The original kitchen from the real estate listing

I haven't done a Before and After of the house for a while, but I think this one is a pretty good transformation. Originally this room was the kitchen in our house, and would have been a kitchen from the time the house was built in 1901. It had last been renovated in the 1970's, and we used it as a kitchen/ dining room for the first three years we lived in the house up until the time the new extension was completed. We had made some small adjustments - during the renovations of the front of the house prior to moving in we'd bricked up one of the doors into the kitchen to the small adjacent servery (which became the children's bathroom), leaving one access point from the hallway.


and my non real estate (no wide angle lens) listing photos - this was just prior to demolition of this room

The other additional problem with this room is that the cellar is directly underneath it, and when a bathroom had been added onto the back of the house the original stairs were covered over, so a hatch had been cut out and a very steep stair/ladder added to access the cellar. As part of the extension we reopened up the original stair location which enabled us to remove the hatch in the old kitchen floor and re-board over the floors. A bedroom with cellar access would have been a little odd...

 same angle as the top photo with a bit taken out for the powder room

The kitchen was definitely past its use by date, but the main problem that I had with this space related to the change in use and the plan for the reorganisation of rooms that we made. This room faces South so gets very little natural light, not ideal for a Child's bedroom, and was something that is exacerbated by the veranda that runs around the entire perimeter of the old part of the house making it even darker. The other thing was that I planned to take out a corner of the room to create the Guest W/C/ powder room with access from a new door in the hall. This bedroom was already going to be the smallest bedroom in the house, and was becoming even smaller by removing part of it for this purpose…. coupled with it being dark, having no interesting architectural features such as cornices, deep skirting boards or a fireplace (as it was a kitchen, these things had never been put in the room), it really was the worst room in the house.



To overcome all these deficiencies I decided that the best way to deal with the small space was to build in furniture. We needed to accommodate a desk (for future study, as my son is currently only 4 years old), bookshelves, somewhere to sit, a wardrobe, bed and bedside table. The room could easily have ended up feeling crowded by all these disparate elements, but by blocking the wardrobe, bookshelves, desk and seating into a custom built in unit I designed, it freed up floor area for playing, and created a neat and practical storage solution. With the absence of visual clutter the room feels more spacious than it is.


I designed this unit to run along the wall that has the window, as our windows are unusually low it precludes having standard height furniture like a desk or bed against it as they would cover over it. So the seating for the room is a window seat with a deep cushion and built in storage under, a wardrobe to the left of this, and on the right a built in desk with bookshelves above that are covered by doors when not in use. The desk has a pin board backing to it and built in power points for a lamp and for computer charging points.



In terms of colour choices for the room, that was determined by my then 2 year old Son. I really believe it is important to involve children in the design of their bedroom. Even very small children can usually tell  you what colour they want their special space to be. I do try to balance this out though by making a room that can grow with the child into teenage years. It was therefore a slight challenge to be informed by my Son that he wanted an orange bedroom - his favourite colour. There was absolutely no way I was going to paint the walls orange - it's just not a restful colour, and I worried that he may well not want an orange bedroom as a teenager at any rate, particularly if it was so in your face. So the Anna Spiro for Porters Paints wallpaper "Higgledy Piggledy Stripe" in Chilli Coral was the perfect choice - all the white balances out the orange nicely - it's cheery and bright without being juvenile or unsophisticated. My son then said that he wanted light blue for his blind and window seat cushion - his second favourite colour. So China Seas "Aga Reverse" fabric in turquoise was the final choice (he approved all samples of wallpaper and fabric). The wallpaper needed a vibrant blue, rather than a pastel.


The main problem I then had was bedding. Unfortunately in Australia if you have a boy your choices are either blue (navy or sky) or grey bed linen. Any turquoise is usually in girls bedding and comes with flowers, as does anything with orange - usually it's balanced out with pink. In the end I ordered from the US from Serena and Lily a turquoise bedspread and matching pillow shams. I also ordered a white doona cover with orange frame border… it was irritating to have to do this, but I held off buying it for over a year in the hope that something would turn up locally that would work - nothing did.




The bed is from Lilly and Lolly (Australian company), who manufacture in Australia, and is solid Tasmanian Oak. It's the colour box bed and matching single drawer bedside table unit. I've been really happy with the quality- very solid, well made and should last a long time.



The bedside lamp is a cheapie from Freedom Furniture that fortuitously matched the turquoise colour with the shade and cord, the artwork above the bedside is from Tiggywinkle children's boutique in Melbourne who carry a large range of original artworks suitable for children. The artist is a botanical artist, so it's a beautifully detailed illustration. The other art in the room is the large framed animal alphabet scarf over the radiator, and the room really doesn't need anything more than that. I've hung all the artwork deliberately lower - you are supposed to hang art with the viewing point at eye level, but as this room is for a small child I decided to keep the scale low by hanging it lower - it works better with the low lines of the bed and bedside table too.


