On a budget of just $25,000, Cherie creates a spacious kitchen, dining and living area from a couple of small boxy rooms.
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.
TAKE IT DOWN
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.
KEEP IT FLUID
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.
PULL IT TOGETHER
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.
FROM THE EXPERT
Cherie Barber is a renovator on TV’s The Living Room and runs renovating-for-profit workshops. Cheriebarber.com.au 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.