Laura and Mark Greaves fell in love with their Art Deco upper duplex in the Northern Beaches but soon decided its tired kitchen would be their first major renovation project.
Laura says: “We wanted it to be very open and airy, so we knocked out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. It’s made such a huge difference. We now have a proper entertaining space. It’s open-plan but can still be completely closed off from the living areas. We wanted a sleek, modern look that was a little bit different. There was no way I was going to have one of those cookie-cutter ‘Caesarstone-and-a-red-splashback’ kitchens you see everywhere. I’m a big fan of very dramatic colour palettes and initially wanted jet black units, but Mark and our kitchen designer eventually convinced me that a dark charcoal grey would be less imposing and more practical. I’m glad I listened!
“We also wanted lots of bench space as the old kitchen was very cramped. And I wanted open shelving to display my two-dozen cookbooks, as I like the splash of colour they add to the otherwise monochrome room.”
Was it hard choosing a modern kitchen for a character home? “We did briefly consider going for a full-on Art Deco look as I’m completely obsessed with the era but the original tiling in the kitchen was in a sorry state and couldn’t be salvaged,” says Laura. “We also realised pretty quickly that, although we are lucky to have lots of character in our house, it actually has quite a modern look and feel thanks to our furniture, flooring, colour scheme and artwork.”
Since knocking the wall out, Laura loves that she can cook and chat to dinner guests at the same time. “Oh, and I love my dishwasher – it’s a trivial thing but the old one used to make the dishes dirtier than when they went in, so having them come out clean is still a novelty!”
Their next major job is the original green Art Deco bathroom. “It’s not actually waterproof and is leaking into the walls! But we’re a lot less sure about what we want to do with it than we were with the kitchen, so we need more time (not to mention money) to ruminate!”
The Greaves’ kitchen was designed by John Olsen from Collaroy Kitchens.