Our kitchen: design details, paint colours and renovation info

After sharing the renovation details of our bathroom, many of you asked for the same information for our kitchen, so I thought I’d dedicate a post to our kitchen renovation and the design decisions we made.

Designing our kitchen was one of my favourite parts about our renovation. Because we’ve designed a kitchen before — in our last house in London, I have a bit of experience under my belt. I’ve also learned what I like and what I don’t, what works and what doesn’t. Kitchens are the heart of the home; at least this is the case in our family.  We are always in the kitchen. We knew that when it came time to make budget compromises with our renovation, the kitchen is the one room in the house we didn’t want to skimp too much on.

I began by looking on Pinterest for kitchens that inspired me and looked like they would suit our old home. I created a board to collect ideas, and in the end I was most inspired by this kitchen and this kitchen. I also spotted this photo (which happens to be a photo of my friend, Natalie Walton’s kitchen in her last home), and knew I wanted to incorporate a spice jar shelf like that. In general, I knew I wanted a more traditional-style kitchen, one that would look like it’s always been in our home. This helped keep me focused when buying taps, appliances, lighting, etc.

I knew, from our last home in London, that I love the shaker-style type of kitchen with painted wooden cabinetry.  I also remember admiring the UK-based kitchen companies, Plain English and deVOL. When I discovered this kitchen on the deVOL website, I knew I wanted to incorporate the same combination of brass pulls and painted wooden knobs. I love the simplicity of the wooden knobs, and liked that it didn’t make the kitchen look too fancy or shiny. So I had a good idea of what I wanted, and it was only a matter of finding someone to make it.

Finding a kitchen company or joiner to make this style of kitchen here in Australia proved to be a challenge. It became apparent that this type of kitchen, while more common in the UK, is not very typical here in Australia (perhaps too old-fashioned?). When I used the term ‘shaker-style’ with various kitchen companies, no one knew what I meant. It was a challenge to simply find a kitchen-maker who saw my vision.

Then, a friend recommended David from D Hinged Kitchens, and I was so thankful he was interested in our project and up for the challenge! I met up with David several times to go over the details of the joinery, and I was appreciative that he was as obsessed with the tiny details as I was. 🙂  For example, I had spotted this photo on the Plain English Instagram account, and knew I wanted to incorporate similar grooves in our wall cupboards. I also wanted exposed brass hinges, an integrated rubbish bin and dishwasher hidden behind the joinery, pull-out drawers within cupboards for pots & pans (similar to this photo), etc. Essentially, I printed up a lot of specific design photos and shared my vision with David, and he was thankful for the guidance and attention to detail.

Here’s a list of resources and notes about our kitchen:

