Seasoned renovators Ash and Simon Vos are on a journey to transform their Coffs Harbour abode into a modern Californian dream home. As one half of The Block 2014 winning duo with his brother Shannon, Simon’s latest project with wife Ash has been one of the most challenging.
With Simon’s building skills and Ash’s keen eye for design, the pair have transformed a once small space into a large, liveable kitchen that takes inspiration from their stunning surroundings, with calming green tones and touches of mid-century modern that play into the home’s contemporary Californian elegance.
Ash says: “We are both really inspired by nature when it comes to design, and the view at our home has dictated so many of our colour choices. We wanted to feel connected to nature on the inside of the home just as much as the outside – we have a stunning north-facing deck that really captures the charm of the area. We definitely have a preference towards mid-century modern furnishings and finishes, and love the timeless appeal of the era.”
The couple share the top tips and tricks that enabled them to create the kitchen of their dreams.
Don’t be disheartened by a small space
“The most challenging aspect of our kitchen was making a small space feel large, and having the vision to plan for it when all the previous walls were still there!” says Ash. “We created space by moving the island bench towards the larger living area and creating a wider walkway between the back wall and the island. We also maximised storage by having an open pantry that is hidden from view, which allowed us to remove some cupboards in the original plans and have a timber shelf for styling and coffee mugs.”
Discuss your non-negotiables
Ash explains how she and Simon remained aligned with the feel they wanted to create for the kitchen, using wish lists to decide what the finished space would include.
“My wish list included a butler’s pantry, double door fridge, a dishwasher, and a wide oven. Simon wanted a water/ice dispenser in the fridge and a gas cooktop. We created our non-negotiables from our combined wish list!”
It’s all in the details
Ash and Simon’s kitchen looks out onto the Great Dividing Range, so their vision was for the kitchen to reflect this view.
“We opted for green tones for the cabinetry and other finishes which looks stunning against the landscape,” says Ash. “We chose muted tones for the hardware and appliance colours to give the space a luxurious feel while blending in a little with the concrete benchtops. We chose’kitkat’ sculptural tiles for the splashback, and a timber shelf which also adds some character to the space.”
Appliances matter more than you think
“We spent some time choosing appliances, I think it is one of the things most people get wrong in a kitchen,” Ash says. She and Simon actually built the cabinetry around the appliances they wanted, as opposed to finding appliances that worked with the cabinetry.
“For couples like us with little time,” Ash continues, “the appliances in a home can give you back time through integrated solutions like apps and customised settings. Appliances should add value to your life.”
Every kitchen needs a highlight
“The stand-out features in our kitchen include the Electrolux 681L dark stainless steel French door fridge. It’s the most high-tech fridge-freezer we’ve ever seen, you can monitor the temperature from your phone via an app,” Ash explains.
“We also love our custom benchtops that Simon poured. They add character to the space that a conventional manufactured benchtop couldn’t.”