everything you wanted to know about my kitchen

Ok this post has been a long time coming. I’m going to tell you everything about our kitchen renovation and what I learnt along the way.  We had never renovated before so it was a steep learning curve but it was a successful renovation and we had a beautiful finished product. And just to refresh your memory we had an old kitchen at the front of the house, knocked down a few walls at the back of the house and put a new kitchen out there.


kitchen cabinets

First up we found a kitchen company. I had a clear picture of what I wanted – my kitchen inspiration picture and I found that by knowing the layout that I was working with and my style it made the whole process much easier. You really need to have a clear idea of your style and finished product before you start the process. Pinterest and magazines are a huge help. We used Kitchenworks of Belrose who were just amazing. Michael the owner is a real character and designs a great kitchen at a very competitive price. In fact I didn’t shop around. I was so impressed with the price he gave and his service was outstanding. He’d been designing and building kitchens with his brother and they learnt from their Dad. I knew I was working with experienced people.

kitchen in progress

We also took advantage of a special offer and paid around $17k for the cabinetry. We chose very simple white cabinets with a traditional edge. There are little extras like $500 for the rip out of the old kitchen and $500 for installation of the new kitchen but you know these costs up front and nothing was hidden. We got a clear timeline of when everything was happening and he organised the plumber, tiler and we used the builder’s electrician.

wreath in


I chose Snow for the caesarstone and was not disappointed. I wanted to keep it all very classic and timeless and a few years ago I would have chosen something with more contrast in it. Now the caesarstone guy does a great price, just $3,700 for all of the caesarstone including the 3m double island and we’re talking nice thick caesarstone. Snow does show up stains and marks easily but gumption becomes your best friend and a glass cleaner gives you a streak free finish. Every little mark or stain came out with gumption! Get yourself some.

first breakfast in the new kitchen


Well don’t you love them? Not all subway tiles are created equal. We went to Hardware & General tile shop and they had a very thin basic subway tile and that was it. I was very disappointed. I only had a small area to tile and I wanted a shinier thicker tile. So I went top of the line italian subway tiles from Tiles by Kate (Manly Vale in Sydney). They came in under $400 but I still have a box and half leftover. And compared to the whole kitchen price they were well worth it. They are uneven so they reflect light beautifully. Money well spent.


cabinet knobs

I think I lost serious sleep over cabinet and door handles. I really wanted traditional little pull handles but the reality is that you then need knobs for cupboard doors. But I’m a matchy matchy kind of girl and I knew this would drive me crazy having knobs and pull handles all in the one kitchen. You can pick up cabinet knobs for $3-$5. I really wanted something substantial so I found this amazing store in Alexandria. =They didn’t have the handle I wanted (Brionne which are made in France) but showed me this one and I just fell in love with them. Now we’re talking $17 each. You’ll find them here. They look and feel substantial, are easy to clean and really complement the kitchen. I’d use them again if I had to. Knobs came from Mother of Pearl & Sons Trading in the PYD building in Alexandria.



Now the tap was always going to be something big and classic. But what finish, like the handles it kept me up at night and I’m not just saying it. I mean it. Losing sleep over the finish of the tap then I’d ask people for advice and end up at square 1 again. I was in love with Perrin & Rowe but didn’t have a stockist near me and found that Nicolazzi taps were sold through restorations online. I didn’t see the tap in person but ordered online and just at the right time since I received 15% off the tap. I went petit mont blanc handles and when the tap arrived it was love at first sight. In the end I got the standard chrome finish and it’s stunning all over. Just beautiful. With quite a plain kitchen it becomes a statement piece. You’re looking at about $945 not on sale which can sound like a lot when you can get tap and sink packages for half the price.  Restoration online is a great online store if you love traditional.



