Curves in all the right places

Curves in all the right places

A message from our Corporate Plus Partner, Austaron.

Staron® Solid Surfaces is manufactured by Lotte Chemical from a safe natural mineral refined from bauxite and blended with pure acrylic resin to create a high performance solid surface. Staron® Solid Surfaces does not contain harmful silica. With a range of over 90 colours to select from, Staron® offers an extensive range of solid surface.

One of the great advantages of Staron® is that it can be moulded and curved into any design or structure through a process called thermoforming. This process allows three-dimensional designs to come to life. Virtually any shape can be formed with Staron®.

This creative process of design can result in endless interesting design possibilities. Wall panels can be curved, countertops can join inconspicuously around soft curves, and custom design vanities can be a feature with smooth rounded designs.

Create unique curved surfaces or make the waves of your project twist into a concept that creates impact. Walls can gently or dramatically curve and retail counters can curve into interesting designs.

The flexibility of Staron® extends to limitless edge profiles, drop down edges, splashbacks and tile coves. Selected Staron® colours are also translucent and can be backlit to bring your design to life.

Staron® is non-toxic, Greenguard® and Greenguard® Gold certified, Eco-Specifier certified so you can specify Staron® with the peace of mind that you are providing a material that will create a healthy project environment.

The non-porous nature of Staron® means that no stain is ever permanent, providing a durable surface that is hygienic and easy to clean. Staron® is also repairable and renewable. Even after years of use it can simply be sanded and restored back to its original condition. Staron® does not have any finishing polishes or sealers applied; it is the same solid material throughout its thickness. It creates long and wide continuing surfaces with no open or conspicuous joins.

No dirt trapping joins or crevices to clean, just one continuous surface that looks and performs as one piece. Staron® Solid Surfaces achieves a Group 1 Fire Certificate result to AS56371.1 and is backed by a 10-Year Warranty for peace of mind.

Staron Solid Surfaces are proudly distributed by Austaron Surfaces.

Curved Staron benchtop design. Design by Richard Cardy.
PD Tuesday | The Ins & Outs of Integrated Fridges

PD Tuesday | The Ins & Outs of Integrated Fridges

Tuesday | 2 March 2021 | 4pm ADST

Finding a fridge that fulfills a client’s practical needs without compromising the kitchen aesthetic can be challenging. Integrated refrigerators are often the best solution, but it’s important to know the ins and outs of integrated units before you start planning your pitch. In this session, E & S Trading’s Rob Sinclair will take you through the most popular integrated fridges in Australia, and outline what all good designers should consider when specifying integrated units.

Watch the recording

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Designing with tile: texture and dimension

Designing with tile: texture and dimension

The inherent ‘smoothness’ of tile – and its subsequent ease of cleaning – makes the material a popular choice for bathrooms and kitchen splashbacks. But for those looking for more dimension in their designs, textured tiles offer some exciting decorative possibilities.

Concave and convex, folded and indented, rippled and bevelled tiles can turn the ordinary into extraordinary. Even the slightest variation to the face of a tile can capture and reflect the light in a space, immediately adding interest and a tactile calling.

In this feature, we’re exploring some of the ways KBDi Members have successfully designed with tiles to introduce texture and dimension.

Melbourne’s Jasmine McLelland (Jasmine McClelland Design) added lux to this lavish space with a Carnivale Tri Grey Italian Porcelain Tile. The three-dimensional run of faceted pyramid shapes is beautifully balanced by a no-nonsense, large format floor tile and discrete frameless shower screens.

The same designer introduced a beautifully embossed white tile to this sturdy family bathroom. Mimicking a woven textile with a classic chevron pattern, the selection softens the space while adding interest and movement.

In a textured-tile-trifecta, Jasmine played with concave circles in this spectacular kitchen splashback. The tiles both absorb and reflect the light in a most unusual way, adding a new dimension to the black and white geometric space.

