everything you wanted to know about my 2nd kitchen renovation

OK so the kitchen is in and while all of the details are fresh on my mind here is the post that tells you where everything comes from! This makes a great reference for me when people email me like they do now about the old kitchen and saves a lot of time.


I will never use anyone else for my kitchens as I’m always so happy with the results from Michael at Kitchenworks in Belrose. Michael did my last kitchen and it’s a very simple and streamlined process. You have your kitchen designed, pay a deposit, he will come out for final measurements and to get it just right, sends through some 3d drawings of the kitchen which gives you a great idea of how it will look and an opportunity to change any little things that aren’t working for you. You can show him a picture of what you’re after and he just does a great job.

We played around with the mantle and he did it perfectly in the end. I wanted something simple and elegant without being over the top and it is just that. There was more cabinetry with this kitchen as it was a bigger space but it’s all come together perfectly. Depending on when you buy during the year you can save 30% on your cabinets and we paid about $20k for all of the cabinetry. And it’s a matte finish and I will find out what kind of cupboard it is. I just said ‘same as last time’.

The island is 3 metres long and has cupboards along the other side where the stools are which are so handy for glassware, party supplies and other little things. Like retro daddy’s stubby holders………….


Benchtops are Caesarstone in Snow. It’s very hardwearing, easy to clean, looks great and I loved it so much in our last kitchen that I had to go with it again. There are lots of colours in the Caesarstone but Snow has a slight grey to it and is lovely and really works well in our kitchen. Michael now uses StoneMasters who were just fabulous and did a really great job. This stuff is heavy to bring into the house but they did a great job and were well priced. Very happy customer here.

Cabinet handles

Well I did something a bit different with the cabinet handles, I did go for knobs and pulls and I am thrilled with the result. The finish on these is polished nickel and they are just lovely. I probably wish I had put 2 pulls on each of the huge pot drawers but I didn’t realise how large they were going to be but overall they look lovely and it’s all come together beautifully. If you had the time you could try to find similar from the US and source them that way to save a bit on the cost. These came from Mother of Pearl Trading & Sons in Alexandria. A really lovely shop by the way.


The tap is very similar to my last kitchen (again!) and is from Perrin & Rowe. Budget about $950 for a tap like this. I went for a simple finish with the chrome as I didn’t want to get too matchy match with finishes but they complement the cupboard handles and pulls perfectly. So that was lucky. It is a very lovely tap and just finishes the island perfectly. You can also find similar taps by Nicolazzi and also at Restoration Online who often have specials on.


The sink is big but not as deep as the last kitchen. This sink is a Blanco ZEROX700U from the Steelart range. It’s quite modern in it’s shape but I like that, I always try to think of resale when I do my kitchens and this is practical, the size I wanted and has a nice look in the island and complements the tap nicely. Look for accessories when you buy your sink.

I use Hardware & General in Brookvale who are fabulous, they recommended a sink drainer for dishes which we are just loving and I also have a colander on back order that sits across the sink too. Definitely think about the dish drainer when you buy a sink like this as it makes drying dishes and things that don’t go in the dishwasher a breeze. Loving this sink and we paid about $800ish for this one but Hardware & General can give you a discount when you buy a few accessories or things together. We bought our last sink from them too.

Floor Tiles

These are a porcelain tile with a rustic look and were going to be an easier to care for option than travertine. I was nervous about staining the tiles (hello we are a family of 7) so these are easy to clean and lovely to walk on too. I also think they lighten up the room and they complemented the caesarstone. These tiles were from Amber Tiles, Seaforth and were about $2000 and it’s quite a large area to cover.  

Installation from an experienced tiler was $2200 and took a few days. Ask for a brick pattern if you like the way that they have been laid. I am loving the tiles, they really lighten up the room and are perfect. Jason the tiler did a fabulous job and I always love chatting to him while he’s here.

Subway Tiles

These are a simple white subway tile from Spain. These are under $100 per square metre and you can pay much less but these are thicker than the cheapest ones on the market but there is a big range of subway tiles so go with what you like. The tiles came in about $400 and then tiling was $500 ish so you’re looking at under $1000 for a splashback this size. Tiles are from Tiles by Kate in Manly Vale, Sydney and again have been laid in a brick pattern.


Oh the oven, that big heavy oven. The oven is an ESSE EC2i. It’s an electric induction oven. I started out wanting a 900mm stainless steel oven but wasn’t loving the electric cooktop on them. I didn’t want to connect gas from the street and fell for more rustic looking black ovens. Thought about the Belling, looked at the AGA and then discovered ESSE. Looked at bringing it into australia myself to save on some money but ended up buying from Pivot to get the Australian warranty and local service.

