      You have quite a modern home design don't you? Seem to remember your Architect son designed it for you and it's mud brick etc? Or am I confusing you with another Commenter? Freestanding can look fabulous - this is a good blog post on different styles that could help you make a decision either way http://stylecarrot.com/2012/02/22/montage-31-freestanding-fireplaces/ xx

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    2. Thanks so much Heidi - Yes that’s me. My son didn’t design the house, just our renovations, (although he loves our house and talked us into buying it.) He has suggested freestanding as the way to go too (He actually sent me a photo of one today - must have read my mind as it was quite a while ago when we first thought about it) so now that you have as well, I feel a little more persuaded as I love your style. He is usually right as well and is firmly against built in for our space. Thanks for taking the time to answer and for the link - I’ll pop over now and have a look. Tonkath x

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    3. I may have answered twice as I think my first comment disappeared - Tonkath

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  19. Amazing! Well done!!!!! It is just beautiful!

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  20. Pendant lighting was well worth the wait. Stunning. x

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    1. Thanks HIH, they were worth the wait… I think. Not sure I could do it again though (the phone calls!!!!!) xx

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  21. wow, heidi! i so love your kitchen but am even more grateful that you have shared the explanation behind each crutial decision / detail. understanding the 'why' helps educate us mere mortals....and give us a better understanding of why it looks so damn good! tackling the negatives of the 'open plan' new missive is surprising; i thought i was a loner feeling discomfort with it!


















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    1. Thanks KL, I love designing kitchens so much, and am happy to give any information I have. I think if you get a kitchen right it just makes your life so much easier. Interesting that you also feel that open plan living isn't what it cracked up to be… I've been surprised that so many have said this! No one yet saying how much they love it either… xx

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  22. Really like your kitchen although I don't have a design bone in me. When we were designing ( yes I know I said didn't have design bone in me but hubby and I worked together) designing our home 11 years ago, big open plan spaces were definitely starting to gain major momentum but we bucked the trend much to everyone's horror. We created a separate dining room with a very large table and for our family it has worked very well. It is great to have family and/ or friends over regularly without looking at the mess ( and yes I like to cook but I create mess just like my hubby so at times mess is all you'd focus on). One thing we needed to do was raise bench height as we're taller than average so we asked for double height kick boards.
    Interestingly people we know who built after us and created big open plan spaces, ended up having work done to create rooms as heating and noise were big issues in daily living. Den x
    Ps i agree with your comments posted some time ago about education and the book "free schools". I wanted to comment when I read it but life gets in the way and didn't get around to it. So here it is. Our eldest started high school this year and it has been very interesting listening to everyone's opinion about our decision. Surprisingly, people are now coming out and supporting our decision and parents of year 6 kids (in sydney) are telling us that they support our decision and are following suit and loved having the book "free schools" to back their decision.
    Ps2. Thanks for your positive reply to my comments a couple of posts ago I think regarding trench coats.
    Ps3. Love your blog.

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    1. Your comments have made me smile Den! Re Free Schools I think with education that it's always a good idea to really think hard about your reasons for choosing a school for your children. Too many just follow what their peer group are doing I think… it doesn't necessarily suit all children or all parents for that matter, so it made for interesting reading.
      I like the sound of your dining room… interestingly I was reading the article in last weekend's Weekend Australian magazine, and Stuart Rattle (late great Interior Decorator) apparently hated open plan living, as he liked things to unfurl and reveal themselves in a house, rather than just being a big open plan 'ta-da' and its over so to speak.
      Looking at mess when you're trying to relax and eat with family and friends just doesn't work for me… sounds like you're the same xx

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  23. Hello Heidi!... I am in awe of your kitchen... it is quite beautiful and I adore those wonderful glass pendant lights. I am so impressed with the quiet beauty of this space and it is hard to believe that it becomes a centre of food preparation, and general chaos that all of my kitchens over the years have become! How wonderful that you can pack it all away and walk past and it all looks perfect! I really need to un-clutter as my island is a profusion of fruit bowls, flowers, ipad, phone charger, cloths, and and and!! Its superb and well done! xx

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    1. Unfortunately it only looks like the photos above for a short period Jenny.. I think that's why I've aimed for a calm palette and backdrop to it all with little visual clutter. Family life! But it does clean up easily… I just need to train up the children a little better so that I'm not the one doing it all the time! xx

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  24. Congratulations on your finished kitchen - it is so beautifully designed!! I must agree on the downside of having an open plan kitchen. The main floor of our house is open plan so the kitchen is completely open to the rest of the living space and dining area. The mess is always visible and causes much stress. If ever we move, I'm insisting on a house where the kitchen is at least partially hidden from view.

