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. 

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.

Grout lines and tile layouts

Grout lines and tile layouts

While grouting is not always discussed in great depth at the design consultancy stage, it is frequently a point of contention when the tiling work is finished. Most tile retailers will confirm that ‘misaligned grout lines’ is their number one consumer complaint.

We’ve create a Technical Bulletin to help you keep on top of your tiling layouts and avoid disputes down the track. The Bulletin answers questions like:

  • What is grout and why is necessary?
  • Why do joint widths (grout lines) matter?
  • What are the ‘rules’ around joint widths (Australian Standards)?

This Bulletin will be a great resource to add to your library. Complete the form below and we’ll verify your Membership and get a copy to you ASAP. Alternatively, use the link we sent you a little while back (emailed to Members last month) and you’ll get access to all of our 2019 Bulletins in your own time.

Request for Technical Bulletin

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.

Silicone sealants and mould

Silicone sealants and mould

The application of silicone sealant is often – quite literally – the finishing touch to a newly installed kitchen or bathroom. 

It is also a common cause of conflict, according to our Members, when mould and mildew begin to appear. Many homeowners underestimate the importance of keeping their bathrooms and kitchens free of mould, and are often perplexed about the consequences.

In this Technical Bulletin, we set out considerations for selecting, applying and maintaining silicone sealant, and encourage you to share this information with your client when you hand over a shiny new project.

Request for Technical Bulletin

Request for Technical Bulletin

Schweigen’s Home Ventilation Solutions – a breath of fresh air for your home

Schweigen’s Home Ventilation Solutions – a breath of fresh air for your home

A message from our Gold Sponsor, Schweigen

What’s going into your lungs?

All across Australia, homes are increasingly being sealed up to be more energy-efficient. This means that stale air is more likely to be trapped inside, becoming damp and polluted over time. While there isn’t much that we can do about outdoor smog, pollen or dander, there are solutions available to ensure that stale indoor air, odours, steam, cooking smoke, fumes, airborne grease and off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products, building materials and furnishings are silently and efficiently taken care of.

Home as a sanctuary

Schweigen’s silent home ventilation solutions comprise of rangehoods for indoor and outdoor kitchen use, plus multi-purpose exhaust fans for all other areas of the house, including:

  1. Bathrooms/toilets: to remove odours, steam and humidity (preventing mould and mildew build-up), plus VOCs released during cleaning
  2. Laundry rooms: to remove stale air and humidity
  3. Garage/workshop: to remove fumes and carbon monoxide
  4. Pantry/cellar: to remove stale air and humidity
  5. Kitchen: to remove smoke, fumes, odours and airborne oil particles (preventing grease build-up on surfaces, clothing and furniture)


These are powered by Schweigen’s patented Isodrive® Motor Systems, each incorporating German-made ebm-papst motors, recognised as some of the quietest and most energy-efficient domestic extraction units on the market.

Image source: Darren Genner, Minosa Design

Product feature: Schweigen’s BR500 Multi-Purpose Exhaust Fan

Available in an array of styles, finishes, features and motor power options, Schweigen’s silent home ventilation solutions are designed to be installed on the roof, wall or eave and are suitable almost any room in your unit, apartment, townhouse, single or multi-storey house.

Breathe easier

Chat with us to get your home ventilation concerns addressed, and you can rest assured dealing with the brand behind Australia’s bestselling silent rangehood. For more information, please visit or contact us at 1300 881 693.