I love it. It is so much better than I expected. It was worth the issues – think weight, installation, delivery hiccups and the like but it is a dream to look at and really makes the room special

I’m going to do a more detailed post on the oven but it cooks so fast and everything is coming out beautifully. Definitely no regrets with this one. It even has a heated towel rail which is great for when I’m cooking up a storm and have teatowels everywhere. Thank you to Pivot for the lovely extras like the kettle and cookware when delivery got a bit hairy. Pivot know their stuff and have a fabulous range of cookers and this truly is a dream oven.

It has 3 ovens – 1 is a fan forced electric oven with a grill element on the top. This is one hot and fast oven and everything is cooking so much better than the old electric oven I was using. Underneath it is another electric oven, not as high, not fan forced but great for if you’re doing something while your roast is in the big oven above or you’re wanting to bake some cookies. And the 3rd oven which doesn’t have controls to hear it is your plate warming oven. The oven retains a lot of heat when it is being used and afterwards so you could also do some slow cooking in there, keep something warm and warm those plates.


Fridge is a french 3 door fridge by Samsung. They have a great reputation and when we went into the store the guy on the floor said they were also the most popular at the moment. Technology is a feature of Samsung  so we went with it. Water and ice wasn’t the plan but heh it has it and just be prepared to add to the budget for plumbing as a tap is needed for the water/ice function. What model you choose will depend on the space you are working with. I wanted the larger model which had a separate drawer in the middle but that would be too deep for your kitchen as we had a certain distance between the walls and windows and couldn’t go too deep. So this is the 639L and is a great size and perfect for us. Love that crumb on the floor…………..just keeping it real for you all at home.

Dishwasher is also a Samsung. I started out at the cheapest dishwasher but they didn’t have great reviews so went middle of the road, not too cheap, not too expensive and this one had great reviews. You’re looking at about $900ish for one of these depending on where you buy it. I love there is a cutlery tray at the top of the dishwasher, it plays a little song when you turn it on and honestly when the dishwasher finishes the cycle it plays a 30 second little song. The kids love that. It cleans very well, is very easy to operate and is fabulous so far.

There are so many rangehoods to choose from these days and they all start to look the same. I went with good reviews and middle of the road in price for a hidden rangehood. This is a Bosch with a few lights and looks and works well. Time will tell of course. This was about $600.

All of the appliances were purchased from Appliances Online who were fabulous. My readers told me how fabulous they were after Harvey Norman last kitchen and they were great. Such fabulous delivery guys and they took so much care, advised me when was best to deliver the fridge and actually came back to redeliver the fridge when the kitchen was finished. Recommend them so much and loved that I could order the appliances and only need to pay on delivery day. So great for the cashflow and budgeting so well worth looking into.


The glass pendants were actually bought to go into the living areas of the house. I saw them on Anne-Marie’s website, Cape Cod Designs and thought I’ll get 3 for the house and they were sitting in the garage while we were waiting to get more lights for the house and have an electrician out. I was having major indecision over what lighting to put in that would go with the kitchen and then thought why not use the glass pendants as I’ve seen it done before. And voila, they are just perfect. I couldn’t imagine anything else. You can find pendants now that are hamptons style much easier than when we did our last kitchen. If you’re on a tight budget check out Ikea and other options are restoration online, beacon lighting, light in style (Belrose) and in Melbourne there is Schots which I looked into when we did our last kitchen but I was going to have to organise delivery. Anyway there are a few options out there but of course I love dealing with Anne Marie and her gorgeous online store here.

Plenty of photobombers in this house, by the way.

Paint colour

Retro daddy did the painting but we still have a bit of patching up and painting of the ceiling and cornices. Wall colour is Dulux Vanilla Quake (half strength ) with a Vivid White trim. Same as last time. If it’s good why change it.

I think that’s it. Have I missed anything? I do have to find out exact details of the cabinetry as a few people have asked and I’m not sure what they are but am guessing vinyl wrap but let me clarify for you all. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you. I hope that helps you with your own kitchen renovations/plans/dreams. It’s always fun for me doing a kitchen, it adds so much value to the house and I always try to balance what I want and what will sell the house whenever we go to sell.

And the before and after?


  1. In LOVE with this kitchen. Love how you’ve incorporated some old world charm into a modern design. Very nicely done. Enjoy it.

  2. Stunning, gorgeous, beautiful, I just love everything about it! Hard to believe it is the same room at all.

  3. Looks amazing. I love a retro kitchen but the all white looks stunning. I’m a convert for sure. xo

  4. susan leach says:

    Looks amazing. Are the stools Ikea? and how much did the oven end up costing?

    • yes to ikea stools from the old kitchen – a bit chipped and dirty but look good (from a distance). I was very kindly given a discount on the oven and bought at old prices – they have just put the prices up. I’ll have to check but maybe $7kish which just sounds ridiculous but I have claimed part of it on my tax as I use it to cook on the blog.

