This is a red clinker brick semi-detached house that I think dates back to the 1940s and when we moved in it had what I call the “old grandma kitchen”.
I pulled out that kitchen and basically built a new one myself. It was only supposed to be temporary but we ended up keeping it a bit longer than we intended.
The longer-term plan, though, was always to do a bigger renovation where we would open up the back half of the house and let it flow out onto a new deck. The kitchen is the centrepiece of the whole living area, so we wanted to make sure we got that exactly right.
And it’s turned out so well. It’s just so much better for Julie, myself and our daughter, Lucy.
The dark cabinetry looks amazing – how did the change from white to black kitchen come about?
It’s quite a funny story, actually. We originally wanted a white kitchen centred close to where the kitchen table is, so it’s facing back into the room. Where the big island bench is – that was where we were going to put the table.
The designer showed us on the computer what that would look like and then he said: ‘OK, that’s what you asked for but I’ve got another idea. What do you think of a black kitchen with the island on the other side?’
He explained that if the walls, ceiling, floor, cabinets and so on were all white or light, there would be nothing to ground the space.
And a black kitchen doesn’t have to feel dark. It can actually be quite light depending on how the light is hitting it.
You thought the space you had would be difficult to design a good kitchen in?
Yes, it’s a very odd space. In fact, we thought it was a terrible space for a kitchen.
But when the designer saw it, he just loved it. He said: ‘No, no, no – this is great. It’s different. This kitchen is going to be really different and that’s a good thing.’
He loved the challenge of creating something within the space. And he really thought a lot about how we wanted to cook, and where we wanted people to be. We do like to entertain as well and there was a lot of thought on how to make all that work with this particular shape.
The end result is a great design that works well. It does look very different but the comments we’ve had from people have all been very positive. Usually along the lines of ‘oh my God, this is amazing.’
Are there any aspects of the design you particularly like?
With the cathedral ceiling, the designer wanted the kitchen to have a vertical look and I think it’s worked really well.
He’s incorporated that look in a number of ways. A lot of the panels have vertical cuts in them and the subway tiles run upwards instead of sideways with slightly darker grout that makes them more prominent.
We’ve also wrapped them right around the kitchen which gives it the kind of cafe type look we were looking for.
I love the light in the kitchen. The shafts of light change as the day goes on and it’s a really different looking kitchen in the morning than it is in the afternoon.
How important was it to have the input of a professional kitchen designer?
Well, initially we were just looking to get a few ideas for the kitchen and we didn’t know if we would go ahead.
But the designer’s ideas and enthusiasm for the job helped persuade us to go for it. The kitchen was more than we’d budgeted for but after we saw the design we thought ‘let’s spend the money and do this properly’.
What was also great was the amount of times he designer came round to the house and talked through the design. It showed that this wasn’t just a quick sale.
We also had an issue with the benchtop. Something fell on it and cracked the porcelain. And the guys were great. They came around, got it organised and replaced it. It was all done in a day.
You know how you get sold and it’s all great until you’ve paid the bill, and then you worry if you’ve got an issue? Well, that sort of post sale service was great. The level of care at all stages from Mark and the team is something I haven’t seen from other businesses.
How much has your new kitchen changed your home?
The kitchen is part of a bigger home renovation that I’ve been doing with my brother, Matthew, who’s a builder.
We knocked down a lot of the back end of the house and rebuilt the perimeter walls within the same shape.
With the old internal plan you had to go from the kitchen through the laundry and down some steps to get outside. If you were having a BBQ you were either inside or outside and there was no way to communicate between the two areas.
It was a really dark house, and it was so tight and cramped with lots of doors and different spaces. If you had three or four extra people in the house it was terrible.
But we knocked out walls, opened it up as much as we could and now there can be 15 people and they won’t bump into each other.
The new design also creates a really great flow from the lounge room into the kitchen and out to the deck. It’s a small space but the cathedral ceiling in the kitchen and French doors make it feel a lot bigger.
Any more renovations planned after this one?
Once this is done I’m done with renovating. I met Julie 17 years ago and ever since then we’ve been renovating. But they’ve all been on investment properties so we’ve never been able to enjoy the results ourselves.
I said: ‘This is the last one, this is it.’ I had to give my wife a good kitchen, something that was really nice. And I think that’s been achieved. I still find that I do most of the cooking, though.
This project is a great example of how a designer and the customer can work together to create a wonderful kitchen. It’s really important to get that balance of listening to what’s important to the customer, but also being prepared to challenge ideas for potentially better ones.
Mark Tonkin, Rosemount Kitchens
Key Kitchen Features
Cabinetry: 2 pack Dulux Klavier matt finish
Back panel and overhead: V-routed panels
Shadowline: Eveneer Mink
Benchtop: Maximum ‘Pepper’ matt
Handles: Madinoz MDZ powder coated Black matt
Dishwasher: Asko Fully Integrated
Bin in drawer: One 2 five Hafele
Drawers and Hinge hardware: Blum and Kessebomer comfort pull out
Rosemount were by far the best of the trades we dealt with in our whole renovation, and continue to be. And we had a great kitchen designer who was clearly excited about doing something a bit different and edgier. He really brought some of my ideas in the kitchen to life.
Rosemount is a premium product and they should be very proud of the results they produce. Our neighbours walked in and just went ‘wow’. And that wow factor is the difference.
We’re thrilled with how the kitchen renovation has turned out. It’s gone from the darkest to the lightest room in the house. It looks so beautiful and I just love it.
People love the kitchen, and are blown away with the transformation. And for me it’s not just beautiful, every part is so functional.
We did a full kitchen and bathroom renovation. Everyone within the company is fantastic, from the reps to the managers/owners to the tradesmen. We couldn’t have asked for a better team to look after this build.
Daniel & Anastasia
I just love this kitchen. It’s worked out perfectly. We had a builder working on the rest of the house and he couldn’t believe how well the kitchen was made and put in, and the after sales service from Rosemount was fantastic.
A complete kitchen renovation was performed with as little disruption as possible to our household. Having had plenty of work done around the house over the years, I recognise and appreciate quality work, and Rosemount provide that in abundance. They’re also terrific people to deal with.
Rosemount made this an easy and mostly seamless undertaking for us and the results are significantly better than we anticipated. To say we are delighted with our new kitchen is a gross understatement. It is just sensational.
Sue and Howard Epstein
We have referred loads of people to Rosemount. They weren’t the cheapest company but for me it’s about the quality of the product. You get what you pay for.
Our decision to contract Rosemount resulted in a high end result, within budget and on time. The company’s wonderful team had the expertise, experience and dedication to guide the project from start to finish making the renovation a great experience and not a burden.
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