As I sit here writing this blog on a gorgeous sunny afternoon (and yes it's now Tuesday night...it took so long to finish!), I reflect on the past few months and cannot believe we are already one year into our renovation. Don't get me wrong, I'm counting down the milliseconds until we're back in our home, but running a business, being a mum, buying a countryside log cabin (and renovating it!), certainly is enough to distract us as time literally flies past.
Now that the frame is all up and we have a roof and even windows and doors (fancy aren’t we), the rough in stage has been the key focus for the past months. For those questioning what roughing in means, it’s essentially when all of your electrical and plumbing is brought in, before the walls are plastered. If you ask me, it’s the most integral part of any build and one where you have to be laser focused on the detail.
Even for a seasoned renovator, this is the part that’s had me the most stressed, as you simply cannot get it wrong or else it’s a very costly mistake! Luckily for me I'm surrounded by a sensational team of experts. Lauren (Loz) from our very own norsu Design team, Matt our architect from Herbert and Howes, along with all the legendary trades from The Carbonist we have onsite. My biggest recommendation is that if you’re renovating, invest in getting help in this area. Not only does it impact the aesthetics, it’s the key to making sure your home is practical and functional.
Your designer/architect will create what’s called electrical and plumbing plans which will specify exactly where everything goes and how it will work. For example: at what height, how far off the wall, how far above a vanity, where do the lights turn on and off from, where power and charging points go, where the alarm system will sit, where the speakers will provide the best sound, whether your toilets have in wall cisterns, whether they need to be plumbed into the wall or through floor, and the list goes on and on. It’s been a steep learning curve for me, but one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and I’ve never been so happy to know I won’t be drenched when I turn the shower on (no rookie mistake for me I’ll tell you!) I also won’t be angry every time I look at our bed as I’ve strategically hidden the wall sconce light switches behind our bedsides this time!
So now that this stage has been completed, we’re prepped for the insulation and plaster to go in! And then the fun really begins and it’s the installation of all the fittings and fixtures. So with this in mind, I’m overjoyed to share more of the detail with you...firstly, focusing on our kitchen. Drum roll please….
Why is it that there is so much pressure when it comes to selecting all of the finishes for your kitchen? I guess I really do know the answer to this, it's because it's the central hub of a home. In an open plan living arrangement, it's not only the place where you prepare and cook meals, it's the place where you share countless moments with your loved ones. You all know Dan and I love to enjoy a glass of bubbles or an icy cold Asahi with friends so nailing this space is a must!
Once again, I'm so lucky to have Loz by my side. She is the Queen of functionality and her technical interior design skills were utilised to the max when she planned the layout of our kitchen. Loz always thinks about how the space will be used - for example, ensuring the bin and dishwasher are close to the sink, making sure there's ample bench space for preparing food, adding in copious amounts of large draws for storing pots and pans, and creating spaces for hiding the small appliances (we're getting a Butlers pantry, where Loz has added another sink, Zip tap, dish drawer and fridge (so bougie I know, I could pinch myself!).
In-case you don't know, you need to have selected all of your appliances, tapware and sinks for this stage as your designer and cabinet maker needs to know the exact sizes for their technical drawings. So trust me, secure these early in the build process!
Once you've nailed the layout design, it's then time to work out what it's going to look like and this is the part that I love the most. When I'm selecting colours and finishes, I'm in my happy place...it's when my very own adrenalin keeps me awake at night as the ideas don't stop bubbling. For this reno, I've put so much pressure on myself to get it right that I can assure you decision paralysis kicked in...you're not alone if this has happened to you! So without further ado, let me reveal our final choices and thanks to our cabinet maker Lucy from Cocina Design, her render above gives you a sneak peek of what it'll look like.
I thought it might help if I stepped you through why I selected everything. If you learn just one small thing that helps your renovation journey, I'll be one very happy lady!
TIP: hit Pinterest, Instagram and every interior publication known to mankind to source your inspiration. This will help determine what you like, don't like and essential what makes your heart sing. Here is mine by: https://www.hansverstuyftarchitecten.be/ How delicate is the soft sage green - swoon!
Our door and drawer profiles are shaker style but with a modern 6mm edge. It's the perfect aesthetic for balancing a minimal look but with a little added detail. I won't lie, selecting a profile that is not flat increases your costs, so just be aware of this and don't say I didn't warn you. I have recently fallen in love with Australian brand Tesrol - seeing their extensive range is a must! Our profile is called TESROL 5026/CS.
Here's the exact colour we've gone for. It's a little lighter than this in reality!
Celedon Supermatt Vacuum Formed - TESROL
Last renovation we used Sussex gold brass and to be honest I loved it so much that I struggled to mix it up! Thankfully Kristy and I will be using this again in our side hustle so I can get "my fix" there. After using Sussex before, I just couldn't go elsewhere. It's Australian made, they're the most sustainable tapware in the country and the quality and designs are unvivalled. After much deliberation I landed on their Living Rustic Bronze, which will gently age over time with use and air. I wanted someting a little more organic this time and I can't wait to see the brass apear over time.