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  25. The kitchen looks wonderful. I really like the island and lighting. And everything looks so fresh and clean - I can't wait to renovate our kitchen.

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    1. I think after living with an unrenovated kitchen for a long time you continue to really appreciate clean, light filled kitchens Karen! Good luck with your renovation, I'm sure it will be worth it!

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  26. Hi Heidi, I am about to embark on a kitchen renovation, so I am so glad that I have found your blog. I love your kitchen and your advice has been invaluable. I was pondering laminate floor coverings as well, but I was starting to doubt this choice when I started to receive funny looks from friends :-). Did you paint the cupboards yourself? Can I ask who you used to make/install your kitchen? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Don't doubt the laminate! I think people just think of it as cheap and nasty as they think of vinyl (which laminate is definitely not!). It's hardwearing, and so easy to clean. Most people can't tell what it actually is and ask when they come in, and then are shocked (and really like it). I think people think of laminate as the marbleised tiles of old, but it doesn't have to look like that.
      I had the cupboards painted by the painter, although it is an easy thing to do yourself if you have the time and patience (you'll need to do good preparation to get a good finish). If you have melamine carcasses then you'll have to etch the melamine panels that you wish to paint before priming and painting with the enamel paint. The kitchen was made and installed by a commercial joinery company that my Builder contracted, they did all the joinery in the house including wardrobes and the bathroom cupboards too.

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  27. Hello Heidi
    I too am also about to embark on a kitchen renovation... Have loved reading these blog posts. I live in country nsw so am more limited as to what I have to work with... The kitchen company we are using has provided us with vinyl wrap, laminate or 2 pac options. I am not keen on the vinyl wrap as I have heard bad things and our wood heater will be very close to the finished kitchen. I like the hardiness of laminate but am not keen on the very plain profile finish. I love the look of the simple shaker profile of your kitchen but am not able to find a way I can achieve this without going down the vinyl wrap path? can you steer me in the right direction at all please? thankyou so much.

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    Replies
    1. If you want a routed door profile, such as the shaker style, then you can either have 2pak, vinyl wrap or the painted melamine, such as I have. Given the heat from a wood heater, you may well want to steer clear of the vinyl wrap, and as you say, I too have heard very mixed reviews on it. Your kitchen company wouldn't have offered the painted melamine to you as an option as it's not a common thing to do, but they can easily accommodate it if you ask. Basically they manufacture the kitchen as normal, but instead of sending the doors away to be sprayed in the 2pak finish they just install them on site. Then you can have a painter (or do it yourself) paint in an enamel finish by brush - but don't use high gloss. This works better if you use semi-gloss (and is a more traditional kitchen look at any rate). If you ever need to touch it up, it's a very simple thing to do when compared to the damage on 2pak. The key is to get a good painter - mine was excellent and you can barely see any brush strokes. Hope that helps, sometimes it's just knowing how to ask for things that is the tricky part :)

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  28. Hi! I have just stumbled upon this gorgeous blog. I started calling around re lino flooring and got laughed at when I asked about marmoleum sheeting...do you mind if I ask who supplied your flooring?

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    1. Hi Stacey, yes, that doesn't surprise me that you get that reaction. For some reason flooring companies just want to sell awful laminate click together floorboards. I had it installed by Terrace Floors on Glen Osmond Road, but most flooring places will stock if if you press them. It's from the manufacturer Forbo, and if you have a look at the colour range and have some idea of what you're after you should be able to get it - most domestic use linoleum is sold as floor tiles. These are the ranges you'd probably be interested in (less marbled, and more solid in colour) http://www.forbo.com/flooring/en-au/products/marmoleum/marmoleum-solid/bxzklm#anker
      Good luck!

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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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