    • While I drew the basic sketches and outlined where I wanted everything to go, our architect, Fiona Gibson, created the detailed drawings. While I think you could probably renovate a kitchen without architectural plans, it makes it so much more of a seamless process to have them, and easier for the joiner too.
    • The joinery was all done by David Harris of D Hinged Kitchens, including the pantry shelf unit to the left of the fridge and the shelving within our enclosed pantry. We are so happy with how everything turned out.
    • We splurged and bought the range cooker of my dreams. I’ve long admired the Lacanche cookers, and when I called to enquire about timing and delivery, they told me that if I placed an order that week, I’d be able to make the September quarterly delivery from France. Something about the urgency of placing the order enabled me to stop overthinking and just commit. It’s a huge investment, but it’s one of my favourite things about our kitchen.
    • While we weren’t prepared to invest in Perrin & Rowe tapware throughout the house, we decided to splurge on the kitchen tap. We figured it’s the one tap that will get used all day long, every day, so it was worth the splurge. It was also one of the only options for a traditional-style bench-mounted brass tap with separate spray rinse. (Opting for the brass finish definitely limited our choices). We bought ours from The English Tapware Company based here in Australia.
    • The Belfast sink is from BelfastSinks.com.au. I always like a big sink with a centre division. It’s nice when doing dishes to have one sink for clean dishes and one for dirty, or one for doing dishes and the other side for washing hands, etc.
    • I loved our Carrara marble bench tops in our London kitchen, but when it came time to choose a marble for this kitchen, I kept finding myself drawn to something warmer in colour. We discovered ‘Blanc Marble’ at Finestone Granite & Marble, and liked that it is overall whiter in appearance and the streaks are more of a warm grey and light brown than a colder grey. It’s slightly more expensive than the Cararra Marble, but we are so happy with the decision.
    • For the drawers, the dishwasher pull and the bin pulls, we opted for the classic cup pulls in unlacquered brass finish. We ordered all our brass cabinet knobs and pulls from House of Antique Hardware in the US, and we’re so happy with the quality of it all. The other cupboard knobs in our kitchen are simple wooden knobs painted the same colour as the cabinets.
    • The walls in the kitchen are painted the same as the rest of our home: Natural White by Dulux.  For the kitchen joinery, we simply opted for Natural White in double strength. (I had no clue you could do this with paint colours. You can double strength any colour for a richer version. You can also opt for quarter or half-strength colours, for paler versions.  I will admit that having these options gave me a minor panic attack in the hardware store when faced with all the options, but I’m so happy with the result.) Because we chose the double-strength of Natural White, the walls and cabinetry compliment each other so well. There’s enough of a contrast, but it’s so subtle.
    • The pendant lights above the island bench are the Chelsea Pendant Lights from Dunlin Home. We had several pendants in our London home from Original BTC and we were so happy with them. When searching for Original BTC lighting here in Australia, I discovered Dunlin as the Australian distributor. We now have several lights throughout our home from Dunlin and the quality is amazing.
    • We love the retro look of the Smeg fridges and couldn’t resist buying the cream-coloured FAB50. I will admit that this was a purely aesthetic decision, as the fridge itself is not known to be the best quality, but it sure does fit nicely in our kitchen, and so far we have no major complaints.
    • The spice jars on our shelves are from Stow & Co, a local company offering sustainable, zero-waste pantry storage options.  We got the Stow Complete Pantry and are so happy with the quantities of jars, etc.
    • We bought our bar stools from our good friend, Jeremy of JD.Lee Furniture. Jeremy makes all his furniture by hand in his local workshop using sustainable wood and materials. It was another investment, but one we are so happy with.

I think that’s it in terms of details, but please let me know if you have any other questions. I could talk kitchens all day! : )

Courtney xx

The photos above were taken by Kara Roselund for The Design Files and Amelia Fullarton for Bellerose. 


Comments (47)

Esther in Amsterdam
January 17, 2019

Can you come and do our kitchen please? Everything is beautiful in detail and design. Well done!! xxxxx

January 17, 2019

All so beautiful and a really helpful post to someone who has been trying to plan a kitchen for a year and is struggling to commit!! Sometimes Instagram inspiration makes it harder!! Where can I find your bathroom renovation post?

Courtney in Australia
January 18, 2019

Thanks Gillian. I’m so glad it’s helpful for this reason. I think I linked to the bathroom post in that first sentence of this post. But here it is again: https://babyccinokids.com/blog/2018/09/27/our-family-bathroom-renovation-details-and-final-photos/


January 17, 2019

Perfection! I do have a few questions if you don’t mind:
What are the dimensions of your center island?
What is the distance between the island and the wall counter?
In terms of design, have you learned any “what-not-to-do” lessons?
Oh, and is that space above the fridge intentional and will you fill it with something?
Thank you so much for sharing!

Courtney in Australia
January 20, 2019

Thanks for your questions! Here are some answers:

Centre Island: 900 x 2000 mm
Distance between the island and the wall benches is 1200mm

I haven’t learned so many ‘what-not-to-dos’… but here are a few things I have learned. Most builders try to talk you out of using wooden floors in your kitchen, but we’ve never had a problem and love that wooden floors are easier to stand on and more forgiving if things are dropped. I also love the natural element and warmth of a wooden floor. Many people also try to talk you out of using marble on the bench tops, but we’ve never found it to be as high maintenance as people say. I’ve learned that I personally love symmetry in the kitchen — so I love having a kitchen sink centred on a window, or centred in an island (for example), and then I like to have the space on either side of the sink symmetrical. You’ll see in our current kitchen that we matched the bin cupboard to the dishwasher on either side of the kitchen sink. We also matched the wall cupboards. I just think it’s really pleasing on the eye when things are symmetrical like that.
Most people tell you that you have to have a tile splash back behind your range cooker. We didn’t put tile behind our cooker in this kitchen (we did do it in London), and we haven’t regretted that decision. I like the simplicity of the walls remaining the same throughout that kitchen elevation.
Let me know if you have other specific questions. Happy to help! xx

January 17, 2019

It’s beautiful, Courtney! Could you share where you found your bridge faucet? I’m currently on the hunt for one and the only one I’ve found that I love so far is crazy pricey! Thank you!

