Designing with significant simplicity

Designing with significant simplicity

There’s a fine line between simplicity and monotony when it comes to interior design, but the following designers have nailed it!

In this feature, we’re looking at how these KBDi Members have used a ‘less is more’ approach to create simple but significant spaces.

A striking quartzite stone takes centre stage in this kitchen, much to the delight of the geologist homeowner. Melbourne designer, Rina Cohen CKD Au, complemented the organic colourings of the Cristalli quartzite with American oak veneer and shades of white and grey. The result is a simple palette with natural style.

Cardellino is the centrepiece of this luxurious space, carefully crafted by Victorian designer, Olivia Cirocco. Dulux ‘Blissful White’ cabinetry lives up to its name, adding a whole lot of bliss to this classy and uncomplicated kitchen.

Layers of white and grey sit stylishly alongside the featured Elba Marble in this kitchen designed by Melbourne’s, Olivia Cirocco. The muted palette allows the marble to sing, and the simplicity of the design is oh-so-sweet.

Such sweet simplicity in the layout of this kitchen designed by Melbourne’s Kia Howat.  Byron Blackbutt, Lexicon Quarter and a gorgeous grey benchtop sing serenity, and glossy green subways add an extra element to this simple, natural and inviting space.

Have a favourite of these four? Vote below, or send us a pic of your best example of a ‘simple but significant’ design. 

Boot room, mud room, what room?

Boot room, mud room, what room?

Australia may be an island, but we’re far from isolated when it comes to interior design. We have a plethora of international design blogs streaming to our phones, tablets and PCs every day, and so do our clients.

And when American and European interiors are ‘pinned’ and filed by these clients, so too is the international terminology, adding a few more tweaks to our complicated vernacular and more opportunities for confusion.

In this feature, we’ll look at the subtle differences between three rooms increasingly popular in Australia today.

Powder Room
The term ‘powder room’ has been used by Australians for some time, most often for the small bathroom to be used by guests. The room essentially houses a toilet, sink and mirror, and often adjoins the living/entertaining areas of a home.

Boot Room
The term ‘boot room’ appears to have originated in the UK, defining the room that football teams broke to for their post-game cheers or commiserations. As home-owners looked for a similar space to facilitate muddy boots and wet sporting gear, along with the necessary ablutions, the boot room made its way on to the home design wish list.

Over the years it has evolved to a bathroom near an entranceway that houses a bench to sit on while you pull off your muddy boots, along with coat hooks and storage, a sink, toilet and shower or bath. For obvious reasons, the boot room is best finished with hard-wearing, easy to clean products, but by no means need it look like the ‘man cave’ some would imagine!

Mud Room
The mud room is virtually the American equivalent of the boot room (without the amenities) and until the last few years, has most often been found in snowy, damp northern American climates. The sensibility of such a room can be appreciated in any climate, however, and as a place to store outerwear, boots, sports gear and the like, could be considered a practical must-have. The location of the mud room will generally dictate its contents and finish: by the back door, it may contain storage bins and shelving, and have a floor finish well suited to muddy ingress and egress. By the front door, a more welcoming arrangement would be required, with decorative hardware and cabinetry.

We’d love to see examples of your home-grown versions of these internationally inspired rooms. Send us your best projects and we’ll add them to this feature.

Digital design with computer-aided drafting

Digital design with computer-aided drafting

A message from our Corporate Partner, Cabinets by Computer

To think of older days of design, you think of a thick, full sketchbook full of days and hours of work. You think of a skilled and creative designer who could conjure a client’s design with a pencil and a perfectly descriptive conversation. The skill, creativity and beautiful presentation are very much present in modern design. Time and effort undoubtedly remain as well, however, the amount of content and quality that can be produced with that same effort has increased vastly with the progress in software that allows more designers to put their pencils aside.

Modern technology and advancements are also allowing designers to offer a full solution to their clients, bridging a gap between design and production that previously relied on networking and connections.

With software solutions more affordable and widely available, a small designer can compete with the major studios in both quality and efficiency. The simplicity and ease of use offered by modern design solutions allow even inexperienced designers to provide clients with beautiful and expressive designs. Meanwhile experienced designers can take a step above to create and send near photo-realistic designs to their clients within a greatly reduced timeframe.

Becoming a full solution

3D Design Software has an obviously clear presence and awareness in the design industry, allowing faster design time and easier connection and correspondence with clients. However, modern software and services provides designers with an even greater connection that many are still unaware of. A connection to the manufacturing and production professionals that can allow designers to offer a full service to their clients.

Many industries have relied on an aspect of “who you know” which involves developing industry connections in order to increase your level of service. Sometimes it can be hard to initially find these connections and get your foot in the door. In the past, this would have held many business back but modern platforms such as goCabinets offered by Cabinets by Computer are able to quickly and efficiently connect designers and other professionals with a local manufacturer who can cut your custom cabinetry.