  5. Maison Mummy ingrid says:

    You know, the red and white really do look pretty against the white. The kitchen looks absolutely exquisite. By the sounds of it suits your style and personality. You can never go wrong with white.
    Tres tres mignon
    MaisonMummy( ingrid):)

  6. Simply Gorgeous!!

  7. Lucky that window is in the photo, otherwise I wouldn’t believe its the same room.
    Congratulations to all involved, simply stunning.

  8. Everything is devine… Love the oven and the little bit of character on the bench. One question if I may, how deep is the main bench as I am contemplating something similar and would love to be able to fit in the cupboards on the seat side like you have.

    • Bronwyn, don’t know if this is helpful but we just had our kitchen island done and we did 600 deep cupboards on one side and 400 deep on the other side and then a 300 deep overhang where the barstools go (ie 1300 total depth). The reason for the 400 cupboards on the seat side was because then you can fit standard dinner plates in (shallower and the use is limited).

  9. Beautiful, I hope our kitchen turns out just as lovely :-)

  10. Heartstopping! What a transformation! Such a light, bright room now and beautifully finished off. The lights are just perfect. Even if I do say so myself. A-M xx

  11. I just loooove your kitchen. I love the way you guide us though renovation process and I really admire what you did now – I really can’t imagine why the previous owners had it so dark. The before and after is like a jump of a century :)
    Really love it.
    Can I move in and live with you ? LOL

  12. It looks beautiful! Just wondering if you have a microwave? Thanks for giving us the full run down.

  13. Wow, Corrie! It seems like you just moved in! You did an amazing job just like last time. I LOVE the oven! It is such a great touch. Really really lovely! xxx

  14. Absolutely fabulous.

  15. such a lovely kitchen. Sounds like you don’t have any regrets which is wonderful. I chose an all white kitchen with a blue splashback which turned out to be so much brighter than I imagined. Its a real sea blue and if I win Tattslotto it is the first thing I am changing!! hehehe. Enjoy your new space. (love the fact you can claim your oven on Tax – now how many of us can claim (pardon the pun) that! and we all use it everyday!! lol, you must giggle every time you use it! And the depreciation each year – hah!! love it!

  16. The kitchen is awesome! Can’t stop looking at the photos – I keep scrolling back and forth to the before and after photos. A great transformation! I would love to see the inside of the cabinets and how you’ve organized everything.

  17. Beverley Priest says:

    It looks fabulous Corrie….love the all white and I love the kitchen taps, they look so retro, pardon the pun !!!! The splash of red with the kettle looks great, although I am biased with having red in the kitchen…I bet you don’t know yourself.

  18. Four dogs and one quilter says:

    Love it! So fresh and clean.

  19. I’ve been quietly reading your blog for a couple of years now and never left a comment yet (I’m just kind of quiet). But I wanted to thank you for going into so much detail about your absolutely gorgeous new kitchen. There are no plans for remodeling ours, just replacing the lights. Funny, though, we have the exact same refrigerator/freezer. I’ve had mine for about 2 years now and I am very happy with it.
    Enjoy your lovely kitchen and your beautiful family.

  20. Amazing. Love it. Well done you. My sister loves white kitchens. She tells me she started the trend! I have been sharing your posts with her. Enjoy I’m sure you will cook up a storm.

  21. Hi Corrie, this is the first time I’m commenting, I just wanted to say how beautiful your new kitchen is! I’m thinking of renovating our kitchen too, but am put off by the dust etc since we’ll be living in the house. But this post has inspired me again!

    Enjoy cooking in your kitchen!

    x Serene

  22. Wow! What a transformation! It’s amazing. You should be really proud of yourselves!! I really want to do up our kitchen which has seen better days believe me. Just trying to get the money together to make it happen. I’m wondering what the final total cost was for the entire renovation? Did you come in under/over budget? I’m so worried about coming in over budget!

  23. Great post Corrie! Thanks for sharing all these details. I have to say your oven is fabulous! I look forward to seeing the scrummy delights you whip up with its 3 compartments :-) I’m sure I’m not the only reader who will find this helpful when thinking about a new kitchen, and what to expect with the process. Bug hugs Jetts xo

  24. Corrie it looks amazing – perfect hamptons style. I love all the light and sense that you’re up in the trees and the nickel pulls are a lovely touch. Nice one!

  25. love it. so light and bright. but my question is, where does your table go?? where do you eat??

  26. It is so beautiful and such a transformation, you should be very proud!

  27. I love your kitchen, the color, distribution… all is perfect!

  28. Sarah Best says:

    love love love it all! you must be so happy with it all!