It's now a really cheery, cosy space that perfectly reflects the personality of its inhabitant. He loves his bedroom, and will often take himself off here to spend time looking at books on his windowseat, or playing stretched out on the floor with his cars or Lego. Hopefully it will also be a room that grows with him with only minor adjustments into his teenage years.




Details:
Wallpaper - Anna Spiro for Porter's Paint "Higgledy Piggledy Stripe" in Chilli Coral
Paint - Dulux Hog's Bristle 1/4 strength semi gloss enamel
Fabric - China Seas "Aga Reverse" Turquoise on Tint
Bedlinen - Serena and Lily "Cabin Quilt" and Sham in Turquoise, "Border Frame" duvet cover and sham in Coral
Furniture - Lilly and Lolly Colour box bed in Tassie Oak, single drawer bedside table in Tassie Oak
Lamp - Freedom Furniture
Carpet - Quest "St Louis" colour Kendall Coal
Pendant light (not seen in photos above) - Bell pendant light from Normann Copenhagen 

48 comments:

  1. What a beautiful space for your little fellow, he is a lucky boy. I love the combo of orange and blue, so cheering.

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    1. It really is a lovely room now - definitely doesn't feel like he got the wrong end of the bedroom draw, which was what I was aiming for as it really has few natural assets.

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  2. Bravo! How wonderful that your 4 yo had input. Mine would request Octonauts themed everything!

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    1. I won't go with the licences characters for bedroom themes HIH! In that case I'd suggest the turquoise colour of the octopod or something as a starting point to distract them from the fact that it wouldn't end up being very themed at all…. but they'd still think they'd thought of it all :)

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  3. I love this room! Orange and turquoise is a fav colour combo of mine. (I love brown and aqua too, my year 12 formal dress LOL memories)

    You did a really great job. The window seat is genius! I love all the built in furniture. So well designed (I mean, of course! DUH)

    The bedding is beautiful. LOVE the orange banded one. US for bedding ALWAYS. (I fell in love with a Yves Delorme range at David Jones. but so $$$ and not on sale, but I found it on a US site on sale, waiting for a shipping quote)

    I love his ark!! Lilly and lolly is a beautiful shop.

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    1. Thanks Laura! Agree about the lack of bedding options (that are reasonably priced too), and have bought all our Frette bedding from overseas (via Gilt) even with the shipping it usually works out much cheaper than locally…
      The ark was a first Christmas present, and then he was given animals by family and us for Birthday and Christmas for the first couple of years (when he couldn't really care what he was given at any rate and we had so many toys for babies we didn't want more!). Now he has a beautiful Ark set… although it misses key pieces like a Noah! It's just a boat full of animals at the moment :)

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  4. Is that gas central heating I can see the second to last photo? I've been outside of Adelaide in London for so many years that I don't remember seeing that in Adelaide. Unless I'm mistaken?

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    1. It's hydronic heating - so just like in London with the radiators and a gas boiler unit for the water that runs through it all. It's still not very common in Adelaide, but is very popular in Melbourne and is becoming better known in Australia in general. Having lived with it in London and then going to our friend's places in Melbourne with it made me decide to do it here. Best heating form and so cheap to run!

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  5. I love the room bc most kids room don't translate to other ages but I feel i could sleep there! Personally I never spent time in my bedroom and was always out but it helps to like your room and know there are no monsters lurking! ;) x

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    1. I used to spend hours in my bedroom as a kid, and would frequently move furniture around, rearrange things and do a lot of lying on my bed reading as well - you clearly needed more siblings to escape from :) Definitely no monsters in his room, it feels very cosy and I think we managed to successfully banish all remnants of the depressing kitchen space that was there before.

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  6. A beautiful bedroom Heidi. I am currently trying to sort out a nursery and I have absolutely no idea. I always get great ideas from your blog posts, so thanks for sharing your sources e.g. Lilly & Lolly. Your son's room is gorgeous and I particularly like the built in furniture x

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    1. So exciting to be planning a nursery Fifi! There are so many beautiful baby things around now - gorgeous designs for cots and play furniture. Do you know what you're having? xx

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    2. I have bought most things but not sure how it will fit and look in the room with my lack of spatial awareness! We are having a little boy and I do agree that here in Australia it is pretty much mostly blue available which limits choices a little xx

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  7. Great colours in that room and I particularly love the turquoise bedcover. Terrible finding masculine looking bedding for sure here! Tonkath

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    1. I love that bed spread too Tonkath, it's great quality and has nice detail on it - it worked out well in the end, even if it was a bit of a pain to have to order o/s (plus expensive…). I'm not sure why suppliers haven't cottoned on to the fact that there is no male oriented bedding that is plain but comes in more variety than navy blue/ grey?

