Like most people, we moved into our home three years ago with a huge to-do list, which we've been chipping away at ever since. From our very first walk through we could see the house had amazing ‘bones’ – character features and historical references we instantly fell in love with – high ceilings, sash windows, french doors, dado rails, polished wood floors, a beautiful verandah, just to name a few. Although we loved almost everything about it, we felt the heritage style + colour palette chosen by the previous owners didn’t suit our style or family and didn’t fit with the ocean side location; so, we set about changing the street view of the property and all of the interiors, in an effort to create a fresh, casual beachside setting to suit our family's love of the outdoors / beach lifestyle.
The latest project we’ve ticked off the to-do list is a kitchen update. The original kitchen had a heritage theme with murky green tile and walls, Jarrah bench tops, brass hardware and very minimal food prep space. The room is situated in the middle of the house without exposure to much natural light, which made the original colour scheme dark and depressing with very little storage and hardly any bench space. It was my least favourite room of the house and a space I was always keen to avoid (although perhaps that had something to do with my aversion to cooking!):
For us it was important to freshen the space and encourage as much natural light as possible (we are all-out natural light junkies over here - never enough). We wanted to stick to the relaxed coastal vibe we’d chosen for the other rooms of the house and also wanted to consider resale value by creating something classic and understated, catering for a variety of tastes if we ever go to sell. With a growing family, sticking to a tight budget was also part of the plan.
The existing cabinetry was new and although it wouldn’t be our first choice, it was an un-offensive white and in great condition, so we decided to save some money by keeping it and working the rest of the scheme around it.
When it comes to classic and timeless I am a huge fan of white, so given the cabinetry and the lack of light in the space I didn't need much more convincing to use a combination of white and timber for the basis of our update. This neutral option not only means it will be less likely to date but will hopefully appeal to a broader market if we ever decide to sell.
First up was changing the paint to match the colour we chose for rest of the house – Dulux White Duck Quarter. Changing paint colours can have the hugest impact when it comes to interiors and it certainly made a huge difference in this case - eliminating the maroon dado rails and murky green wall paint, instantly freshened up the space. As I wasn't a huge fan of the high gloss heritage cabinetry I wanted to take the focus off the cupboard doors by using white door handles, sourced from IKEA. This helped to make the cabinetry less of a statement, effectively blending it in to the rest of the scheme.
Next to go were the dark Jarrah bench tops, which were tired and worn from water damage. Ideally in their place we would love stone benches, but given our tight budget we opted for white laminate to further freshen the space and promote natural light. The change over from dark wood to white tops made an incredibly huge difference – again everything instantly felt cleaner and lighter, which was a huge win for our brief.
We opted for a farmhouse sink with a stainless steel ceramic handle mixer to suit the relaxed coastal vibe we were trying to achieve, while giving a subtle nod to the heritage of the home. The mixer also has an extendable spout - a great practical function for washing pots and rinsing the sink - I never knew how much I needed a tap like this in my life until I had one! Seriously, do it.
Given the lack of natural light and the fact that we wanted to create something timeless and classic, we chose a traditional matt white subway tile with white grout. The cabinetry is high gloss, so the matt tiles help to tone it down. The combination of the cabinetry, new sink and handles create a fresh, light and understated vibe perfect for layering colours, timber and greenery with accessories.
The final inclusion of an oak topped island bench from IKEA, two Life Interiors timber topped stools and some timber shelving bring warmth to the zone and offer more food prep, storage and seating space.
The final result delivered a casual-classic vibe, which can be styled to achieve a modern / farmhouse or in this case coastal aesthetic. Now I actually enjoy spending time in the kitchen (even though I'm yet to find a love for cooking!) and the girls have a spot to sit and talk to me while making dinner or organising their breakfast or lunch.
Next project on the list will be to install a skylight above the kitchen, to bring in some much needed natural light. Stay tuned...