And you can’t have a tap without a sink. I went undermount sink and remember that Barefoot Contessa had said go for a big double sink (also known as a butlers sink) as you can hide dishes and things and no one will ever know. She was right. I’ll never go for a smaller sink or one with a divide again. It’s a Franke sink and a real stunnner. It’s big. There is no denying that but it’s lovely. You’re looking at around $950 for the sink. Now someone did ask why didn’t I get the stainless steel drainer to the side of the sink. If you’re going to build a huge island as the centrepiece of your kitchen you want it to be stunning and able to serve food, sit around and so on. The undermount sink is just perfect for a kitchen island.



For the rangehood I know that the style is big, stainless steel and on show but that wasn’t going to happen in my kitchen. We found a 900mm slide out rangehood made by Robin Hood and it’s perfect as it’s concealed and very hamptons style. These aren’t expensive and you’ll expect to pay around $200-300.



This is a freestanding Glem gas oven (just gas, no electricity) and I loved it. You can roast 2 chooks at the same time, a couple of trays of cookies and more. It’s 900mm wide and a dream to use. I picked this up on sale at Harvey Norman and while I wouldn’t shop there again (who could forget the drama) I do love the oven. And a good price. You can pay a lot more for a freestanding oven but again we knew we were selling and had a budget to stick to. From memory it was under $2000.



You might remember I had the lovely dulux consultant out to pick colours. Best thing I ever did. We settled on Dulux vanilla quake 50% (which means half strength) with Dulux Vivid White for cornices, ceilings and skirtings. The cabinets were a vivid white so it all matched beautifully

ikea chairs and table

table and chairs

we were supposed to be pick up a bargain table and chair setting. But retro daddy chose an expensive one in the end. We saved money on the chairs and stools by buying them at Ikea (Ingolf range of dining chairs and stools) and splurged on thr dining table made from reclaimed wood from Alfresco Emporium in Collaroy. Just go there for the eye candy. I love the table and it will always stay in the family. It’s just something that I’ll never want to get rid of.


I kind of wish I had chosen a different floor company. No not kind of wish, I do wish. I was very disappointed with the service and quality of finish. Not so much of the floorboards but the skirtings. 3 cracked skirting boards from front to back, cracked right through. The painter said it was the worst he’d seen and the floor company finished the job and wanted payment. I refused to pay the balance of $10k until they were fixed and we are talking one week before the house went on the market.

Miss These Floors

They also nailed the skirtings in rather than use ‘liquid nail’ and didn’t nail them completely in so we had nails poking out. It was a real mess. I still must write a letter of complaint to them but personally I would steer clear of the company. Just not worth the stress. If I was doing floors again then I would look at other people’s floors, ask the builder or kitchen company and go from there. We learnt the hard way.

7pm at night

So after all of that saga you just want to know what the floors are. They are Boral Silkwood Timber in Blackbutt. An engineered floating floor, so it’s timber but not hardwood floors. Hardwood floors were totally going to blow the budget and again we knew we weren’t staying in the house and selling afterwards. We had a step in the kitchen area so we had to refloor the new kitchen area and then because the front of the house was original cypress pine we had to extend the flooring right through but I’m glad we did that as it created a great flow through from the moment you entered the house and walked right through to the back.


we put fluroscent downlights throughout the new area on the advice of the electrician. They don’t overheat and although you can’t have dimmers with them they are economical and looked great. We had huge problems with overheating downlights in our old house so were happy to try something different.

new kitchen

The large pendant lights were a real find from Light Style a lighting store in Belrose. I didn’t find the pendants I wanted in any of the large lighting chains. These came from a wholesaler in Victoria and retail for about $270 each. You can spent at least $800 on large pendants elsewhere so I was thrilled to find these. They have adjustable poles and really finished the kitchen. I knew pendant lights would be part of the whole hamptons look and these did not disappoint.


