Kitchen Renovations

A warm and welcoming kitchen fit for a chef

Anyone and everyone can whip up a meal in this functional kitchen
Photography: Brigid Arnott

As a retired interior decorator, Cathy Cooke has been planning the renovation of the kitchen that she shares with her husband Michael and 28-year-old son Nathan for years. “My aim was to cook great food and drink good wine in a place that feels like home to all,” she says.

A generous three-metre island bench, with some special inclusions, was pivotal to this plan. On one end of the island, a built-in Hisense wine cooler stores the family’s tipples at the perfect temperature while elsewhere a drawer allows Cathy to scrape her food scraps straight into a container for her chickens. But it’s the size that has her enthralled. “It’s big enough to sit six people for a light meal or more for a drink, and I can prepare food on one side while chatting to friends on the other,” Cathy explains. 

The splashback sets a stylish yet understated base with Manual Craquele subway tiles in Cian from Tile & Stone Warehouse. The Smeg stove and oven, plus the Great British butler’s sink from Belfast Sinks, are perfect for entertaining. (Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott)

The inclusion of spotted gum trims, copper light fittings, a timber barn door and aged brass rangehood cover give the space an air of maturity that belies its relatively young age. But it’s the small yet significant details that make this kitchen such a success. A library ladder provides easy access to the upper cupboards while a dog “hydration station” caters for the couple’s dogs Seeker and Stella. The addition of two dishwashers – one for food items and the other for glassware – adds to the long list of dreamy yet functional features.

“The best compliment I have ever received was from a chef friend who said, ‘Anyone could cook in this kitchen; everything is where you think it should be’,” Cathy, homeowner.

The island features a Smartstone Toledo collection benchtop in Imperial Grande, plus drawers for pots, pans and cutlery. Timber and leather stools sourced online were specifically chosen because the backs would ensure a more comfortable seat. (Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott)

“I’m a keen home cook and love to entertain. I have a good understanding of how a kitchen is used and how to make it a pleasure to work in,” says Cathy.

Designer’s tip:

Interior decorator Cathy Cooke chose materials that would age well. “The timber barn door has that solid ‘thunk’ that screams longevity, while the organic brass handles from Bauer’s Hardware Collections and Brodware ‘Winslow’ taps already hold history from the many hands that touch them,” she says.


Builder: Black & White Design and Construction, 0402 548 961.

Joinery: Pluim Joinery, (02) 4328 0500,

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