On a bud­get of just $25,000, Cherie cre­ates a spa­cious kitchen, din­ing and liv­ing area from a cou­ple of small boxy rooms.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Cherie Bar­ber ren­o­vates a kitchen, din­ing and liv­ing space for just $25,000.

THIS WEATH­ER­BOARD HOME was typ­i­cal of the mod­est hous­ing of its sub­urb, Kingswood, which is nes­tled in the shad­ows of the more well-known Pen­rith, in western Syd­ney. In­side, the rooms were small and tightly clus­tered, with lit­tle con­nec­tion to the out­doors. The kitchen was closed off from the liv­ing ar­eas and, in this case, looked like a relic of the ’50s that had been been treated to a lurid ’80s colour scheme!

The ob­vi­ous so­lu­tion here was to not over­cap­i­talise with an un­nec­es­sar­ily am­bi­tious and ex­pen­sive ren­o­va­tion, but work with the in­ter­nal foot­print of the build­ing to give it a fresh, bright, mod­ern feel. Iron­i­cally, the own­ers had re­ceived quotes of be­tween $70,000 and $100,000 to ex­tend out to the rear deck. My chal­lenge was to see what I could achieve with a bud­get of just $25,000.


Piv­otal to the plan was cre­at­ing an open-plan liv­ing space, with the kitchen as the cen­tral fo­cus. The in­ter­nal walls en­clos­ing the kitchen were tim­ber frames with gyprock, so it was a straight­for­ward job to re­move these. How­ever, we an­tic­i­pated there may be as­bestos in these walls, as it was widely used when these era prop­er­ties were con­structed (un­til its ban in the late 1980s) and com­monly found in the lin­ings of kitchen and bath­room walls. So as­bestos re­moval ex­perts were called in to re­move the as­bestos sheets from the kitchen and laun­dry. With these walls gone, im­me­di­ately the whole space – as well as ex­cit­ing new pos­si­bil­i­ties – opened up.


To make bet­ter use of the space, I needed to shuf­fle the kitchen to the op­po­site side of the room, and line up the front and back doors to get a more prac­ti­cal traf­fic flow. This meant shift­ing some doors and win­dows, which of course re­quired cer­ti­fier ap­proval as it was an ex­ter­nal change. New dou­ble back doors now spill onto the out­side deck, cre­at­ing a much bet­ter in­door/ out­door con­nec­tion.


There was no point in lash­ing out on an ex­pen­sive kitchen – a sim­ple Ka­boo­dle kitchen from Bun­nings was per­fectly ad­e­quate. How­ever,

I did in­vest in stone bench­tops, as the kitchen and break­fast bar would be such a cen­tral and highly vis­i­ble fo­cus of the new de­sign. The Ka­boo­dle kitchen came in at less than $4000, plus labour to in­stall, and the bench­tops were an ad­di­tional $3000, in­stalled. A mir­ror splash­back was cho­sen to en­hance the sense of space, and pen­dant lights above the break­fast bar be­came daz­zling cen­tre­pieces as well as pro­vid­ing prac­ti­cal task light­ing. The new de­sign al­lows for a for­mal din­ing ta­ble and chairs.

“The so­lu­tion was to not over­cap­i­talise with an ex­pen­sive ren­o­va­tion.”

I even found a tricky way to squeeze in a walk-in pantry by punch­ing a hole through the ex­ter­nal wall into the ex­ist­ing out­side laun­dry. I then in­stalled a $232 Clever Closet shelv­ing sys­tem into the new pantry, along with a cav­ity sliding door. A Euro­peanstyle washer/dryer was put into the now more com­pact laun­dry.


Fi­nal touches were sim­ple Ger­flor stick-on vinyl floor­ing through­out and freshly painted walls in Taub­mans “Taupe Stone” with white trims.

For a frac­tion of the es­ti­mated cost of ex­tend­ing out the back, it’s a to­tally trans­formed home that now be­lies its hum­ble ex­te­rior.

af­ter Open space By re­mov­ing in­ter­nal walls, the room could be re­con­fig­ured to cre­ate a con­tem­po­rary open-plan kitchen/liv­ing space.


Cherie Bar­ber is a ren­o­va­tor on TV’s The Liv­ing Room and runs ren­o­vat­ing-for-profit work­shops. Cheriebar­ be­fore Old times The lay­out was poky and out­dated, but the so­lu­tion was sim­ple...

be­fore Break free

The old-fash­ioned kitchen was closed in and small, so it was es­sen­tial to de­mol­ish it and start again.

af­ter New life An open kitchen be­comes the hub of the home, where cook­ing and con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen to­gether.

af­ter Bright future Cherie in­stalled a mod­ern white kitchen. The mir­ror splash­back re­ally light­ens up the room.

Lay it down

Us­ing Ger­flor vinyl floor­ing through­out was a re­ally eco­nom­i­cal way to unite and up­date the space. af­ter Look­ing good A neu­tral pal­ette of whites and greys is per­fect for adding pops of colour, like yel­low.

be­fore Try again

The liv­ing area needed an in­jec­tion of colour and per­son­al­ity.


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