Elle’s renovation diary: kitchen

Elle Lovelock reveals shopping tips, storage advice, and the lessons she learnt from her kitchen renovation.
Photography: Alana Landsberry

Home Beautiful’s editor-in-chief Elle Lovelock shares her kitchen renovation diary to help you tailor the heart of your home. Watch the video above to discover more. 

Get more storage 

My kitchen isn’t a big one, but people are often surprised to discover how much storage there is behind all the joinery. And it’s no coincidence. I measured the height of cans, jars and baskets, as well as glasses, stacks of plates and small appliances and designed the kitchen to fit everything in.

For example, instead of having three drawers at 200mm high each, I went with 150mm 200mm and 250mm to fit all my pantry items from tinned tomatoes to flour canisters. I also used a couple of other clever hacks: children’s wall-mounted book shelves (try Etsy or Ikea) make the perfect condiment racks for mounting inside pantry doors, and they look chic.

And, for overhead cupboards, typically they come with only one shelf, so get an extra one put in so you can fit tumblers in the middle, and wineglasses on the top and bottom. Most cupboards come with bracket holes so this is an easy retrofit for an existing kitchen, too.

Start with the appliances 

Appliances will dictate how your kitchen is laid out. It’s been a dream of mine to have a big Ilve cooker – the reason we renovated the whole house! (We had to knock out walls to redesign the kitchen and one thing lead to another…) But being exposed to so many options I wasn’t sure which brands to go with for the rest of the fitout.

Thankfully, the product experts at Winning Appliances guided me. I took my floorplans into their showroom and met with one of the team members. He asked me questions like how many people live in the house, what do we like to cook, do we entertain? Along with my budget and the measurements from my plans, these questions helped to narrow down which appliances would be perfect for me. What’s great is anyone can go in store to get this unbiased advice.

Mixing and matching is the ultimate way to create a kitchen tailored to your lifestyle. And, in case you’re interested, I went with an integrated Fisher & Paykel French-door fridge and freezer, the Franke sink and tap, integrated V-Zug dishwasher and a Whispair extractor fan, which I sometimes forget to turn off it’s so quiet.  

(Photographer: Alana Landsberry)

Choose materials realistically

I love the look of natural stone, but in reality, I also love tea, red wine and curry. Plus, I’m a messy cook. So I chose a Caesarstone benchtop and splashback in Calacatta Nuvo, which is much more forgiving and easy to maintain than marble. I did learn, however, that if you have your heart set on marble but you, too, are a messy cook, you can get what’s called a ‘bulletproof’ finish on the stone, but it’s pricey at about $1000 per square metre.

Speaking of withstanding the knocks of daily life, my joiner recommended we take the stone down the side of the kitchen in a waterfall design since it faces a high-traffic hallway. It wasn’t what I originally envisaged, but now I love it – and with a toddler in the house, it’s certainly paid off!

(Photographer: Alana Landsberry)
Feeling inspired? See more of Elle’s renovation

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