Planning & Designing the Seddon House Kitchen
By Dani Wales
“Oh how much of a joy Seddon House has been to renovate!” said no one ever! Let me tell you, this house has had it all and more, and jeez have I learnt a lot.
Having only ever renovated two houses prior to Seddon and both under the watchful eyes of a dedicated site foreman, a production crew, a building company and well… Australia, renovating this mid-size family home in the heart of Melbourne’s Inner West with no supervision was a completely new challenge.
As you know the house was half demolished when we purchased her just over two years ago. At that stage we were still very much bright-eyed and extremely optimistic about the potential of our tired old girl who was pushing 113 years. Little did we know at that time, Seddon House had endured a couple of equally bright-eyed renovators just like ourselves who had all given up for one reason or another. However, we would not be defeated (maybe slightly mentally defeated) and we would complete this house… or should I say will? Yes you heard right, two years in and we are still not finished. We will be though, and hopefully in time to host our first Christmas lunch in our absolutely fabulous kitchen.
We found Seddon House to be unique for a number of reasons including:
- A newfound knowledge of the property market, after freshly completing two Block renovations, and wanting to put that knowledge to the test.
- A desire to keep our renovating bug alive and create something for our future.
And you guessed it, the dilapidated double-fronted, freestanding weatherboard on Seddon’s outskirts provided that for us.
The challenges seemed endless, but as I said we were highly optimistic and very enthusiastic from the outset and not the type of people to give in to a good challenge. When planning the kitchen and laundry for Seddon House there was a list of “needs” and a list of “wants” (which on occasion took over the haves).
- A kitchen that would be the focal point of the open-plan kitchen/living/dining space.
- A kitchen that would invite conversation about its design, material and appliance selections. Be unique but not polarise.
- A family friendly kitchen with multiple zones and spaces to congregate.
- Include custom joinery in both the kitchen and laundry that would continue throughout the rest of the house to ensure continuity.
- Feature appliances in both the kitchen and laundry that were trusted, known for their quality, and accessible to most budgets.
- A laundry that is family friendly but also tailored to our needs, which included a separate washer and dryer, additional toilet and clothes hamper.
- Full-height joinery in both the kitchen and the laundry to maintain consistency.
- Contrasting colours and materials.
- Award winning appliances that were cohesive in their design.
- A dedicated appliance wall in the kitchen featuring double ovens and a coffee machine (the dream!).
- A large island bench featuring a natural stone benchtop that would house the cooktop – This would be a struggle given the size and layout of the space.
- Large-scale windows to ensure maximum natural light.
Believe it or not, these were our “short lists” and included the things we felt were most important, would ensure we didn’t overcapitalise and what could potentially be achieved within our budget.
The previous owners had drafted plans for a single-level extension however it consumed around 95% of the block and for a suburb geared towards young families this wasn’t going to work for us. So began the re-drafting stage… We knew exactly what we wanted the house to contain and how it should be laid out so once our floorplan was locked down and submitted to council it was then we could play with the layout and design of our kitchen and laundry.
We toyed with almost everything when it came to deciding on a final layout for the kitchen including:
- The stock standard galley kitchen with island bench
- A u-shaped kitchen and even very long galley kitchen with no island bench but a feature central dining table
- We even played around with the exact location of the kitchen and whether it should at the rear of the property or as you first enter the open-plan kitchen/living/dining space.
There were honestly so many designs sketched and put on the table, but the final resolution was a combination of a few different ideas.
We had added a very oversized fixed window on the back wall of the extension that looks across the rooftops and we felt this window lended itself nicely as a splashback so that’s where we decided the sink and dishwasher should be positioned. We managed to work the space to include an island bench that would still allow ample space for a large dining table. We also managed to include all of the design focused “needs” and “wants” in the final layout and couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.
With the layout confirmed, it was now time to select appliances, and an appliance brand for that matter, that was good quality, have a unique product offering and products that would appeal to the broader market. Seems like a difficult task… Well a difficult task it was not. On a tour through The Block Fans v Faves warehouses in Albert Park in early 2014 I was introduced to the minimal and uber stylish award winning “designed to match” range by Fisher & Paykel that was featured in Brad and Dale’s kitchen.
Even though I had previously used a number of other good quality appliance brands, there was something about the design ethos behind the Fisher & Paykel product range that really struck a chord with me. Not only are their appliances beautiful and accessible but also the values of this New Zealand born organisation really shone through once I started my research. Fisher & Paykel create real products for real people living real lives. They understand the dynamic nature of modern living and continue to be fascinated by the fundamental question – “how do we live?” With a focus on sustainability Fisher & Paykel has long been committed to environmentally conscious operations as a business, and to creating new products that increasingly limit the impact on the environment’s natural resources. The Fisher & Paykel design story is truly fascinating and well worth a read.
With my mind firmly made up all that was left to do was select appliances to suit not only the needs of my partner, our guests and myself but also the needs of any future residents if we decide to move and take on another project. The idea that our appliances would sit in unison and assist in creating the “dream kitchen” I was working to produce was hugely exciting… and still is.
Stay tuned for the next installment where I will discuss the appliance selection process as well as key considerations for each product.
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