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  8. I love that room- it's so cheery.

    Before kitchen is crazy- you've really achieved so much, well done x

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    1. You two have lots in common with your love of orange. The kitchen was far worse in person. Looking at the photos of it it seems a million years ago now, but all the cooking and hours at that sink with the bricked up window! Not fun!

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  9. I don't think I had the slightest interest in my personal rooms until age 30. Very wise to involve him in this interesting project. Having to view on phone so can't yet get a better peek but all your choices look like good ones.

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    1. You sound more like my oldest. He isn't terribly fussed with his environment beyond the practical, but my youngest has more opinions on everything!

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  10. Shocking before-and-after, what a change! The orange and blue is cheerful but also handsome, perfect for a boy and not the usual thing. The window seat and built-ins are completely brilliant, great job on the design. This room will see him right to Uni. xo

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    1. It's such an enormous change Dani! The before photos don't really show the true extent of the disaster that was the old kitchen. The new room is so clean and cosy and colourful, it's just unrecognisable. xx

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  11. I love the Lilly and Lolly bed with matching bedside table. Very nice! And of course it doesn't scream "kid's bed!"

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    1. Thanks JLT, and I too liked that the bed was quite modern and streamlined and could morph into later teenage years as well.

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  12. Great post Heidi ...lovely room ... my son who is almost 22 has the same lamp!! I had so much trouble finding suitable bedding for my boys - ending up getting them from Sheridan and my oldest son has a turquoise stripe in his that matches the Freedom lamp exactly. Love the window seat - could see myself curled up there with a book. Might even finish the Rosie Effect so I can give you a review - have been reading since 2nd January and only half way through!! Enjoy the school holidays - my boys finished Uni today and have two weeks break. Have a great weekend. Jo xx PS Enjoyed your last few posts but a bit late to the party with comments xx

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    1. I might have that Sheridan set too - is it very colourful on the reverse Jo? It was literally the only thing that had the right colours in it, but it was for a double bed, and he has a single which wasn't ideal from a fit perspective. A lot of the adult ranges with the right colours don't make up for single beds, and the kids ones can have trucks/ rockets and other things all over them which I didn't want… all quite frustrating. Enjoy the holidays, first term has gone so quickly xx

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  13. Orange and blue is one of my favourite colour combinations Heidi.. I love the freshness of the scheme and the liveliness! Such a successful transformation! xx

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    1. Thanks Jenny, it's definitely the most colourful room in the house, but a nice departure from my usual neutrals. It certainly suits the occupant though! xx

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  14. Wonderful how you've turned that room around Heidi. Fabulous result. Love the built-ins and window seat too. So good you consulted him - and that he feels so happy in the room. Am a great believer in consulting children and giving them the thrill and confidence of going with their advice.
    When I was a child my mother let me choose the wall colours, curtains and carpet for my room. I was over the moon at the time - now I think my choices were probably hideous. But my parents never did anything to indicate that. I do remember that the carpet was Axminster or something similar, woven with enormous pink and mauve hydrangeas. Wish I had a picture just to see if it was as bad as I think it might have been. We moved states when I was 13 so only spent a few years in that room. I also had one of those gigantic old dressing tables with tiers of small drawers on either side of a huge oval mirror and large drawers below. At my request they painted it light pink to match my carpet. I loved that dressing table but apparently it was considered too big and old to take to Q'ld when we moved (probably would have been hugely expensive to move).

    Love your little one - he has real style and originality for one so young. He'll grow into a delightful young man. Pammie xxx

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    1. He's a very funny little personality Pammie! He may well grow into a handful though - he can charm his way around most people!
      Love the sound of your childhood bedroom, and I'm sure that carpet would be highly fashionable these days. You've obviously always loved beautiful flowers :) What a shame you didn't get to spend longer in it though with the move and had to leave the dresser behind. xx

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  15. Brilliant - especially the built in bookshelves and table. What a lucky boy!

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    1. Thanks Liene, he is a lucky boy! It certainly doesn't feel like the worst room in the house now.

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  16. Heide, I think the room is just lovely. Great colour choice of your son, clearly got his designer genes from his mother. I think you executed all of his needs perfectly. I am going to show your design to my daughter in law who is looking to do something similar with our grandsons room.
    Marilyn xx

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    1. He does have a bit of an eye for design Marilyn - it's interesting how easily you can identify it in kids at such a young age. My oldest is not remotely interested in design and definitely has more the brain of an Engineer, rather than an Architect! xx

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  17. What a transformation - well done, Heidi!!! The room looks cheerful, smart, and young. But still sophisticated with the stylish fabric on the seat cushion and Roman shade. Thanks for sharing the sources. Cheers

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    1. Thanks Loi, it's a bit of a departure from the rest of the house which is more neutrals, but it doesn't seem to jar too much, and certainly suits my youngest! x

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  18. I love it! Beautifully executed. Looks as if there was a fire on that stove! I love orange and turquoise together. They really bring out the best in each other. So nice the children are involved in design.

