The days of the high breakfast bar are over and an island servery is in.
The days of the high breakfast bar are over and an island servery is in. Photo Elizabeth Allnutt

Cooking up kitchen renovation ideas

I HAVE seen many beautiful kitchens but also a lot of kitchen nightmares as a cabinetmaker of 15 years.

The kitchen is the heart of the home - it's where the whole family comes together.

I try to tell people who are renovating their home to do the kitchen first.

If you're going to live in a renovation for the next two years, having your kitchen done first gives you a glimpse of hope for the other rooms and a sanctuary to sit and talk in that it isn't a demolition site.

Remodel or renovate?

Before you start, consider remodelling the kitchen: new doors, panels, handles, sink, taps and benchtops.

This is a great option if you love the layout of your kitchen as it will save you money.

I went through a six-month stage where every kitchen I did was a revamp and they looked unreal and saved my clients a fortune.

Starting from scratch

Still thinking of a new kitchen? Great. Where do you start?

First, measure up the space you have for your kitchen. Now measure up what you could have for your kitchen.

Stick your head around corners and see if you can utilise the space through a wall, into a cupboard or even moving your kitchen completely. I know what you're saying, this is going to cost a fortune!

Just for interest's sake, let's allow $10,000 for the cabinetry, $5000 for the benchtops and $5000 for new appliances.

That's $20,000 for your new kitchen. Don't get disheartened though, this would be a pretty flash and sizable 2 Pac kitchen with 40mm stone tops and some great appliances.

But there are a lot of different products you could use to get the price down such as vinyl wrap, melamine or laminate benchtops.

We have come a long way from the old dark timber melamine doors with the bright green laminate bench tops. They come in gloss, matte, satin, grain and textured finishes.

Once you've got your mud map on paper it's time to start drawing up what you want and suits you.

The days of the big high breakfast bar are over. One large island bench or servery is the way to go. Somewhere for the family to sit and talk while you're busy in the space.

You've probably heard everyone talk about the "triangle". The theory is to have your fridge, oven, sink/work area in a triangle shape so you can move freely to each of them.

In saying that, the triangle can be an odd shape depending on your space.

Another item I don't see a lot of anymore is the big oven tower with microwave.

These days most opt for a long galley-style kitchen with an oven in the middle and a hidden rangehood and overheads.

Once you've got some designs on paper, it's time to call in the experts.

If you would like to shop locally, I would suggest you call two or three cabinet-making businesses and have them design what you want and quote it with a couple of different variants.

For example, 20mm stone vs 40mm stone vs laminate benchtops so you can see what fits your budget.

It's also worth noting, 40mm stone isn't actually 40mm, it just has a 40mm edge.

When they quote, make sure you get a price for a mitred 40mm edge.

This means you won't see the join on the edge.

I hope this helps on the deciding factors of your kitchen. Try to use the KISS principle - Keep It Simple, Stupid - and everything should work out great.

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