Appreciating Australia’s Architecture

Appreciating Australia’s Architecture

With more than 40 books to his name and a contagious passion for design, Stephen Crafti is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to Australian architecture.

Stephen shared his expertise at this year’s KBDi Design Symposium, taking delegates on a tantalising tour through Toorak, Prahran and South Yarra. With his commentary entertaining us as we weaved through the leafy suburbs, Stephen shared gems like the ones below before generously (bravely?) opening his own doors to 80 eager designers.

Wood Marsh Architecture designed this truly breath-taking Toorak residence. Spanning three street frontages, the home’s raw concrete walls curve in and around featured trees and lush landscaping, providing privacy and intrigue. An ‘out of world’ disc-shaped roof floats above the walls, strategically positioned to play with light and shade internally and externally.

Husband and wife team, John and Helen Holgar, established their architectural firm in 1957. The practice – Holgar and Holgar – was renowned for its high-end residential projects, and we were privileged to see their Modernist style up-close and personal during Stephen’s tour. The couple’s signature arc motif was evident in these glamorous abodes, and we were all left to wonder what design delights would be hidden inside!

Stephen’s own home in South Yarra is an outstanding example of ‘old meets new’. Designed by Robert Simeoni Architects, the house is an exquisite reconfiguration of a 1930s duplex. Ground floor and first-floor apartments, each with their own external access, were cleverly combined into a single residence. An extension added an impressive volume to the internal space, with the new materials (glass and steelwork) adding a striking contrast to the heritage exterior. The bathrooms were of great interest to our group: the selection of materials, colours and shapes were a respectful nod to the 1930s architecture of the original residence.

Our final tour stop was an exclusive visit to the home of renowned Melbourne-based architect, Stephen Jolson. The Prahran residence is a perfect execution of an industrial re-invention: the former confectionery factory façade hides a contemporary interior spilling with light, luxury and a surprising sense of warmth. We couldn’t take photographs of the home’s interior, but there’s no doubt we were all awed and inspired.

Huge thanks to Stephen Crafti for this wonderful experience, and to the session sponsor, Hettich, whose generous contribution allowed us this great opportunity.

What did our Members have to say about this tour? Here’s some feedback – straight copy and paste – from this year’s Symposium guests:

Loved it and gained a greater appreciation of the value of architecture. Also it was great to see how those that participated appreciated the experience.


What a great day this was. Getting into both of those homes and speaking with the architects involved was fantastic. His knowledge of architecture was amazing and his witty humour made it all so much more interesting.


2 very different houses, both inspirational, I was speechless after the Jolson House, and Ive been to Falling Water!


One of my favourite parts of the weekend. Really appreciate Melbourne architecture.


This took everybody out of their comfort zone and showed then that design is total, it is not just about our small areas. It also inspired us to think about time and great design.


I always love visiting houses and seeing different styles, and how people live in them. Certainly a good conversation piece with clients, with lots of ideas.



To learn more about Stephen’s architectural tours, email him directly at

(Images above courtesy of Darren Genner CKD Au.) 

Schweigen impresses with a delightful spread

Schweigen impresses with a delightful spread

The Schweigen sponsored KBDi Chapter Events were a huge success, bringing members, sponsors, students and guests together to enjoy 3 nights to celebrate the year!

These events are an invaluable means of connecting with other designers and businesses to discuss opportunities, learn about the latest and greatest products, and to discover new & exciting technology to the kitchen and bathroom product market.

With KBDi representatives Ron Redman, Alan Gmeiner, Jane Tincey, and Greg Grant providing guests KBDi updates, all 3 events proved to be a truly insightful and enjoyable evening for all. Additionally, Schweigen’s Managing Director, Anthony Fletcher, kept members and guests up-to-date with the latest from the silent rangehood experts, including the brand new Schweigen Classic brochure (available to view here) and promotional brand video (watch here). 

All events kicked off with the SA Chapter, held at the stunning Schweigen IN. Showroom at Adelaide Appliance Gallery in St Peters. Guests were treated to a full table with an array of incredibly delicious food, all created by MKR Champion 2014, Bree May (catering by Food According to Bree). Additionally, we were delighted to Bree’s Cooking Demonstration of the traditional Spanish dish, Paella, where guests were able to experience the premium Schweigen IN. kitchen appliance range in action. Not to mention, Bree did not have to speak over a noisy rangehood – everyone could hear perfectly clear under the show-stopping Silent Paradigma Cassette Ceiling!

Consecutively, WA’s Chapter Event followed at Schweigen’s Perth Showroom, with decadent Asian-themed catering by local chef, Duncan Matthews. National Schweigen IN. brand manager, Pete McKee, took guests through an insightful talk-through of the premium range of silent rangehoods, in-built ovens, and cooktops.

Lastly, the Brisbane Chapter Event, hosted at the Brisbane Butler IN., was a truly enjoyable end to all the events. Guests were treated to the wonderful catering by Brisbane’s Beartown Coffee House & Catering and learned about KBDi’s new benefits to offer in 2019.

