Read how cultural experiences influenced the design of this interior.
When Simon and I met Deb and Russ, at their Gaythorne Unit, we knew they were the kind of people we wanted to renovate for. We had in common the appreciation of good food and the love of travel. With their overseas travel plans put on hold, because of Covid, they thought it time to invest in their forever home.
First time renovators, Deb and Russ wanted to modernise their home. They shared with us how being a military family meant they had lived in a lot of houses, around the world. The common theme amongst them was beige. They’d also travelled a lot for leisure and adventure. We could have sat for hours and listened to their stories. They wanted their renovation outcome to be modern in style but also unique to them…without a hint of beige.
“This is the first time we get to design a home to be ours and make it our own!”
You can see with the photos shared below how their appreciation of various culture played a role in the design selections for their home.
- Fix the kitchen’s functionality and design. They hated the kitchen!
- Execute a modern, contemporary design.
- Use a black / white / grey colour palette with a POP of colour.
- Get rid of any trace of beige.
- Refresh the appearance of the floors.
- Deliver a seamless look.
The Scope of Works:
- Deliver a new Kitchen design.
- Renovate the Ensuite bathroom.
- Install new Flooring throughout the kitchen, dining and living areas.
- Renovate the Main Bathroom / Laundry.
- Design and build a TV / Display cabinetry unit, that won’t be imposing.
Both Deb and Russ love to cook. Deb enjoys baking sweets and Russ makes a yummy sourdough. These two MasterChef’s were up against it with their old kitchen’s layout. They requested:
- More food prep space.
- A red splashback.
- Downsizing to a half size dishwasher to gain more cabinetry.
- A better location for their microwave. It was hard to reach.
- A pantry that gave more usable space.
- Brightening the room with cabinetry of white, gloss cabinetry.
- Integrated bins with a recycling bin included.
- Update their lighting in the room so it didn’t appear as dark.
Take a look at the before photo…
First Destination: Turkey
I asked Deb “Why do you want a red splashback?” She responded by telling me she didn’t want anything dull and that in fact red is the couple’s passion colour. Russ shared with me how Deb used to have red hair; which he absolutely loved. He buys Deb red roses frequently and tells me that red is “the colour been us.” How special!
I wasn’t convinced that Deb and Russ would have been happy with a standard red gloss subway tile for their splashback. It wouldn’t have been interesting enough for them. I went to work researching to find something unique. Confident they’d love what I sourced, I shared with them a sample of a genuine Turkish tile with a red and white floral pattern from Weaves and Wonders, Paddington. In fact, as soon as I showed Russ his response was “Oh hell yes!” They love the design and the colour and how very unique the tile is. Deb says “There is nothing like this tile anywhere!”
You can see how this bright, energised splashback is obviously the room’s focal point.
Keeping with their brief, we introduced a black with white subtle vein, quartz kitchen benchtop from Lithostone Surfaces. We also delivered:
- An extension of the bench by 1 metre.
- Black spotlight bar lighting.
- Black quartz double sink with nozzle tap.
- LED strip benchtop lighting.
- More storage space for their pots and pans.
- New location for the microwave, and more.
Next Stop: Portugal
The Ensuite was tired, dated and brown. Keeping with our black and white modern colour scheme we also wanted to introduce some drama into this space. They had already decided on black matte tapware.
They had a vision of a Moorish design style. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised when Deb was instantly drawn to the texture, lines, patterns and depth of the Patchwork Salt & Pepper Gloss Mosaic tile from Beaumont Tiles. You must see and feel this tile in person to truly appreciate it. It has a shimmer. A sparkle to it. Deb didn’t want anything subtle. Post renovation she’s told me that when in the shower “I can’t stop looking at them.”
Russ shares how he remanences about walking along the streets of Lisbon, Portugal and can see houses and buildings with the same style and mood.
We didn’t want to ruin the impressiveness of the feature wall with the inclusion of a recess (niche) so I came up with the idea of a floating piece of stone, that could be used as both a ledge but also a shaving footrest.
