Staron® Design Awards 2019 – Open for Entries

Staron® Design Awards 2019 – Open for Entries

Staron® Solid Surfaces is a quality surfaces material that is a leading product in the solid surface industry. The design versatility made possible by using Staron® is extensive, and we have seen some simple, creative and complex designs using the product nationally and internationally. Staron® has been used across the globe from small to large projects by some of the world’s leading designers and architects. To celebrate this design versatility, the Staron® Design Awards was created ten years ago, and the program has returned again in 2019.

The Staron® Design Awards are open to any designer, architect, developer, kitchen/bathroom designer, student or any other designer who has created a design project using Staron® Solid Surfaces. The awards have been designed to create exposure for students, designers and architects using Staron® in outstanding design. The aim is to recognise and celebrate beautiful design at all levels – from a young designer’s vision, who creates concepts and ideas all the way through to an experienced designer / architect who has been in the business for years. The program is open in three categories.

The Commercial category is open to any installed commercial / industrial project with a prize of $2000 cash plus marketing exposure for the winner.

The Residential category is open to any installed house / apartment project with a prize of $1000 plus marketing exposure for the winner.

The Concept category is open to any ‘idea’ or concept that has not been realised yet. This can be a drawing, graphic or sketch, with a prize of $250 plus marketing exposure.

The Staron® Design Awards 2019 open for entries till 31st January, 2020. Entry to the Staron® Design Awards is free and easy and can be made online at

Residential Staron Design Award winner 2018: Gavin Hepper, Concepts by Gavin Hepper for kitchen design in Bulli Beach, NSW.

Zip Competition – entries closing soon!

Zip Competition – entries closing soon!

Design of the Year Competition!

Open to designers and kitchen companies, Zip Water is looking for the most impressive residential free-standing home and multi-residential home kitchen design that features a Zip HydroTap.

There will be two winners chosen by the judges in a blind judging process. The winners of each category will receive return flights and accommodation for themselves and a companion to Milan for the 2020 Salone de Mobile with Australian International Design Tours (AIDT) and Zip Water – plus spending money!

For your chance to win, submit your residential home or project details before 27 November 2019.

Find out more about the competition here, and remember you have to be in it to win it!

Meet our Members: Helen Baumann CKD Au

Meet our Members: Helen Baumann CKD Au

Helen Baumann CKD Au is a qualified interior designer and KBDi Certified Kitchen Designer based in Sydney. She’s been a long-time Member of KBDi, and we’re proud to have her in our community. In this feature, we’re sharing a short story about Helen’s journey, and showing off one of her more recent kitchen projects.

Helen’s creative flair was born in the Design Department of ABC TV, where she worked on a range of successful productions including Brides of Christ, The True Believers, Enough Rope and Election Chaser. From 2011 to 2016, Helen was also the Set Designer for the successful children’s television show Giggle and Hoot. This position won her the prestigious Silver Promax BDA Global Excellence Award for set design.

Helen’s career has incorporated art direction, set design and graphic design for major entertainment companies including Warner Brothers, Southern Star & Fox Australia. She has held key roles in productions including Jack and Sarah (UK), Oscar and Lucinda (Aus) & Red Planet (US).

With a personal passion for interior design and a love of cooking and entertaining, kitchen design seemed a natural selection for a post-children career choice. Helen embarked on some specialised kitchen training (Cert IV in Design of Kitchens, Bathrooms and Interior Spaces), and began working at Sydney Kitchens. She soon branched off with her own business – Helen Baumann Design – and now enjoys working on a range of projects across Sydney.

The Design Brief

Helen’s clients commissioned her to transform their existing dark kitchen, lounge room and outside laundry into an extended open plan family space. They had a long list of practical and aesthetic requirements, including:

  • an afterschool play area for grandchildren
  • a long kitchen island bench for relaxed meals and afternoon tea
  • a library area for computer, homework and books
  • storage for toys, and a linen cupboard for vacuum cleaner etc.
  • integrated hidden appliances
  • a convenient space for keys and diary near the entrance of the kitchen area
  • display areas for glasses and favourite pieces
  • symmetrical cabinetry
  • a calm, relaxed, timeless palette
  • a visual break from the heavy heritage detail of front of the house (but with a subtle link to the home’s character)
  • abundant natural light

See how Helen addresses all of the above in the video below.

Is kitchen or bathroom design a stand-alone gig?

Is kitchen or bathroom design a stand-alone gig?

As our name would suggest, the Kitchen & Bathroom Designers Institute is made up a growing group of designers who focus predominantly (or solely) on kitchen and/or bathroom design.

Our members have come to us from all kinds of backgrounds: from interior design, interior decoration, cabinetmaking, building design, building and sales, our K and B designers have a range of qualifications and skillsets.

What they all have in common, however, is an understanding that kitchens and bathrooms can be the most profitable part of both new builds and renovations, and they’re worth honing in on.

So how does someone become a kitchen or bathroom specialist?

Our Membership is almost at a 50-50 split between trade backgrounds and design qualifications. We’ve shared a few journeys of our tradie-come-designers in the past, and will be sharing more in the coming months. In this feature, however, we’re looking at the make-up of many of our design-based Members, and exploring the differences between design and decoration.

We’ll look at each discipline from three perspectives – concept, qualifications and services – and we invite you to add your point of view in the comments section at the end of this article.

Interior Design: Concept

Interior design encompasses both the function and aesthetics of a space. It requires an understanding of space (both the broader floor plan and actual building elements), the behaviour and activities of people within an area, and the practical and aesthetic qualities of the finishes required.

