Gardner Avenue

Interior architecturally designed retro bungalow

We’re really proud of this renovation project, not just because it was featured in Haven magazine and was an entrant into an interior design competition, but more importantly, because it resulted in a great outcome for our clients. They initially came to us looking for a way to update the original 1940s kitchen of their art deco style home. Not only was it somewhat old and dated in appearance, its layout also wasn’t functional for their growing family.

The Brief

With an active toddler, this busy couple knew they needed practical elements and use of space, but also wanted a home they could continue to entertain guests in. This is a common request with clients who have a young family.

They need a kitchen and dining room that works for the family, yet they still love to entertain and have friends over for drinks or dinner. The trick is in creating zones that work for both purposes. They also asked if we could reconfigure the layout to allow more natural light into the space.

The Design

As we weren’t able to extend the existing footprint, we had to be smart about how we could use the existing floor space to create an open plan kitchen and entertaining space. We met the client’s request for a larger, open-plan space by removing the laundry and bathroom walls and building a built-in laundry space and a small walk-in pantry. By removing the windows on the boundary, we were able to dedicate one end of the kitchen to the utility spaces, allowing us to keep the rest of the kitchen open, simple and functional. We then opened up the exterior wall from the kitchen to the deck by adding large windows which flood the kitchen with sunlight.

We removed an old arched doorway and opened up the opposite end of the kitchen, creating a smooth connection to the adjacent dining room and entertaining area. A small yet functional breakfast bar was added to create a spot where kids can sit up for breakfast or friends can enjoy a glass of wine. The balance of having a family-friendly space that was also inviting for entertaining was met with clever use of space.

When it came time to select materials for the project, we used an approach that works extremely well for all of our renovation work. We bring in elements that will modernise the home (in terms of durability, warmth, power and water efficiency, etc) but that also complement the look and feel of the existing style of the home.

For this home, we recycled timber flooring from the house to line the outside two faces of the breakfast bar, as well as create shallow shelving to one side of the pantry. In contrast to the warmth of the timber, we introduced a white stone benchtop that was custom made to include a brass insert that continues the language of the fittings in both the cabinetry handles, plumbing and lighting.

In keeping with the art deco style of the house, we used a dewy grey green colour for the kitchen cabinetry and a pale shell white for walls and ceilings. The brass in the benchtop connects the kitchen and breakfast bar, and is mirrored above in the hanging brass tube lighting feature.

The Result

With clever use of layout and design elements, we were able to modernise an old kitchen and make the most of the home’s art deco style. We found the perfect balance of having kitchen, living and dining areas that work practically for a busy family while also being warm, inviting entertaining zones. Because the adjacent walls of the old laundry and bathroom were removed, the family decided that a bathroom renovation at the same time would work well and enable them the find some cost efficiencies in using the same tradespeople on-site (plumber, electrician, tiler, plasterers, painters). The new bathroom has an improved layout that provides a better flow and space for storage along the wall.

The added colour and brass detail of the mirror and pendant lights repeat the art deco style of the kitchen and add a little old-school glamour feel.

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