This kitchen renovation balances modern design with character features

With its open shelving, soft colour palette and clever use of space, this family kitchen nails modern living with a heritage twist


This kitchen renovation balances modern design with character features

Who lives here?
Natalie Beath, 38 (full-time mum, formerly in wine industry), Jon Lewin, 44 (lawyer), Elliot, 2, and Phoebe, 4 months, plus cats Charlie and Lola.

Who designed the kitchen?
Liz Kerby, Lizzie K & Co.

The renovation

The project
A more liveable kitchen was built as part of one family’s gradual home renovation.

Why did you choose to renovate?
Natalie: We wanted to improve the functionality of the dining area. Our designer, Liz Kerby, came up with the idea of a wooden bench and shelves which created a useful area in what was previously a dead zone.

What’s your favourite feature of the new space?
The oven! And the mix of natural materials and soft colours – the wooden shelving and flooring, marble benchtop and grey tiles.


Are there any changes you would make?
No. Overall we’ve been really happy with the design and how much we have been able to pack into a small space. We could always do with more storage, but we didn’t want to make any major structural changes so were constrained by the existing layout.

Any disasters during the reno process?
We were fortunate not to have any major hold-ups or disasters. We got really lucky and had great tradespeople who all did a fantastic job.

Reason for renovating?
The old kitchen was poorly designed and was looking pretty tired. It also lacked storage space. We wanted to use the existing space better and make it more attractive as we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. We love the new space. It’s a beautiful area and the layout of the cabinetry helps to make it really functional.

Design details 

What was the brief?
Liz: To replace the existing basic kitchen with a warm, inviting, characterful space which interfaced with the adjacent dining room. Jon is English and both Natalie and Jon have lived in Europe, so they liked the look and feel of a traditional panelled-door kitchen with marble tops and open oak shelving for display.


What changes did you make?
To maximise storage and gain extra workable space, we added a breakfast bar and floating shelves to the wall between the kitchen and dining area, thereby linking the two areas and providing a bar seating option.

Timeline and budget 

How long did the renovation take?
The whole process took about six months, but the actual renovations only took a month. During that period we cooked on the barbecue, did the washing up in the laundry and had the fridge in the bathroom, so it felt like a lot longer!

What did you save and splurge on?
We splurged on quality cabinetry, marble benchtops and a Falcon oven. We saved on the cabinetry handles; I bought them on Amazon for about $1 each!

Total: Approx $50,000

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Jackie Meiring.

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