Other highlights include the lucky door prize draws, such as the Schweigen BR500 Silent Exhaust System, Universal Media donated Gift Pack & Subscription to a Universal Media Magazine. Additionally, two guests at Brisbane’s Chapter Event were pleasantly surprised to a 1-year KBDi Membership, kindly donated by Schweigen! 

A special thank you to all involved in the organisation of the events, and a huge thank you to all those who attended. Stay tuned for what’s in store for the year ahead at Schweigen – you may be pleasantly surprised…


Food According to Bree: 

Beartown Coffee House & Catering:


Schweigen IN.:

Symposium delegates dive into Design MasterClass with Designer Training Australia

Symposium delegates dive into Design MasterClass with Designer Training Australia

Gathering 80-odd design and industry professionals together for some ‘team creativity’ was a risky ambition, but Lisa Chapman of Designer Training Australia pulled it off without injury or incident!

With the much-appreciated support of session sponsor, Laminex Australia, the Design Master Class saw teams tested in a fun-filled on-the-spot design challenge.

With up-and-coming designers sitting alongside their more experienced peers and industry stalwarts, the room was abuzz with design adrenalin! After a short presentation about ‘looking for inspiration in your every day’, the classmates were challenged to apply these principles in designing a laminate print for production. They were then charged with the task of integrating their new product range into a kitchen or bathroom design, and the results were truly inspiring!

If you missed out on this Design Master Class, why not check out the short (and long) courses offered by Designer Training Australia? Find more information at

Huge thanks once again to Laminex Australia for allowing us to present this fantastic Master Class, and to the team at Designer Training Australia for their enormous efforts in pulling together a great session!

Engaging speakers encourage designers to step up!

Engaging speakers encourage designers to step up!

With thanks to the much-valued support of our sponsors, Blum Australia, accredited Kitchens and Bathroom Designers enjoyed an inspiring and motivating morning at the KBDi Certified Designers Forum on the Gold Coast on Friday, 8 June.

Well-known KBDi Member and highly regarded designer, Ros Hemley, opened the Forum with an inspiring presentation about her design journey to date. As founder and Creative Director of The Interior Space, Ros has enjoyed great success on Australian and international design stages in a variety of roles. During this session, Ros shared her theories and practices in incorporating creativity into your ‘every day’, and embracing the opportunities that will subsequently arise.

Ros was followed by Louise Williams, who shared a wonderful presentation about how to position yourself as an ‘industry influencer’. With a Masters in Organisational Psychology and a self-proclaimed obsession with transformation, Louise encouraged the Members to consider their current position in the field, and work on ways in which to take the leap to the next level with a focus on personal branding.

We’re looking forward to seeing some inspired transformations in the coming months!

Huge thanks once again to Blum Australia for enabling KBDi to deliver two highly professional and engaging speakers to our Certified Designers.

Have you booked your Gold Coast Getaway yet?

Have you booked your Gold Coast Getaway yet?

There are few better places to spend a winter weekend than on Queensland’s ever-sunny Gold Coast, and we’ve lined up three great reasons for you to register for the KBDi Design Symposium and Gala book your flights today!

1. Design Inspiration: In June 2018, KBDi will be celebrating a Decade of Design, and we’re working on a program that you won’t want to miss. Our two day Symposium promises to be inspiring, informative and LOTS of fun! A full agenda will be released in the new year, but in the meantime here’s a sneak preview.

2. Dressing Up and Dining Fine: the Gold Coast is synonymous with glitz and glam, and we couldn’t think of a better place to hold our KBDi Designer Awards 2018 Gala Dinner. Join us as we reveal the crème de la crème of the K & B industry at a very special tenth anniversary event.

3. Long Weekend Luxury: we’re setting up camp at the Gold Coast’s only beachfront resort, and encourage you to check out the incredible rooms available at the 5 star Sheraton Grand Mirage Gold Coast. Check in on the Thursday (7 June, 2018) and give yourself a few days to really relax. Most of you will have a public holiday on Monday, June 11 – why not make the most of this long weekend at a luxury resort!?!

Motivated yet? Remember places are limited, so register and book today!

Laminex’s National Design Marketing Manager shares key trend insights for year ahead

Laminex’s National Design Marketing Manager shares key trend insights for year ahead

National Design Marketing Manager for Laminex Australia, Catherine Valente, joined Laminex with a strong background in residential design, including lead design roles in the building and construction industry. Her position at Laminex has seen the development of the iconic Australian brand evolve from a product-led business to a business with design at its core. A designer for over 20 years, Catherine’s focus has always been about creating spaces that engage, enhance and also produce an emotional experience. She believes everyone deserves to have a beautiful space and is passionately driven to enable this.

KBDi will be delighted to introduce Catherine to our SA and WA Members at our upcoming events, where she’ll be sharing a fantastic presentation about the key trend insights for the year ahead.

Adelaide members, find out more about your event here.

Perth members, RSVP here so we can ensure you’re catered for.