Photography by Marcel Aucar
Last time we caught up, our kitchen and laundry had just been installed but the finishing touches were a mere pipedream. Fast forward to 2018 and we’re done and dusted. If we’d ever questioned the notion of love at first sight, we don’t anymore. These spaces have far exceeded our expectations and we’re walking around with all the heart eye emojis. If you’re not yet familiar with our design and installation process, you can read about it here. Go on… I’ll wait.
Now we’re on the same page, it’s time for the fun stuff. We’ve always loved the process of fixing stone bench tops as it pulls the entire look together and adds an element of luxe. We opted for Caesarstone in Calacatta Nuvo for its marble-like appearance and ability to blend classic meets contemporary. It’s also extremely low maintenance and more cost-effective than natural stone. At this point in the renovation, any saving is a good saving and we’re thrilled to bits with the end result. We opted for a frontal waterfall on the island as it defines the sink from the prep area and looks bangin’ to boot.
There’s still more than enough room for three stools and ample space to hang about. Our island measures 3000mm x 1200mm, the maximum when using only one slab of stone. We’re not big fans of longer benches as they require multiple slabs, resulting in an extra join on the surface.
We stuck with the same stone for the splashback in the kitchen but changed it up in the butler’s pantry. The zone opened up ten-fold by using a smoked mirror and we love how it defines the spaces. There’s still a seamlessness as the cabinetry and bench tops are consistent but the use of mirror adds depth and interest. It’s also really easy to keep clean which should always be the MO in any prep area (or so I tell a very messy Sasha).
Among our favourite things are the soaring Sierra cabinets in Matt White from Freedom Kitchens. The Sierra range is a beautiful Shaker-style profile which looks modern yet classic at the same time. We love a generously proportioned space and one of the best ways to achieve this is by taking joinery sky high. The upper cabinets are readily available and measure 1250mm. There’s more storage than you can poke a stick at and they make the room feel infinite. It’s a great trick to implement if you have limited floor space but want to increase the grandeur of your kitchen. You can thank us later, alligators.
Drawers were always big on our list of must-haves and we crammed in as many as we could. They’re so much easier than cupboards when storing everyday items like crockery, containers, and pots and pans. I once did my back while searching for a mixing bowl which was very inconvenient as I had a party to attend and wound up sitting at the dessert table with my friend’s grandma all night. There’s no chance of that happening at Little Willow as we have drawers for days! Freedom Kitchens are clever folk and added some nifty storage solutions like cutlery dividers, a walnut knife holder, and our amazing spice rack. We could buy all the spices from the supermarket and still have room left over. Clever, indeed.
Of course, cupboards are still handy for those things used less often and they’re in abundance in the butler’s pantry. I’m crazy for the corner carousel shelves they installed in the corner cupboard, previously known as the place ‘where things go to die’. It makes such perfect sense and is also really fun to play with. The added depth of our island made way for extra storage in the seating area. Big props to our designer Jack for working so hard to maximise functionality by utilising every inch of available space.
Another big hit are the white sinks. When we settled on the gold tap, we knew we had to skip the standard stainless steel as it can be hard to mix metals. White was a natural alternative and the effect it has is seamless. The sinks are made of composite granite so they’re durable and virtually scratch-resistant. We’re more than happy to share the love so if you need one in your life, head to Reece and ask for the Franke Impact Granite Undermount in White.
On The Block, we were lucky enough to work with Gaggenau and we loved them hard. We didn’t think it possible to develop an affinity with any other appliance brand until NEFF came along. Golly gumdrops, they’re amazing! Our oven stack is so impressive – the doors actually tuck themselves away when you open them. If you haven’t seen them in action, hit up our Insta for a Boomerang demonstration. Our stack includes an in-built Coffee Machine, Compact Oven with Microwave, Slide&Hide Combi-Steam Oven, and Slide&Hide Vario-Steam Oven. That’s a lot of ovens for one house so the new owners best enjoy cooking. The piece de resistance is of course the FlexInduction Cooktop with Integrated Downdraft. Rather than going up into a regular rangehood, steam is sucked down into the vent. How’s that for forward thinking?!
The kitchen is complete with two NEFF dishwashers and our double fridge/freezer from Bosch. Where are they, you ask? Hidden behind four integrated panels right near the island bench. It’s such a great way to dress large appliances and something we’ll be doing in every property moving forward.
We utilised the working triangle when designing this kitchen and it really does make a difference. The general rule of thumb is there should only be a few steps between your sink, cooktop, and fridge. Ours are positioned just so and the space sings because of it.
Of course, we’re all about lightness and brightness so we decided to splash out on three VELUX skylights. They let in a phenomenal amount of natural light and we can’t recommend them enough. Even if you’re not doing a full renovation, it’s worth considering adding a few throughout your home as they truly offer bang for buck. They’re such a focal point and amplify everything in the space, including our White Smoked boards from Royal Oak Floors. Together, they bounce the light around and are a match made in Heaven.
Laundry and Mud Room
If there’s beauty in simplicity then this is it. We carried through the Sierra profile to maintain consistency and added functional shelving to break up the look. Our penny round tiles from Beaumont work so well with the Intense White bench top from Caesarstone. The gooseneck tap from Sussex pops against all the white and marble and collectively elicits the most serene vibe. There’s a high chance I’ll be rolling around in dirt just so I can use this space. (OK, maybe not rolling around but I won’t crack it if I spill coffee on my white dress, that’s for sure).
It’s hard for me to admit but Sasha’s mud room came up trumps. Originally I wanted a whole bank of cupboards but she insisted on creating an Insta-worthy space so I relented and let her at it. It’s such a usable zone with outdoor access so there’s no reason for muddy footprints to be dragged through the house. After endless harping, I managed to get my way with tropical wallpaper and I love how it pops against all the white.
I’m calling it – of the four kitchens and laundries we’ve created, these are my absolute favourites. They’re so striking and functional. Some people think all-white spaces are boring but I truly believe there is nothing better. They have an elegance all their own and give off a feeling of light. As Bill Murray said, ‘There has to be a lightness; you have to be as light as you can be and not get weighed down and stuck in your emotion, stuck in your body, stuck in your head. You just want to always be trying to elevate somehow.’ Sure he was talking about something deeper than kitchens and laundries but his advice rings true. We have all the lightness there is and I hope you love our spaces as much as we do.
Our sincere gratitude to all our suppliers for working tirelessly with us. Their knowledge and commitment has made all the difference and we’re forever indebted for the time, energy, and care they’ve shown. There’s something extra special about companies that not only supply product but eagerly anticipate the end result. That kind of enthusiasm is hard to come by but they have it in spades.
Until next time,