But design is just one aspect of a renovation, and we too were asked to improve functionality. We got rid of the small step-up closed-in shower and created a wet-room bathroom. Concerned of the size of the single glass panel and amount of water overspray that would occur Russ and Simon brainstormed and came up with an idea of a glass pivot swing panel door.
Large, 1200x600mm black floor tiles adds to the drama of the room. Being a small room, we used a lot of white to brighten up the space. With white wall tiles on the other walls, a white vanity and white sink. To create a seamless design throughout the home we kept with black taps, a black benchtop and black framed mirror. This mirror isn’t just any mirror. It too is a night light and has a built-in demister, so no fogging up.
Initially, we brainstormed the flooring options for the open plan living, kitchen and dining space. Timber flooring was mentioned by Russ, but Simon and I noticed that they didn’t have much timber furnishings or timber inclusions already in the home. Deb noted that she liked how robust tiles were. Originally, they had 300x300mm beige tiles. Yep, they had to go! All I saw was grout lines, everywhere. It was an obvious design choice to select a 600x600mm floor tile in a satin finish. Not a huge amount of grout lines, not too shiny (or slippery) and not as dull in finish as matt.
It was a challenge finding a tile suitable. Deb didn’t want any tile with too much veining. In fact, she said the veins remind her of spilt milk. HaHa. I won’t ever forget that analogy. 😉 She also didn’t want speckled tiles. It was a little challenging, but Tile Collective had on display this light grey tile, subtle in pattern. The Bora Ice Satin. You can see how light, airy and modern this living room appears now.
The Impressive TV Cabinet
During their expeditions and generally throughout their lives together, and as children, Deb and Russ had collected many special treasures. Items they were proud of or held a special place in their hearts. Items they wanted to display. Living in a unit they had downsized their collection of special treasures, so those that remained needed to take pride of place.
They wanted Us to design and build a Wall Unit / TV Cabinet for their living room. Their main concern was how it might be imposing in height and space. It wasn’t just a matter of designing a custom cabinet for the space, Simon had to make changes to elements of the wall and ceiling to make the unit work within the space.
We lightened the visual weight of the TV unit by incorporated glass doors, glass shelves and LED lighting within.
We designed a 3D render to help visualise the concept.
This design process allowed Us to fine tune details such as the cabinet’s sizing and configuration.
Learn more about the Value of 3D Rendering.
Given freshness of the wall unit and kitchen cabinetry Deb and Russ agreed it best to paint the open plan areas in the same Vivid White paint, to ensure a seamless, cohesive palette.
Last Call. Flight Leaving for Morocco
Originally, we weren’t going to show this Main Bathroom much love. It didn’t get used a lot. The bathroom was an L shape and it also doubled as the laundry room. The shower was over the bath. We brainstormed what would be the best focal point in this room. The vanity was only going to be 600mm in length, so that wasn’t going to suit. Pattern tiles are one of the biggest design trends. We felt that this 200m2 tile hit not only the colour palette brief but was of Moorish design. Why not… a floor focal point. But, with the floor and the black tapware and white/black vanity, Deb and Russ still felt the room was missing something.
Look closely in the mirror’s reflection and you will see two Moorish shaped mirrors hung, to compliment the space and fill the empty wall.
This room got a great amount of T L C after all.
Take your Seats, We’re Coming in for Landing.
Since finishing renovations Russ tells me how he feels much more settled he feels in his home and how the space feels more like home. You can’t get much better feedback than that!
We appreciated how Deb and Russ understood the importance of giving the small details attention. Not only the paint colour of the walls. We had a beautiful matt black tapware, fixtures and fittings, stone and handles throughout the home and so we too updated the ceiling fans throughout and lighting to match. As Russ summed up, “We grew to trust your opinions.”
Deb and Russ, it was a pleasure working with you to design and renovate your forever home.
Thank you for looking after Us and our team with the constant delivery of croissants and pies and sausage rolls. They were D E L I C I O U S.
We look forward to catching up again soon.