Just for the record, Anne & Mark’s pastel-perfect kitchen was one of the first releases from our new studio.
Price guide*: $30K - $40K
...So, they encouraged Bre to be brave and push the pastels, to which she said ‘hallelujah!’...
As soon as we met this fab four from Torrensville, we knew we’d love them: not only do they love to cook and bake (hence the need for a new kitchen) but they also love their music. So, one of their top priorities in the families renovation was a bespoke cabinet for the turntable and collection of vinyl. Before that, however, the floorplan of their Bungalow would need a serious remix. And all during a time of COVID-19 lockdowns and the huge move for us to our new headquarters. They turned out to be perfect clients who loved everything we did and didn’t make a single change from our first presentation to installation. Simply the best.
We are family: Anne works from home and Mark is a painter. They have two daughters, Joni, who’s five and Martha, who’s just one at the time of writing. They bought their bungalow in Torrensville in 2018 and after googling ‘kitchen designers Adelaide’ and going from page to page, Anne founds us, “I loved every kitchen on the projects page. It had the feel we were after”. The original floorplan was a traditional Bungalow layout, with three bedrooms at the front, either side of the central passage, leading to a separated lounge and small, eat-in country-style kitchen.
The brief to Bre was to create an airy, open-plan kitchen and loungeroom out of the two side-by-side bedrooms, to encourage the girls to get involved in the cooking and provide space for a family dining table where they could all break bread together while the record player, presumably, gets everyone into the groove. Then, the kitchen-that-was could become Joni’s bedroom. What that meant was a clean slate for a kitchen that could solve all their problems. Wouldn’t it be nice?
As their inspiration, Anne & Mark saw the Scandi candy kitchen we’d built for Olivia & Nathan’s ultra-cool, mid-century home in West Beach back in 2018 and they especially loved the tonal pinks. So, they encouraged Bre to be brave and push the pastels, to which she said ‘hallelujah!’. They were also very open to the use of melamine, which is a great material when used with style. At last, of course, they also wanted as much storage and bench space as possible, with some open shelving and push-to-open cupboards above, and all drawers below instead of doors. You got it.
They were also just as definite about what they didn’t want, though: no strip lighting and no obstructions on the counter. What they were after was a clean, stripped-back look that would help the limited space seem even bigger. So, the sink and cooktop had to be integrated into the benchtop, the rangehood needed to be concealed and the microwave was destined for the pantry. That way, everything could be uptight and out of sight.
Making the most of the open space, the idea was to make the kitchen and lounge morph into one totally useful area, with the dining integrated as part of the kitchen and the same materials used across the kitchen, dining and lounge, featuring melamine as the star attraction with some Tasmanian oak features. The lounge needed to incorporate a home office area for Anne beside the fireplace with a credenza and that obligatory deck for the turntable and shelving for the records. Well, let’s get it on.
...Anne says, “The new space makes sense, everything now has a place and we utilise the kitchen table and island all the time. The island has been used for wine nights, birthday parties and kids homework.”...
This was to be one of the first presentations in our new Strathalbyn workshop. In fact, it might well have gone straight to number one but, unfortunately, the COVID-19 lockdown in July delayed our presentation by a week or so. As soon as we could get Mark & Anne up for the presentation, though, they loved everything with no changes. As Anne said, “Bre was able to understand our very vague brief and make something amazing” They paid the deposit that night and none of us could wait to get going for these shiny happy people. (Right now, for Bre, it seems every little thing she does is magic.)
Once the initial renovation had taken place, opening up the two bedrooms to create the space for kitchen and lounge, we got to work on the blank canvas. Despite some slight delays from suppliers due to COVID, it didn’t prove to be an issue.
Bre had taken a walk on the wild side and proposed some bold colours but, once again, Anne & Mark loved them. The laminates chosen were Wilsonart Rosy for the island and below the benches with Wilsonart Khaki for the tall cabinetry and a neutral palette for the tiled splashbacks and overhead units. A whiter shade of pale?
As you’ll see, the kitchen space divided nicely into three working zones:
To achieve this last little feat wasn’t easy to pull off because a comfortable table height is lower than the 900mm working height for the bench. But we think it comes together. To make the loungeroom end of the table kiddy-safe, we added a gentle 200-mm radius. No woman, no cry. But what adds extra interest is the 50-mm matt white tiles from Cerbis Ceramics, taking inspo from Olivia & Nathan’s kitchen. Our once-in-a-lifetime tiler, Tommy, patiently and painstakingly cut each tile perfectly to the curve of the table. He then fitted the same tiles to the splashbacks, which – by comparison – was as easy as a Sunday morning.
The other feature, which is now a firm favourite on our playlist, is Tasmanian oak, which we used for the open shelving unit, the custom handles for both pantries created by Auburn Woodturning, the edging to the laminate benchtop, the support rails and legs for the table, as well as a 25-mm shadowline across the top of the cabinetry below a pelmet, which adds a little more visual theatre to the room.
Bre was also able to steer Anne towards several delightful acquisitions from trusted suppliers, such as: the white Lo & Co Luna pulls, which really pop against the pink; the kitchen mixer in Posy from the (then newly released) Aura Collection from Abi Interiors; the playful Arcade pendant in two-tone pink from Dowel Jones; and the Piper bar stool & Bobby chair from Design by Them, straight from Bre’s own wish list.
In the lounge area, the walls either side of the fireplace provided the perfect spots to build in the other two major requirements. First, Anne’s work-from-home desk/credenza (which will also be where Joni and Martha do their homework) all ties into the rest of cabinetry, using Laminex Fresh Snow with a solid Tassie oak edge. And, last but by no means least, there’s a new home for the hifi and the record collection.
We’re truly grateful to Anne & Mark for being so open and positive. We’re very pleased to report they are thrilled with the results of all their hard work and ours, which has truly changed their lives. Anne says, “The new space makes sense, everything now has a place and we utilise the kitchen table and island all the time. The island has been used for wine nights, birthday parties and kids homework.”
“We love our new kitchen. Not only is it super functional and meets our needs as a family of 4, but is so cute. Everyone that sees it comments on the colour, sometimes with a little curiosity.” Take a good hard look at this project because we really believe it might just change your mind about melamine.