I loved our builder just like our kitchen company. Gary Cole who is based on the northern beaches. He did a great job and delivered on cost. He gives you an accurate quote but a fixed quote so there are no nasty surprises. He does a very high quality finish and gets you involved in the process. Even when I was standing there with a blank expression because I had absolutely no bloody idea what he was talking about, well he’d explain it all to me and tell me what he thought was best and I’d generally go with it.

from the doorway looking in

rubble everywhere

day 4 it's looking better already

Now building was the biggest chunk of our budget coming in at over $38k. This included the removal of 4 walls, an ensuite, replacing an old brown sliding door with french doors, installing 2 beams into the ceiling and ripping out the entire ceiling and putting a new one in. We could have saved money if we left bits of wall in or had 2 different ceiling heights BUT I always wanted one big room. I can spot other renovations where bits of wall have been kept in. Gary does much much bigger projects than ours but he always made us feel like we were an important client and he’d be the first person I’d call in. He also put in a wall and door upstairs to turn a rumpus room into a 4th bedroom and did a great job with that too


ahhh budget. Every renovation needs one. We had a budget blowout due entirely to the floors. We didn’t get an estimate of the flooring cost until after we had started to go ahead with ordering the kitchen.

cooking dinner in the new kitchen

Now the budget is I think the most stressful part of the renovation because you need to find money…..somewhere.


just the flooring company. Everything else went so smoothly and to schedule and we were really disappointed with the finish of the skirtings. But you learn and for a first renovation and that to be the only thing that went wrong, well I think we did well! Oh and a second power point near the stove. I put one in and really should have put one in on the other side for my Kitchen Aid.

cooking - chicken curry

what will I do with my next kitchen?

call me crazy but yes I am already thinking of the next kitchen but it’s going to be at least 3 – 5 years off. The new house has a large eat in kitchen and I’m actually going to keep it as an eat in kitchen rather than open plan because the house is large enough to do it and I like the traditional layout of the house with the kitchen at the back.

 image source otter imaging

image source otter imaging

I hope that answers your questions! If you’ve got one just ask. I just love the kitchen we created and felt very proud when we left the house that I left a little something on the house that was me. It’s a good feeling.


  1. Beautiful. I love your work retromummy!

  2. We had floor dramas too with our renos, and it’s one of those things that can’t easily be fixed. In our case it was horrid floor polisher for our hardwood floors.

    At least next reno will be easier with this experience behind you!

  3. Wow! I don’t know how you can bare to leave after all that work? Hope you realized a good return when you sold after the renovation. I am sure that you are already dreaming of bigger things for your new home…not long now :)

  4. Wow! I don’t know how you can bare to leave after all that work? Hope you realized a good return when you sold after the renovation. I am sure that you are already dreaming of bigger things for your new home…not long now :)

  5. Thanks for sharing all that detail. I am not renovating or even owning a home, but my husband is a carpenter & painter and I was very interested in your experience with your trades. And I can’t leave here without saying that your vision of The Hamptons was pure taste and the realisation due to you sticking to your guns is stunning. I hope the new owners love it. BTW, where did you get that gorgeous jar that was by your kitchenaid? xxx Fi

  6. Thanks for sharing all that info.
    We are heading into a big reno of our old home. 1/3 will be demolished and bulit as a 2 storey with 3 bedrooms and bathroom over the living/kitchen area. About to meet and talk to the builder about rough costs, before we do specs for more plans from the architect.
    The timber floating floor, do you find that feels “solid enough”. We are hoping for hardwood, but budget may not allow – see how we go.
    I have watch your reno journey, it’s been really intersting.
    All the best for the new home

  7. I love how your kitchen Reno turned out. I would love it in my house. You are extremely lucky. As an average mum in an average hard working two income family I could jot afford to spend that amount on a kitchen. It offends me as an average working class mother that you class your family as average.
    Most average mums could only dream of this.
    I also don’t know how you can whinge about not being able to get all 4 children into swimming lessons at the”good swimming school” . I would not be able to afford 4children in swimming lessons at the same time. .
    Please consider yourself extremely lucky but certainly not an average family.