  29. Oh Corrie your kitchen is just gorgeous! So light and bright, beautiful and functional; what a lovely place to feed your family. May I ask what depth of shelving is in your pantry cupboards? Are they shallow shelves so that you can see everything in a glance or full depth shelves that fit more?

  30. David Chapman says:

    Where did you end up putting the wine rack?

  31. Hi Corrie,

    Love your kitchen, it looks stunning. I have a few questions which I hope you don’t mind answering when you get a chance! What is the distance of the gap between your island and the cooker? What is the width of your island and also do you have any underfloor heating for the tiles? Thanks

  32. Hi Retro Mummy!

    My husband and I are renovating our house in Naremburn at the moment. Your kitchen looks EXACTLY the way/same style as we imagine ours.
    Thank you for sharing everything about yours. This will come in handy for when we need to start making decisions.

  33. I just adore it especially the drawer pulls.

  34. I’m loving your new kitchen! Beautiful, stunning and tasteful! Well done, and now, I’m sure, you are enjoying the fruits of your labour :)

  35. Wow – looks lovely.
    Just wondering for your thoughts on why you went for a fridge that was not integrated – ie cabinetry over fridge. Interested in your opinion. Thanks

    • Yes, because we tend to sell and then move on this is a great way to just take the fridge with you. But yes it does look nice when they are integrated!!!

  36. argyle_mikey says:

    Good blog.

    We’ve just bought an EC2i (an absolute bargain from ebay !), so am looking forward to that promised update on your experiences with your own Esse.

  37. Oh my gosh, your kitchen is gorgeous! I love how clean and fresh the white makes it look. Enjoy it!

  38. Hi Corrie,
    Just wondering what thickness your benchtops are? About to start our kitchen and originally I though 30mm but of course our colour doesn’t come in 30mm. With the 40mm I don’t want to see the join of the 2 slabs and I can’t see one with yours but that may because yours is a light colour and we would have linen. Thinking of maybe just going with 20mm.

    • hi there

      yes I have 40mm. my island was 3m and couldn’t be any longer because that was the biggest it came in. Is that what you mean? the only part where we had to do some joins was behind the oven we put a strip and it was joined up as we measured the oven incorrectly and all the cabinetry had been ordered! my island is huge!


  39. Hi Corrie,
    Just once again looking at your beautiful kitchen renovation. I am looking into tweaking our kitchen a little to cater for our now larger family. I have been looking into a Belling oven. Can you tell me why you steered away from this and on to the Esse? I have had problems with ovens in the past and wanting to make a wiser decision this time round.

  40. Hi Corrie,
    We’ve been looking into the Esse range, too. After eight years with an AGA Six-Four (now sold with our present home), we’ve decided to look to another range manufacturer for our new place. I grew up with a traditional solid fuel AGA made in the 1940s, but todays ‘modern’ AGA incarnations often suffer from flakiness (poor quality thermostats, excessive condensation, overheating, or in our case … ovens which came on by themselves, running up our utilities bill!). How are you finding your Esse? I cannot find a single negative review for them, and expect you are enjoying your experience so far? One question that occurs to me: are the two induction hobs sufficient for your cooktop requirements? We are a smallish household, but do a reasonable amount of entertaining, and I prefer the look of the EC2i (with the traditional hob lids) to the plain top on the EC4i. Love the design and look of your latest kitchen, BTW :-)

  41. Hi
    Your kitchen is gorgeous! I’m in the process of choosing my subway tiles for my kitchen renovation could you tell me if you used the 20cm x 10cm size or 7.5 x 15? Thanks so much

  42. Hi Corrie

    Beautiful kitchen! LOVE, LOVE ALL WHITE KITCHENS. The light makes it really bright and a happy place to be. I have a few questions if you could answer them please: What is the width of your island? What is the space between your cooktop and island? Also, what is the space of your tall cabinets to your island? Thank you

  43. Hi Retro Mummy

    Can you help me out. We are currently doing our kitchen.

    We love the tiles on the splash back and were wondering what the size is for these

  44. Braywills says:

    Great! What a transformation!! Such a gorgeous kitchen it is… just amazing. I just want to say that kitchen looks stunning. Well done!! Thanks for sharing these details with us.

  45. This is just stunning…. can I ask how you go with keeping it clean? We have white cabinet fronts and I get so frustrated with the ‘grunge’ and finger marks that just seem to build up constantly….

  46. Hi! Did you have any joins in your bench top? Thanks

  47. Loved this post! What did the final budget come in for this one? I would love to know how much to save to have a similar kitchen!

  48. Angela Parsens says:

    Love the cabinet handles. Anyone know where I can get the same exact style in black? I found these guys. http://www.hardwarebox.com.au, but their cabinet handles are not the same style


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