A Crafty Remodel Recasts a Dreary Kitchen as an Inviting Jewel Box

A Crafty Remodel Recasts a Dreary Kitchen as an Inviting Jewel Box

By Melissa Dalton
A revised layout, smart sight lines, and an earthy palette turn the back of this Australian home into a relaxing hangout spot.

Paul and Mark purchased a 1910 sandstone Victorian villa in the Adelaide suburb of Largs Bay—however after living in it for a while, they noticed a few things about the kitchen and dining room at the back of the house. "Other than going to the refrigerator or cooking dinner, we rarely used the space or sat at the dining table," they say. "The whole space felt dark and uncomfortable."

The rooms had a poor layout, fussy finishes, and crowded windows—so the couple embarked on a remodel with Adelaide-based Fabrikate to turn the space into a place where they could happily linger.

Before:

Before: The sink had a window, which was bordered on either side by tall, columnar units—including storage spaces and the refrigerator.

Before: There was a bathroom at the end of the room through the door. "The bathroom we inherited was faux country style, with green and cream tiles, dark fussy heavy wooden fixtures, and lots of unused, cold floor space," say the owners. "It was dark, at times damp, and very uninspiring."

Before: The dining room sat at the other end of the long kitchen run.

The homeowners did not want to change the existing footprint of the space, which measured about 516 square feet and included a dining area, kitchen, and bathroom. Working from the same footprint would allow them to maintain the scale found in the rest of the 1910 house and preserve the flooring.

"The preservation of the architectural shape and original footprint and flooring was key for us to maintain the space’s story and connection with the rest of the house," say the owners.

Fabrikate started by borrowing space from the bathroom—decreasing its size provided room to expand and better organize the kitchen. They were able to fit an intermediary pantry space between the kitchen and the bathroom door, while also reducing the number of tall and upper cabinets. This layout fostered a lighter and airier feel throughout. 

After:

Fabrikate wove a tactile palette of earthy tones throughout the new space, which includes blackbutt cabinetry, cement counters, and handmade backsplash tile from Spain.

Custom metal rails suspend cooking implements within easy reach.

In the dining area, a built-in bench provides storage space and a spot to sit while socializing with the cook—or looking out into the backyard. "We call it our ‘nook,’ and now we spend mornings there with our coffee while mentally preparing for the day ahead," say the owners. "With its outlook onto our backyard and the morning sky, it’s a beautiful space. We often meditate in this nook and have wine (or whine) time there, depending on our mood!"

In the new dining area, a Dreamweaver pendant from Pop & Scott is suspended over an Agostino & Brown Jam table in oak with a navy powder-coated base. Bleached ashwood Nym chairs by Pedrali surround the table.

A whitewashed oak bench installed under the window provides additional seating and storage.

The design team widened the door to the backyard.

A new window allows items to be passed from the kitchen to the outdoors, for easier entertaining.

Fabrikate also widened the door to the backyard and added a server window over the sink, to bring in more natural light. In the bathroom, a ribbon window provides another glimpse of the outdoors. "The new slit window that was added across the top of the bathroom space is one of our favorite features," say the owners. "It frames the season, weather, and time of day, [conveying] changing colors and moods throughout."

Shop the Look


The bathroom door is now centered on the rear wall, and an intermediary pantry space buffers the bathroom from the kitchen. The upper cabinets to the side of the sink have mesh inserts.

The pantry provides more storage and allows clutter or small appliances to be stashed away.

A custom arch mirror in brass from Pop & Scott makes an eye-catching statement in the new bathroom. "The introduction of a curve was very important to break up all the lines and soften the bathroom space," Fabrikate says.

The walls and floor are covered in large-format Cerbis Ceramics Frammenti tile. The upper walls have a Wall2Floor Render finish from Adelaide Custom Coatings. The blackbutt vanity by Timberwolf Design sports a Studio Bagno Silo Nucrete basin concrete sink.

The high window brings in light and views of nature without sacrificing privacy.

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