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    1. Thanks Stephen! Thankfully there was never a fire on the stove, but the exhaust fan didn't work so there was a lot of steam damage on the wood cabinetry above from my cooking.
      I love to involve the kids in the design of their spaces, but sometimes our visions don't quite meet up which can be a challenge :)

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  19. Hello Heidi,

    One would never guess this was once a kitchen area - what a transformation! Having built in furniture not only saves on space, but as mothers around the globe well know, children are like magnets for clutter which can become overwhelming as items creep into the house (gifts and knick knacks).

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    1. Oh the clutter!! It drives me crazy! I've decided that around the age of 6 children turn into natural hoarders - there's all manner of bits of artwork/ craft projects/ plastic bits from goody bags/ and general mess that they like to spread around the house. The playroom was the biggest step forward for me on that front - going from open shelves to closed (with doors) cupboards means it just looks neater most of the time, even if the interior of the cupboard is a horrible mess. Built in furniture really does make a huge difference on that front…

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  20. What a lovely bedroom for your littlest boy! The framed scarf is stunning and I love the colour scheme! Is the cabinetry hand painted? I would love to know what colour you used for it as well if you are happy to share? We are organising cabinetry now for our new house and I can't decide on colour and whether to go for the expense of hand painting again. Emma xx

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    1. Thanks Emma! Yes, the cabinetry is hand painted - I don't like 2 Pac due to the fact it can't be retouched when chipped. It's been painted in Dulux Hog's Bristle 1/4 strength Semi- Gloss enamel. I also like Dulux Fair Bianca or Antique White USA as well… xx

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  21. Great transformation Heidi. Orange my favourite colour too. My sons room looked great til he was about 16 and over the years filled it to the brim with stereo ,speakers, tv, sporting gear etc. It's all gone now thank goodness. I've just got to re decorate it now and turn it into a guest room.

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    1. Thanks Karen! I'm actually dreading the hoarder/ teenage years with the children as I know their rooms will be completely horrendous… particularly teenage boys. Guess I'll spend a lot of time shutting the door! You must be thrilled to be on the other side of all the 'stuff' that teenage boys have and be getting a guest room! x

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  22. This is fantastic Heidi. I'm sure you've posted photos of the kitchen before, but I'd forgotten how dire it was. I can't believe you put up with it for 3 years! Well done. The transformation is remarkable. I, like others, particularly love the fitted cupboards and window seat combination. Fabulous. My girls share a room (at their request) but I'm wondering if at some stage they will want to separate. I let them get involved with the design but this basically meant that I gave a very loose interpretation of my brief from them (pink/princess/etc) and gave them carefully edited selection of paints and swatches. We've ended up with a light green and dusky pink combination that is very sweet for girls but hopefully will transition us beyond the princess years!
    I remember seeing pictures of your daughter's bedroom with the wonderful headboard and curtains. Have you ever done a post on your other son's room? I'd love to see it! x

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    1. I can't believe I managed in there for 3 years either… plus ate in there! It was pretty awful, so cluttered (most of the stuff had been removed for these photos as I had cleared it for the demolition) and just dirty in a way that couldn't be cleaned.
      I tend to do an edited design for them and present a couple of options, and then they pick what they like - there is definitely a limit to how much I involve them, which sounds a little like what you did with your girls. The colour combo you've described sounds lovely Charlotte, and I'm sure it will transition well into teenage years, even if they separate at some stage.
      This is the post I did on my oldest's bedroom in the first weeks of the blog - http://adelaidevilla.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/before-and-after-bedroom.html but it doesn't look a lot like that now! I've put a desk and shelves in where the teepee was for his homework and there's a tonne of semi-permanent Lego installations in there now. xx

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    2. Fantastic - just checked it out. Another fabulous headboard and I love how you have hung the curtains high off the window. There must have been a vogue for hanging the poles as close as possible to the window and the proportions look off when people do that (like the in the before photo). xx

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  23. Wowwee, what a change. Isn't it great to look back on all those old photos to see just how far you've come. Your kids' bedroom are so smart and pulled together. I need to re-do Tallulah's and i should try and emulate those every elegant fabrics, her friends have drawn all over the walls which I definitely want to leave up, so perfects it will always looka bit of a shambles. She wants one of those beds with the drapes over the top and always has and i regret not getting her one at first instance. Well some nice bedding would be a start.

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  24. Just catching up on your blog. Love this room. My kids would kill for a cellar leading down from their bedroom (imagine the adventures) but I would not be a fan!

    It is all looking great Heidi and I love the garden.

    T
    xxxx

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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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