  8. Have loved watching your reno – and know that you will be itching to get into the BB house and make it your own too!!! My new house will have the caesarstone Snow benchtop – whereabouts do you get Gumption from?? Also loved your kitchen sink – it looks awesome. PS-will be thinking of you on Friday – enjoy!! :)

  9. Hi Corrie! Thanks for sharing all your details about your lovely kitchen reno, very generous of you. About to start a very small revamp in my own house and your achievement with four kiddies, plus preggie tiredness and reto daddy being away a lot is a real credit to you and inspiration for my job ahead! Best wishes with your new abode with your beautiful brood :))XO

  10. Very generous sharing of information. It looked divine.
    I too once did a kitchen and would swoon over my Franke sink….my first choice if there is ever a “next time”.

  11. Hi Corrie! Thanks for sharing all your details about your lovely kitchen reno, very generous of you. About to start a very small revamp in my own house and your achievement with four kiddies, plus preggie tiredness and reto daddy being away a lot is a real credit to you and inspiration for my job ahead! Best wishes with your new abode with your beautiful brood :))XO

  12. Just gorgeous Corrie! All that hard work really paid off – I can’t wait to see what you do in your new house

  13. Utterly beautiful kitchen Corrie – and thanks so much for all the details and honesty about how much everything cost.

    We’re soon to either build or renovate so I’m taking notes and pinning up a storm!

  14. Hi. Not sure what the beef of the reader above who seems to be having a go at you??? Average??? What’s average. Mothers, working or not, trying to do the best we can for kids, spouses, out of home commitments, and just loving our children with all their beauty and imperfections…..and now again finding some time for craft….surely we are all on that AVERAGE spectrum somewhere? Anyway I love your blog. The kitchen is a triumph and you did it. Enjoy the success. Alison

  15. Such a gorgeous kitchen – I bet the new owners are just loving it up!

    I adore your round table from Alfresco, I saw it ‘in the wood’ at the store and it truly is a special piece, your kids will have very fond memories sitting around that as a family


  16. Thanks for all that info Corrie! That kitchen is a credit to you!

  17. I love love love your kitchen – thank you so much for such a detailed post. What a shame you couldn’t pack it up when you left 😛

  18. Love it! We’ve done our kitchen with a much smaller budget and I am SO happy with it. You are right about having a clear idea before you start otherwise you will end up with things that don’t all quite work together in the finished project. We’re not quite done but I’ll share pics when it is all finished. We used the Johnson subway tiles from Bunnings in white which comes in at about $1.60 per tile because we had quite a big space to do and it looks amazing. Can’t beat white on white! Thanks for sharing all the details.

  19. This is the mean, nasty , rude, jealous lady again. I just want to make one comment, then you can delete me.I never criticized you or your family. If you put your life on a public blog for people to read you have to be able to accept criticism along with the praise when people speak their mind.

  20. I love this kitchen Corrie and can’t wait to see what you can create at your new house.

  21. Leone your contradicting yourself, first you say your not criticising then say Corrie must accept your criticism? Use your back button rather than speak your mind in an unkind way, there’s just no need for it.

  22. P.S. I love your kitchen but you know that!

  23. You did such a beautiful job on your kitchen! A lot of thought and love went into it :) A good practice run for your next project in the next few years!

  24. Love the kitchen Corrie but you know that! I smell a green eyed monster lurking on your blog!

  25. Your kitchen looks wonderful, I hope come Friday when you settle that the move in goes smoothly and that your plans for the future go well

  26. Corrie, I love your kitchen you have great taste….I am a huge Hamptons fan too :)
    I can’t imagine that the above mentioned person could be feeling great about themselves right now….remember….if you can’t say something nice… And all that?!?
    Light and lovely I say, light and lovely
    Good luck with your move

  27. I have been a reader of your blog for a long time and get alot of enjoyment from it. Sorry i don’t comment (often not sure what to say). I too am a stay at home mum, and my youngest has started school this year but still feel my place is in the home. I too am a christian. So I often appreciate what you have to say.

    Anyway getting to the point of my comment. I think you are incredibly generous to share what you do on your blog (and especially with regard to your renovation). For my 2 cents worth, I think you achieved alot for your money and your house looked fantastic.