Interior Design: Qualifications

In Australia, interior designers are likely to have attained a Diploma of Interior Design (residential spaces), an Advanced Diploma of Interior Design (commercial spaces), or a Bachelor of Interior Design or Interior Architecture.

In our niche specifically, we have a growing number of graduates of the Cert IV in Kitchen and Bathroom Design. As its title would indicate, this course is an intensive study in the specific areas of k and b design, and a good investment for anyone wishing to specialise.

There are no specific licences that relate to Interior Design in Australia, but designers must ensure that their scope of work doesn’t creep into those areas that do require licensing (see services).

Interior Design: Services

Interior designers provide a broad range of design advice and services, and are involved in:

  • analysing the client’s goals and requirements for a space (design brief)
  • planning, arranging and selecting finishes for the space
  • selecting and specifying finishes (colours, products etc.), furniture, fabrics, fixtures and lighting
  • preparing detailed client presentations of the proposed layout and finishes
  • working in collaboration with builders, architects and trade contractors in
  • preparing detailed design documentation

Unless suitably licensed to do so, interior designers should not be undertaking structural design (where load-bearing walls are to be removed, for instance), project management or building works. (Check your local state regulatory authority for more information.)

Interior Decoration: Concept

Broadly speaking, interior decoration places more emphasis on aesthetics than space planning. Skilled decorators can help clients decide on a particular decorative style, advise on appropriate colour schemes and finishes, purchase furniture and accessories and undertake general styling of residential interiors.

Interior Decoration: Qualifications

Many interior decorators hold Certificate IV level qualifications in Interior Decoration. Some may hold higher qualifications in related areas, while others may have accumulated years of experience. Like interior designers, interior decorators are not required to be licensed, but must ensure that their scope of work does not extend into structural design, project management or building services where licensing is required.

Interior Decoration: Services

Decorators may work with interior designers, builders and homeowners. They will often undertake the following services:

  • researching and analysing the client’s goals and aesthetic preferences
  • planning, designing and arranging furnishings within a space
  • interior styling
  • selecting and specifying colours, finishes and furnishings
  • purchasing and on-selling furniture and accessories

Since our inception, we’ve seen many successful collaborations between designers and decorators, decorators and cabinetmakers, designers and builders and more.

We understand that all of our Members – despite their qualifications or backgrounds – share a great interest and passion in residential kitchen and bathroom spaces.

With our growing body of technical bulletins, feature articles, workshops and professional development sessions, our goal is to ‘fill in the gaps’ for all of these interested parties, wherever there may be a need. In doing so, we believe we can create a well-informed and better-connected community in the niche area of kitchen and bathroom design, and highlight its position as a stand-alone career.

Looking for leaks in your cash flow

Looking for leaks in your cash flow

When finances start to dry up, our first instinct is usually to look for ways to increase our fees and income. What is often overlooked, however, is how cash flow can be significantly improved by stopping leaks and spills in your everyday accounts.

When you’re trying to run a business, time and money are your most valuable assets. In this feature, we’re looking at three ways you can spend a little time to save a lot of money, and keep your business above water.

#1 Tracking Transactions

Studying your bank statements isn’t a particularly fun or creative task, but it’s something all small business owners should get in the habit of doing. Taking ten minutes to check your transactions at the end of each month can uncover all kinds of leakages, including:

  • Online subscriptions – how many times have you tested a new app or program with a ‘free trial’ lure. If you’ve handed over your credit card details in order to get the download, and haven’t cancelled the account when you discovered you wouldn’t really need said app or program, a new sneaky debit could be an expensive long-term leak.
  • Increased service fees – monthly payments for insurances and other services are super convenient and can help your cash flow. They can, however, make us a bit lax when it comes to comparing prices at renewal time. When you’re keeping a check on your monthly debits, you may be surprised at the increase in premiums and fees between one year and another. When you see an increase, take action right away and investigate your options (more about that below).
  • ATM and bank fees – withdrawing cash from random ATMs will typically incur a sneaky fee; a couple of bucks seems insignificant, but these ‘drips’ can certainly add up. The same goes for monthly bank fees – can these be negotiated with your bank? Will another bank offer a ‘no-fee’ account? What kind of interest rate are you paying on your credit card? Could you do better with another type of card, or perhaps another lending institution? 

#2 Comparing Cover

We all gripe about paying insurance, but not having cover when you need it could cause a lot more pain down the track. Finding the best value insurance is essential: allow yourself ten minutes per week for the next four weeks to price check your business insurances (PI & PL, Vehicle, Office or Home & Contents and – while you’re at it – health insurance). Ask how much you’ll save by paying annually rather than monthly. Compare the savings you make to your hourly rate, and you’ll see it’s time well spent.

Note: when you’re looking at PI & PL, don’t forget our tailor-made group policy. This cover is designed for designers (so you know it’s a good fit), and with the benefits of a group buying power, it’s a hard-to-beat price. Learn more here.


#3 Managing your Mobile

The cost of calls is less of an issue than the drain of data in most mobile plans. Depending on your out-of-office (and away from wi-fi) usage, you may be well over-covered with an unlimited plan or way under-covered with consistent data add-ons. Check out the data usage for your most-used apps and services: web browsing is light on (around 60MB per hour), as is Facebook (80MB per hour for scrolling, 160MB per hour for cat videos). Instagram, on the other hand, is one of the most data-intensive apps you’re likely to use on a daily basis, sucking up around 720MB per hour. Ask your service provider to talk through your data usage, and see if you can negotiate a better deal. (And think carefully about where you’re using Insta!)

If you have some other small-business-savers, we’d love to hear from you – comment below.