January 17, 2019

I see it now! Sorry wasn’t used to the word tapware! Ha! #american – thanks again for a lovely post

Courtney in Australia
January 18, 2019

Haha! So many different ways to say kitchen taps! The Perrin & Rowe taps are expensive, but they’re so much better than the other ones we bought for the bathrooms and laundry room. Totally worth the investment! x

January 17, 2019

It’s so beautiful! Is there a reason why you left a gap in the ‘alcove’ where the amen fridge/freezer is, are you plannning on putting something there? Also, how did the new/old floor merge together in the end? Love all your design choices! X

Courtney in Australia
January 18, 2019

Thanks for your comment.
The gap above the fridge was intentional — we were hoping the top of that nook would match the top of the spice shelf to the left and the top of the pantry door to the right. In the end, it’s slightly higher, which was a building mistake. We are considering adding a shelf above the fridge to make use of that space, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.
The new and old floors merged pretty seamlessly. We sanded back the original floors and put the same finish on the new and old floors, so they would have a similar finish and colour. Of course you can still tell the new from the old, but it’s only obvious if you look. x

January 17, 2019

Courtney – do you have another, hidden pantry with boxes of cereal and baking powder and stuff like that? 🙂 I would worry that I’m not cycling through the products in the jars. Such a lovely kitchen, thanks for sharing.

Courtney in Australia
January 18, 2019

Hi Annie,
Sorry, yes! I should have said. To the right of the fridge is a sliding door and inside there is a small walk-in pantry where all the cereal boxes and tinned tomatoes and other less pretty things go. 🙂 I’ll share a photo on my IG next time I’m in there. xx

January 18, 2019

Thanks for your post, I always love hearing the details of my favourite kitchen designs. I found your comment interesting about the difficulty you had finding shaker style kitchens. They are everywhere here in Sydney, particularly in the suburbs on the North Shore where I live. It tends to suit all the old style homes found in this part of Sydney.

January 18, 2019

Such a lovely kitchen. Thank you for sharing the details! I would love to hear about your experience with marble countertops. Do you find they get stained or etched, especially with children around? And did you have yours sealed?

January 18, 2019

Hi Courtney! I’m in awe, great job, Michael and you should consider becoming interior designers! I would like to know about some lessons you learned on the way and mistakes to avoid -especially for beginners- maybe you already did this with your first renovation but i’m relatively new to the blog. I live in Germany where people need to make their own kitchen and this just motivated me to an activity that I used to regard as a tedious investment. X

Annie from Brimful
January 18, 2019

Simply beautiful! ❤️👌🏽

January 18, 2019

I know the post is about your kitchen and it does look very very nice, but what Marlow’s hair and socks had stole my heart))))

January 18, 2019

Beautiful kitchen, so bright and such a calm space. I was wondering what products you have beside your sink? I’m always looking for hand wash and cream recommendations to stop the inevitable dry or (cracking 😌)hands. Thank you 😀

Courtney in Australia
January 20, 2019

My favourite products are the Koala Eco ones. They’re all made from 100% natural ingredients, lots of Australian essential oils. They smell so good and really work! https://koala.eco. x

January 19, 2019

Thank you for the tour of your beautiful kitchen! I wonder where you keep all your groceries? I have more than double the amount of fridge and freezer, but l still lack space. How do you manage?

Courtney in Australia
January 20, 2019

Hi Therese,
I should have said in this post! We have a small walk-in pantry, just to the right of our fridge. It’s where we keep all the groceries, cereal boxes, pastas, sauces, etc. And because of the height of our ceilings, the space goes up quite high and is plenty of space.

January 21, 2019

Hi Courtney! First of all many congratulations for the stunning results, your kitchen and the whole house are simply beautiful! My question regards the type of paint finish you used for the walls and doors (all wooden parts really)in your kitchen: when you say Dulux Natural White, which type of finish did you use, opaque, semigloss or satin? thank you very much, Isabella

Courtney in Australia
January 22, 2019

Hi Isabella,
We used low sheen finish on walls and semi-gloss on trims.
And I believe we used the same semi-gloss on the kitchen cabinets.