  28. Opps didn’t mean to be anon. I am the last comment


  29. Hi Corrie, Have been more of a lurker than a poster but that kitchen has made me come out of the woodwork! I love it! The only question I do have is: Did you consider taking the overhead cupboards up to the ceiling and having the cornices fitted on the outside? Was there a specific reason the gap was left? I have only seen it taken all the way up (no cleaning tops of cupboards) or enough of a gap left to display items (means cleaning – not my style!). Maybe something to consider next time. Anyway good luck with settlement and the move, Kristin.

  30. Es Maravillosa,me encanta.besos

  31. You did a beautiful job – our kitchen desperately needs an overhaul but I don’t have the guts to face it yet, when I do I will be coming back to this post!

    Thanks for sharing such great advice :)

  32. I think there is a communication glitch here. Corrie is explaining about her kitchen renovation when it seems as though it’s a full home renovation. Given this, Leone can sew, I think this is quite an ‘average’ spend with fantastic outcomes. Corrie, you should be immensely proud of your achievements particularly with 4 little kids under your feet. A renovation is stressful at the best of times.

  33. YOu did great Corrie….jealous!! Looks so fantastic!

  34. I am salivating over that oven! And the table and chairs!

  35. I am salivating over that oven! And the table and chairs!

  36. Corrie, the kitchen reno is beautiful! So thankful that you have shared it with your readers. If nothing more, those of us who appreciate you, will take this as an inspiration to do lovely things in our own homes.

    You ARE an average Mum with the same trials and tribulations that daily life brings. We are all struggling to find peace and harmony in our own homes – with our husbands, our children, ourselves… and yes, with our kitchens too….

    Being an average family has nothing to do with money… it has to do with commonality between people in general.

  37. You and RD are such a team. Two people who love each other & share their love with their beautiful children. Corrie, you make me love your goodness more with your sharing and truthful tales from being real!!
    Not long now till The Move!!
    Enjoy… Denyse xxx

  38. FABULOUS kitchen! I had to laugh about you thinking of the next kitchen. I lived in my last house for eight years, and enjoyed the kitchen that we lovingly put in for only a year before we sold the house – and most of that time it was on the market, so the kitchen never really felt like mine. We’ve been in our new home for 2 years, and I’m beginning to get ‘new kitchen twitch’. However, I have no intention of going ANYWHERE this time, so when it happens, it’ll be mine ALL MINE to love and enjoy for years to come – HURRAH! x

  39. Corrie thanks for this post – we have had so many disastrous rennos, very brave of you naming and shaming too. We seem to be lemon magnets! I just love your kitchen, in fact it is my dream kitchen too and will one day grace my home. Thanks for the tips on price and brand

  40. Corrie,
    Thanks for all the info – I will consider the thoughtful way you planned each detail when I start into the bathroom reno. Better to plan well than regret. Renos cost money and you had quite a bit of structural work done. All costs money. But I think it was well spent and adds value. In addition you learned a lot. Feel free to ignore the unkind remarks made above. They are unecessary.

  41. and now Im spent…im exhausted for you…blogging that would have been exhausting…One of my best friends is looking for a round table, and I showed her yours, which she immediately fell in love with….I so hope she gets it :-)
    Oh and HOORAY today is Wednesday…not long to go..tick tock.

  42. hi corrie, i’m ivy from malaysia. i just want to ask you about your kitchenaid mixer. i like, no that’s not the word, LOVE kitchenaid mixer and planning to buy one. can you tell me about yours. thanks, really appreciate it.

