The kitchen and dining area (pictured below) switched places during the redesign. “Andrew and Emily wanted a larger dining area and a smaller kitchen space,” say the architects. The couple enjoy having guests over, so creating a large, open-plan space to entertain was important to them.
A sleek, modern kitchen in crisp white replaced the dark, dated units, and black accents were added for a chic touch.
The architects describe the finished result as a blend of modern Scottish design and Scandinavian style.
The dining area, which used to be the site of the kitchen, now has a beautiful original flagstone floor. “It was underneath four or five layers of linoleum,” say the architects. “It took quite a lot of work to strip that back.” The newly exposed stones were treated with an industrial sealer as this is one of the busiest rooms in the house.
At the heart of the new kitchen/living space is a large peninsula unit that divides the cooking and living areas. “It’s perfect for dining,” says Stevenson Bretton. “And the whole space suits how people want to live nowadays.”
Simple, handleless units in a soft grey were chosen as they blend into the background, which is ideal in an open-plan living space. The tap and sink from the original kitchen were reused. “They were the only things we managed to recycle from the flat as it was before,” says Stevenson Bretton.
Ripping up the carpet revealed the home’s original floorboards. “They were in beautiful condition,” says Stevenson Bretton, who had them sanded back and stained. “That was a huge bonus, as new flooring never looks as good as the original,” she adds. “These boards are narrower than boards you typically buy today, too.”
Although this is an extreme makeover, it wasn’t a case of ‘no expense spared’. To keep costs down, Chachignon tried to keep some appliances in their original positions. “The sink wasn’t even, so we had to juggle the furniture around to integrate each piece into the space we’d chosen for it,” says Chachignon. “For example, the benchtop isn’t a perfect rectangle.” But the result is an incredible transformation.
The old kitchen was ripped out, doorways were taken down and so was a large wall, which created an opening that now leads to the new kitchen’s dining space.
“The age of the building and its [heritage] listed status put considerable constraints on the kitchen design,” says Goldsmith. “Certain features had to be incorporated, including a well that was discovered halfway through the renovation, an original set of stairs that had been boxed in behind a wall, ceiling beams and an original farmhouse door.”
This is the original set of stairs that was revealed during the renovation. “The staircase couldn’t be removed, meaning the width of the kitchen couldn’t be increased and there wasn’t an option for a completely open-plan layout,” says Goldsmith. “But it’s now a fabulous decorative bookcase and really gives an insight into how the building looked originally.”
Perhaps given the original state of this apartment, the designer’s brief from the owners was no surprise: “To create a light and airy space,” says Rossiter. “They wanted a contemporary feel, too, with a nod to industrial style – exposed bulbs, et cetera.”
The kitchen is now open-plan with a light, airy feel. Before any cosmetic changes were implemented in the apartment, the main living space was knocked through to combine rooms and increase the space.