As with all original Queenslander homes, the rabbit warren layout of dark internal spaces does not really match a modern-day preference for light-filled, open plan living that connects seamlessly to the outdoors. Flipping the floor plan and tearing down walls lets the light shine in, writes designer Sian MacPherson on her latest renovation project with a twist on custom kitchen design.
After completing our first Queenslander renovation project in a relatively fast turn around time of four months from the date of purchase to date of sale, we decided to take a different approach with the latest project. With our new life in the sunshine state proving to be a little too laid back for our liking, it was decided that the best thing to do for the whole family was to up the ante and increase stress levels 1000 per cent by renovating a home while living in it with teenagers studying their final two years of school. Best decision we ever made? The jury’s still out on that one.
Produced in partnership with Cosentino
Relocating the Heart of the Home
The design brief we set ourselves for our latest Queenslander renovation was relatively simple. Create a family home that allows everyone their own space to escape to while also ensuring a central living area to bring the family together. While the decision to flip the existing floor plan on its head was a quick one, the actual process of doing so turned into a bit of a drawn-out saga thanks to a revolving door of tradesmen contracted to fix previous poor workmanship. The end result was worth it, with a kitchen that now functions as the heart of the home rather than the poky after-thought it once was when positioned in the back corner of the house.
A kitchen that captures the city views while creating an island slash ‘feedlot’ with an indestructible surface for thumping teenage boys to hoover down a seemingly endless supply of meals was the overarching design objective for the new kitchen floorplan. Working with a relatively tight budget for the entire project was made much easier by choosing to use flat pack cabinetry with custom made door and drawer fronts taken care of by Arkie Designs; creating a custom kitchen design with a budget-friendly twist.
Designing the Layout
After sending through an initial design brief and supplying the floor plan and dimensions, Arkie’s Design Advice Service helped to ensure I had the kitchen layout nailed. As part of Arkie’s design service, a three-dimensional design render was supplied which made ordering the flat pack cabinets a walk in the park as it’s all laid out in the detail of the design. The 3D plan also keeps the installation process a lot less stressful when project managing the renovation yourself with the entire kitchen able to be installed just six weeks after ordering the cabinetry fronts from Arkie.
With five different types of timber flooring used throughout the house, a black Japan stain was used to unify the space and allow a seamless transition from room to room. This then formed the decision to choose a matte black anti-fingerprint finish for the cabinetry fronts in order to create a sense of depth to the kitchen while also contrasting against the quarter strength lexicon white walls.
“Designed to bear the brunt of busy family life, the kitchen materials are hard wearing and easy to clean. Thanks to specifying dozens of benchtop surfaces for design clients over the years, I knew from the get-go that Cosentino’s Dekton heat-resistant, ultra-compact surface was just the ticket for both the island bench and cooktop area.”
– Sian Macpherson
Designed to bear the brunt of busy family life, the kitchen materials are hard wearing and easy to clean. Thanks to specifying dozens of benchtop surfaces for design clients over the years, I knew from the get-go that Cosentino’s Dekton heat-resistant ultra-compact surface was just the ticket for both the island bench and cooktop area. Selecting a non-porous, stain-resistant surface like Dekton was a no brainer when it came to cladding our virtual feeding trough after having played the stain game on just about every surface imaginable over the last 20 years.
As teenage boys generally don’t want to waste time looking for cutting boards tucked away in cupboards and wiping up after themselves, a scratch-resistant benchtop became a number one priority for our kitchen redo. I should also confess here that the copious amounts of red wine consumed in this household at the best of times, let alone while enduring a pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, also influenced my decision on using Cosentino’s Dekton ultra-compact surface product in order to cut down on my OCD cleaning and stress levels.
As a heat and scratch-resistant surface, Dekton’s 12mm ultra-compact surface in Zenith was chosen for the three-metre long island bench while the separate cooktop area features textured black ultra-compact surface, Sirius. I really like the texture and the matt black colour of Sirius and find it surprisingly easy to keep clean. Having had marble kitchens in a many of the previous homes we have lived in, as well as the experience of burning a nice big round memorial to my cooking on my mother’s timber kitchen bench, I decided to make life easier for myself and go with the indestructible beauty of the ultra-compact surface that I could just set and forget. This means the boys can make the most of the house as ‘free’ whenever we’re away and I don’t have to worry about anything other than who is going to unpack the dishwasher when I get home.