Living Rustic Bronze - SUSSEX TAPWARE
Image credit: @solaireproperties @joeadsettarchitects
I'm like a kid in a candy store when I visit my all time favourite stone company called CDK Stone. Good news, these guys have Showrooms nationally so you can also find them in your lcoal city. For our kitchen, I couldn't miss the opportunity to use New Savior in Limestone. Similar to a Tundra marble but rather than the darker grey, the gorgeous Adelle and Tiffany sourced me lighter toned slabs that have some warmer toned veins in them. Select your stone early on in the process and it's worth waiting for the perfect pieces to be found. A massive thanks to CDK Stone for making this happen. Look below for a sneak peek of the other colours we're using! I mean...WOW.
New Savior Limestone - CDK STONE
When Peter from High End Hardware suggested I look at Iver, an Australian Architectural door hardware company, I jumped for joy when laying eyes on their Signature Brass collection. I’m not going to lie, I was starting to get the jitters trying to match something to our tapware. This collection has a bronzed finish that also gracefully ages over time. Another huge benefit to selecting Iver cabinetry handles is that they have a complete collection of matching door levels, accessories and hinges. You know I’m a stickler for detail and Iver meets this brief.
Signature Brass - IVER LIFE
I’m not going to pretend to know much about rangehoods. All I know is that I cannot stand the sound of them! So when someone recommended the Schweigen Silent Rangehood I honestly didn’t look elsewhere. A little tip make sure your rangehood is at least the same width as your oven so you can enjoy healthier air where you cook.
Silent Undermount Rangehood 1200mm - SCHWEIGEN
You may recall the post I made on instagram asking for oven and fridge selections. Thousands of people participated, making the decision process for me that bit less stressful. When a loyal follower recommended Italian brand Bertazzoni I was instantly drawn to their designs and technology. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary models and as I never feature black in our builds, I’m always on the hunt for something a little different. We’re so fortunate to be getting their freestanding double oven as we have a huge family and love entertaining. When George from the Bertazzoni showroom explained the brand’s belief in that the kitchen is at the heart of every family life, I knew it was for us. Oh, and for those wanting to know, even though I antagonised over induction/versus gas, call me “old school” as I landed on gas. And this one has a teppanyaki griddle so be sure to duck if you pop over.
120cm 6-Burner + Griddle, Electric Double Oven - BERTAZZONI
To ensure I wasn’t introducing too many finishes and colours (and because I challenged myself with taps that will change colour over time) I opted for white sinks that will also compliment the white oven. We recently specified the Blanco Sublime sinks in the Malvern Residence and I loved their look and was told how practical they are! I’m also using one in the laundry for consistency.
Sublime White Double Bowl SInk - BLANCO
Following our passion for entertaining, we’ve splurged on a stunning Liebherr GrandCru wine storage cabinet for our island bench. I’m certainly not a wine connoisseur but I’ve since learnt these offer similar conditions to a wine cellar. The temperature can be set to between +5°C and +20°C, making these appliances ideal for long-term storage and the ageing of wine. For Dan and I it’s also ideal for housing our favourite Sunday night bubbly. I may or may not have got us one for the bar/cellar too!!
UWKes1752 GrandCru Wine Storage Cabinet - LIEBHERR
I’ve always wanted a sparkling water tap, as we go through copious bottles of soda water in our house. The only thing I was worried about was having two taps in our pantry and whether they’d be enough space. Can you imagine the cartwheels that I did (well actually I don’t know how) when I realised Zip do an all in one - you get the sparkling, filtered still and a normal hot and cold for washing up. #winning I’ve selected on a stunning arc design that compliments the Sussex Scala pull-out tap we have in the kitchen.
Hydrotap G5 CSHA Celsius Arc - ZIP WATER
If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that we need a larger fridge. As the kids grow so do their appetites. We always host Christmas, and in the past I’ve always had to fill the Eskies with ice. Not this year my friends…we’ve opted for two Liebherr integrated ones. We don’t use the freezer often (apart from storing hideous Zooper Doopers) so we didn’t go a standalone freezer, instead did we’ve gone two combo fridge/freezers and we selected one with left hinges and the other with right hinges so they look like French doors. And to top it off, the refrigerator compartment uses BioFresh safe technology, meaning your food stays fresher longer.
ICBNh 5173 Peak BioFresh NoFrost Integrated Fridge/Freezers - LIEBHERR
Some progress shots to show you what stage we're at, so you can compare the space to above plans!
Before I head off and put the kiddies to bed, I couldn't resist the opportunity to show you a sneak preview of the other finishes we've selected for each space. If you're keen I'm more than happy to share all the details of them in upcoming blogs. Just say the word!
Hope you found this helpful and if you need any help with your renovating, simply visit us at www.norsudesign.com.au.
Exhausted Nat x
Formal Sitting and Cellar