  43. I love this kitchen, can’t wait to see what you do with the new one in a few years time!!
    You have solved a huge tap dilemna for me, i loathe mixer taps, i can never accurately turn them to the right temperature, i like hot tap & cold tap, old school, your choice is so laboratory style, i adore it.
    Gorgeous work, thanks Corrie honey, love Posie

  44. Loved your blog on your kitchen reno, it turned out beautifully. We are going to tackle a knock down rebuild which is going to be High blood pressure kind of stress. I havent put that much thought into the kind of kitchen I want or need as Ive never had one that will be so big. I think I will be using your lighting place as I loved your pendant lights. Just wanted to finish off by saying dont let “leone can Sew” comments upset you. I class myself as average too. I have made good financial decisions in the past that have allowed me to be a stay at home mum with a property profile. Im lucky that I worked hard, saved and am now reaping the rewards now. I wil be following your reno on this new house.

  45. Pretty good post very informative topic great article.
    Smartbox self storage on demand, we deliver, you pack, we collect and store – perfect for people looking to store their furniture when renovating. http://www.smartbox2u.com.au

  46. “ahhh budget. Every renovation needs one.”— Yeah, it’s important that before you start a home renovation project, you already have a good idea how much you can shell out. You must prepare a realistic budget ahead of time, as well as a list of the things you need to spend money on. You must also estimate related fees so that once you’re in the process of renovating, you will not be surprised with what the whole project is going to cost you.

    Pearlie Maland

  47. I am very much impressed by your kitchen. It is really extraordinary. I will follow your blog to get more information.

  48. Wow! I don’t know how you can bare to leave after all that work? Hope you realized a good return when you sold after the renovation. I am sure that you are already dreaming of bigger things for your new home…not long now
    Kitchen Wall Quotes

  49. I love your dining table! What is the diameter?

  50. Hi there, just happened to stumble upon your blog and love it! I’m a fellow Northern Beaches mum just about to do a kitchen renovation. I would love to know who you used for the Caesarstone benchtops, seeing as you mentioned he was reasonably priced. Thanks, Kim.

  51. Thank you so much for this post, we are just about to renovate our kitchen and this post has been great to refer back to.

  52. Good article, even better comments. I’ve got some great ideas now – thanks guys!

  53. This is awesome kitchen renovation advice! I can’t wait to take some of the ideas and use them on my home in Bowen. Thank you for sharing!

  54. sarah mason says:

    Hi Corrie,i have just discovered your blog after having a snow bench installed 2 days ago and freaking out with how bright and white it is after having a timber bench for 15 years. I was so worried that i had chosen the wrong colour so i hopped online to have a look at other kitchens with snow benches ( probably something i should have done before choosing ) well, i love your kitchen and it has reassured me that i have made the right decision. i too have chosen white subway tiles for the splash back and i have been looking for the right white to repaint the cupboards that will complement the benches. i have tried a few samples with no success and was wondering if you would mind telling me the colour of your cupboards as it all works so well together. i know it was a few years ago now that you did the renovation but i am hoping that it is a colour that you remember. Thanks Corrie. Regards Sarah

  55. Hi, just found this site & love your kitchen makeover, well done. I am currently doing bathroom, not exactly the same, but similar. Would you know the name & number of Harry the tiler? I have been told of a fantastic tiler around DY, hoping it is the same Harry but can not find him anywhere.

    thanks Julie

  56. Hi Corrie,

    Just wanted to know what colour grey you used on your walls?

    Thanks so much! Looks beautiful


  57. It’s a wonderful and informative post… Thanks for sharing.

  58. Hi, The renovation looks great, well done!
    The Alfresco Emporium Team

  59. Tara McLaughlin says:

    I love what you had done in your renovation and kitchen! so pretty. I am painting my walls in Vanilla Quake 1/4 (thanks to your photos) and having the trims in a vivid white. Can you please tell me what colour you used on your ceiling? was it a standard ceiling white or did you use another colour?
    Thank you so much :)

  60. Lovely Reno! Can I ask what the dimensions are for your pedestal table? We are thinking of doing something similar (ingolf chairs with a splurge on the table) but have limited space in our kitchen


  1. […] coming today and I had suggested a picture in my kitchen. If it was my old house (check it out here) with the fancy new kitchen then of course the kitchen would be the perfect place for a photo. But […]

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