You won’t need to write detailed cutting lists as online platforms are making it simpler and clearer to define what you need. Simply selecting required units and specifying your custom height, width and more allows you to generate an instant quote based on your selections. You can then apply a mark-up, get your own quote accepted by your client and organise for flat packs to be delivered straight to your client.

Accessibility is what modern solutions have provided to more of the design industry.   Up-and-comers are able to produce stunning designs and reduce the risk of losing a client. All studios can now upsell to their clients a complete solution by not just designing a stunning kitchen but by sending the cabinetry straight to their door. The days of pen and paper may conjure fond memories but the present and future have eyes on the screen.

To find out more how goCabinet can help your business follow the link:


Retail fitouts stand out with Staron

Retail fitouts stand out with Staron

A message from our Corporate Plus Partner, Austaron


The demanding and high traffic environment of a retail fit-out needs a surface that is durable, hard-wearing, renewable and non-porous. Staron® Solid Surfaces meets every criterion to create a project that will look like the day it was installed, for years to come. Inconspicuous joins make cleaning easy with no dirt-trapping crevices, unachievable with many other materials. The non-porous nature also ensures that no stain is ever permanent. The flexible design nature of Staron® also makes it possible to create any design imaginable. Thermoforming Staron® creates curves and shapes, allowing it to be formed and sculpted into almost any design or concept. The transparency of selected colours means that Staron® can be illuminated by backlighting for creative impact.

Create unique designs by etching a brand or logo into the Staron® material and backlighting to illuminate it.

Due to the non-porous and repairable properties of Staron® – it is also a hygienic solution for toilet partitions and vanities in shopping centres. Create service counters, baby change countertops, seating, wall panels, furniture pieces, display cabinets, tabletops, feature shop fit-outs, shelving and creative sculptures. Inlay multiple colours of Staron® to create corporate logos or colours – the possibilities are endless.

Staron® Solid Surfaces is comprised of a natural and pure mineral derived from bauxite ore and blended with an advanced pure acrylic resin, resulting in the world’s premium surface material. It is suitable for endless applications in a commercial or residential project. With a silk-like finish and a range of over 90 colours to select from, Staron® is both aesthetically and functionally pleasing. All this comes in an environmentally sustainable material, with a 10 Year Limited Warranty. Staron® Solid Surfaces provides a design solution that pushes the boundaries of design.
02 9822 7055


Staron curved into ribbon designed shelving at Stuart Weitzman, Sydney.

Five good reasons to network in the New Year

Five good reasons to network in the New Year

The Kitchen and Bathroom Designers Institute sprouts networking as one of its key member benefits; we offer this broadly through our national and local chapter events, and more intimately at our member-only gatherings. What we have realised over the years, however, is that the value of business-to-business networking is not something that is always recognised. In this article, we’ve put together five good reasons for you to get clear about networking in 2020.

#1 Getting to Know your Reps
The number of products available in the kitchen and bathroom industry is abundant and ever-increasing. Having good relationships with your reps will help you keep ahead of this influx, and ensure you’re offering your clients the best products for their needs. Productive business-to-business relationships depend on strong two-way communication, and face-to-face liaison generally offers the most open and honest way to connect. Industry events allow you to meet new connections in an informal, social environment, and are an excellent way to build positive and fruitful relationships with product suppliers.

#2 Problem Solving and Trouble Shooting
If you’re not sure about a particular product application, or a product isn’t working out as planned, a designer who has ‘been there, done that’ could help get you on track in no time. Likewise, reps know their products and, in many cases, may have come across your dilemma previously – a ‘real-time’ conversation with your rep could save time, money and whole heap of hassle.

#3 Friendships & Mentoring
If you’ve ever attended a KBDi Symposium or Awards Gala, you’ll have noticed the comradery that exists between members, at both intra and inter-state levels. These genuine friendships make for fun times, but there’s a tangible business benefit, too: an ‘informal mentoring’ often takes place between friends in the same industry, and can be of immeasurable value for a designer taking on a new project outside of their ‘normal’ scope, or dealing with a difficult client and wondering how others would handle an issue. A friendship can peel away the ‘fear of competition’ and offer great opportunities for asking for (or offering) advice.

#4 New Work & Job Sharing
Building a network of industry peers can create a range of opportunities, from employment offers to design collaborations to work referrals – and plenty in between. Do you have a too-full calendar and new clients lining up impatiently? Imagine how easy it would be to say ‘no’ to a potential new client if you could refer him or her to another designer you personally know. On the flip side, if you could do with an extra job or two on your books, your design peers could be looking for someone to help!

#5 Positive Influence
You become who you associate with: we all know negative people can be a drain, but if you surround yourself with the right people, their attitudes and habits can be contagious! Modelling successful people is a proven way to improve your own performance, and face-to-face association is the best way to achieve this.

Of course, there are many more reasons to make business-to-business networking start working for you. If you’re already an advocate, what would you add to this list?

And if you have a ‘top tip’ for productive networking, we’d love to hear it so comment below.