This glam black and white kitchen balances family practicality with style

A 1990s kitchen was updated with chic black-and-white finishes and given a new, family-friendly layout



Total spend


Time frame

3 weeks

What was wrong with your original kitchen?

Sarah Lee: The big thing we didn’t like about the original layout was that the gas hob was in the middle of the island, meaning it was dangerous to cook if the children were sitting there. There was also no rangehood because of its position in the middle of the room. The cabinetry and benchtop were very dated, as were the terracotta floor tiles, which were cracked and so cold underfoot. And then there were the beige walls…

How did you solve these problems?

We moved the oven and gas hob to the corner of the kitchen where we were able to install a rangehood above them, repainted the entire interior of our house, installed new cabinetry and benchtops, and replaced the floor.

What were your priorities?

The existing layout of the kitchen worked well and there was plenty of storage, so our main priority was to modernise the space so it flowed with the rest of the house. Our home has a very monochromatic vibe so the kitchen needed to reflect this as well.

How did you achieve these goals?

By spending years saving images from Pinterest and Instagram! Then we went to Peter Hay Kitchens to have it designed. We wanted a simple but stylish monochrome kitchen that wouldn’t date.

Did you change anything about the layout?

We removed the laundry chute that backed onto our kitchen, which meant we could square up the corner cupboard of the pantry. We did consider removing a wall and opening it up, but we have a large open-plan living/lounge/dining area and quite like that the kitchen is closed off, so left it as is. After living here for four years, we knew the layout worked for us so we didn’t see the need to change it.

Top tip: “Live in your space for a while to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.”

How did you manage your costs?

Using the same layout definitely helped as the plumbing fixtures and so on were in the right place; we just had to extend the gas line from the island to the corner of the kitchen. As much as we love marble, we couldn’t justify the cost so we chose a beautiful marble-look laminate that is also more child-friendly. And as we were unable to match our existing laminate flooring in the adjoining dining area, we went with concrete-look vinyl tiles which were very cost-effective.

Favourite feature: “I love that I can now cook while the kids are around without having to make sure they don’t touch the hob!”

What materials/finishes did you choose and why?

We knew exactly what finishes we wanted before our first consultation with the designer at Peter Hay Kitchens. She clearly thought I was crazy for wanting black gloss cabinetry with three young children, but I knew that matte black cabinets would close the space in too much. Plus, it’s so easy to clean the gloss finish with a microfibre cloth. We added some open wooden shelves among the overhead cabinets to break up the black – they’re the perfect home for my plants and add warmth to the space. And we chose the marble-look benchtop as we feel it’s classic and won’t date, and neither will the white subway tiles.

Did you DIY or use tradies?

We used tradies as we needed the work completed quickly. It ended up taking three weeks. We project-managed it ourselves, so as soon as we had the installation date from Peter Hay, we worked backwards and gave the other tradesmen their dates. It all went smoothly and our new kitchen was 90 percent completed and functional for Christmas as we had planned. In the New Year we just had to install the pendants and do the skirtings.

What do you like best about your new kitchen?

I love that it feels like it’s always been here – it blends with the rest of the house perfectly. The white walls and light-coloured flooring really open up the space; it feels much bigger than it did before. And I also love that I can now cook while the kids are around without having to make sure they don’t touch the hob.

Key suppliers

MC Tiles, Blanco, Peter Hay Kitchens, Lighting Direct, Flooring Xtra.

Key tradies

Hayes Builders, KC Electrics, Precision Plumbing.

Photography by: Claire Mossong.

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