January 22, 2019

Hi Courtney, this is my dream kitchen 😍. Just wondering where you got your brown jars at the top of your pantry shelving?
Thanks, Sandy

Courtney in Australia
January 22, 2019

Hi Sandra,
Thos brown jars are part of the Stow & Co offering: https://stowandco.co

January 22, 2019

Hi Courtney I absolutely love your home, it looks beautiful. Would you mind if I asked where your dining table is from please? I have been looking for one forever! Many thanks from London! Sarah

Courtney in Australia
January 22, 2019

Hi Sarah,
Our dining table is from West Elm. It was quite affordable, given the size and design. And I believe they used sustainably sourced wood to make it. x

January 23, 2019

What a great kitchen ! Well done . So white and fresh but warm with wooden floors and other details . I really like it. Love the containers for your flour etc and your honesty about your fridge. very generous to give so much detail. Thank you .

February 11, 2019

Hi Courtney
Just wondering if you used a different paint colour for your internal doors and ceilings? Or just the natural white? Thank you

Courtney in Australia
February 11, 2019

We painted our ceilings with Dulux Vivid White. But all doors and trips and woodwork was painted in Natural White, but in a different sheen level. I believe walls were painted in low-sheen, and trims were painted in semi-gloss.

March 30, 2019

how has no one asked about your skirt!?! it’s gorgeous, and I’d love to know where it is from

April 8, 2019

Hi Courtney,
I just wondered what finish your Perrin & Rowe kitchen taps are in? Is it aged brass or polished brass? Thanks so much! x

Courtney in Australia
April 9, 2019

Hi Emma,
I believe it’s the aged brass — definitely not polished!

Nikki Boag
August 6, 2019

Your kitchen looks beautiful Courtney. May I ask what paint colour you used on the paneled ceiling, skirtings and timber window/door trims throughout the house? Thank you

Courtney in Australia
August 7, 2019

Hi Nikki,
Thanks for the nice feedback. We used Dulux Natural White on all the walls and trims, skirtings, windows, etc. The ceiling is Dulux vivid white.
Hope that helps. x

August 18, 2019

omg where is your outfit from? sooo cute!

November 12, 2019

Hi Courtney – thanks for sharing all of these details! I love hearing where people shop for home renovation projects. I wondered about your rangehood. Were you able to find a slimmer model so that it does not look as large once boxed in? Is it simply boxed with drywall? Thanks again!

April 7, 2020

Dear Courtney thank you so much for sharing all the great life style stuff. I would like to ask about marble countertop in the kitchen – werent you afraid about the practical issues? Does it demand any surface protection ?
Thank you in advance for reply. Hugs from Poland 🙂

Courtney in Australia
April 9, 2020

Hi Aga,
Thanks for your questions. We have found that the marble is not as sensitive as so many people warn you about it being. If you wipe up red wine and lemon juice quickly, it doesn’t tend to stain or leave markings on the marble. Yes, it will chip and dent if you drop something hard on it, but I don’t mind the more natural looks of wear and tear over the years. I asked myself if I walked into an old French farmhouse that had marble countertops, would I be put off by chips and stains? No, I would think it was charming.
So it’s up to you. If you want a counter top that won’t ever be damaged, you should probably go with one of the composite materials (they even have some that look like marble!). I just wanted the natural feel of the real stone. I hope that helps! x

May 15, 2020

Hi Courtney, please can you kindly advise the brand of the large glass storage jars (2nd bottom shelf) are from? Thank you, Nicole

July 29, 2020

This kitchen tap. is it the polished brass finish or the satin brass?


October 16, 2021

Hi Courtney,
would you like to tell me where this skirt is from? I really like its pattern. Thanks a lot. x

Courtney in Australia
October 25, 2021

Hi Katharina,

The skirt is from Bellerose, but it’s 3 years old now, so it might be tricky to track down. Here’s the link to Bellerose: https://www.bellerose.be Maybe they have something similar?

June 12, 2022

Hi Courtney, how are you finding the fridge, now that it’s a couple of years old? Thanks!

Courtney in Australia
June 16, 2022

Hi Rose,
We are happy with the fridge! Sometimes we wish we had more freezer space, but apart from that, it’s been fine for us. (I know they’ve upgraded their models and now they offer a fridge/freezer where the freezer is on the bottom — I think that would be so much more handy.)

June 29, 2022

Hi Courtney, Love your kitchen 🙂 Just wondering what material you used behind your gas cooker? It looks like vj board, but is it a cement version. I know a non combustible material needs to be used behind the cooker and as I’m not a huge fan of tiles it would be great to know what you used. thanks!

Courtney in Australia
July 1, 2022

Hi Chantel,
I believe it’s just regular VJ board, but there is some fibre cement sheeting behind it. We have no issues with it and never regret not tiling the wall. Hope that helps. x

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