The natural light flooding this bathroom emphasises the surface variegation of the rippled subway tiles specified by Melbourne’s Matthew James. Balanced with a large format floor tile and fuss-free fittings, the overall look is simple, clean and timeless.

The subway tiles in this gorgeous bathroom (designed by Adelaide’s Janine Izzo, Antipode Interiors) are just one of four in a prettily patterned space. The bevelled-edge of the subway adds weight and substance to the window wall, contrasting perfectly with the delicate tiles elsewhere in the room.

Have a favourite from the selection above? Share your thoughts below.

How will COVID-19 change kitchen and bathroom design

How will COVID-19 change kitchen and bathroom design

As Australia’s peak industry group for kitchen and bathroom designers, we’re often asked to share our perspective on changing trends in these much-loved spaces. COVID-19 has prompted a new line of questioning, and we’re considering how the response to the virus could change design in 2021 and beyond. We’ve looked into our crystal ball to start the conversation, and invite you to add your predictions in the comments below.

Function of Space

In the past year, the long-recognised ‘hub of the home’ has hosted a variety of tasks alongside traditional kitchen duties. With homeschooling, working from home and a renewed enthusiasm (by necessity) for in-house cooking and entertaining, well-designed, multi-functional spaces are more important than ever. 
Bathrooms will further transform from a utilitarian space into a wellness escape, as set out below.

Wellness in Design

A well-designed kitchen or bathroom will encourage wellness in several ways: 
  • Natural light and refreshing and invigorating palettes can make an enormous difference to the ‘vibe’ of a home, and minimise feelings of claustrophobia. 
  • Access to natural airflow, practical air ventilation and thoughtful storage planning, combined with sensitive product specifications, can reduce toxic exposure in the home. 
  • Ergonomic consideration and future-planning can create an environment that will accommodate accessibility for a range of abilities and ages. 

Colours, Patterns & Texture

We anticipate an exciting shift in home environment finishes, with a variety of inspiration sources:
  • A renewed appreciation for nature will see earth and sea-inspired hues work their way into our palettes. Cool whites will be ‘warmed up’ with brown-based creams, beiges, tan and terracotta tones. Forest greens and sea-blues will feature more distinctly.
  • As international travel stalls, we look forward to seeing how consumers and designers introduce flavours of afar into home design. Through colour, texture and pattern, homeowners have a fantastic opportunity to add glimpses of their favourite cities to their everyday environment. 

Appliance, Product and Material Specifications

As many Australians move to work from home on a more regular basis, we’ve seen a considerable uptake of appliances once reserved for office premises. KBDi partners have reported a significant increase in sales in boiling water taps, sparkling water taps and microwaves as homes convert to live-in offices. 
Hygiene and air quality will be of greater interest to homeowners focussing on health. We expect to see more emphasis placed on the antibacterial properties of benchtops and tiles (grouts, specifically), and the chemical make-up (VOCs) of paints, cabinetry and furnishings. We’ll see more attention paid to air extraction systems – both in kitchens and bathrooms – and a greater appreciation for natural airflow. 
We’d love you to look into your own crystal ball (or tealeaves or tarot cards or whatever takes your fancy) and share your predictions in the comments below.
Scullery design

Scullery design

With Clients expecting more and more from their kitchens – particularly after a year of at-home cooking – a hideaway space for cleaning and pantry storage overflow is almost always in the brief. In this feature, we’re taking a peek into butlers’ pantries and sculleries, and setting out our top ten considerations for these very important zones.

Butler’s Pantry or Scullery – what’s the difference?

While the names are often interchanged, a professional designer will want to know the difference between a butler’s pantry and a scullery. We’ll start with a step back in time to the Victorian Era, and look at the roles of the namesakes of today’s pantry extensions.

You’ll be greeted by Mr Butler…
The upper-class houses of the Victorian era saw the Butler’s role rise from a simple cupbearer to a highly ranked servant. In his newly established position, the Butler added the more modern wine cellar (‘buttery’ or pantry) to his charge, alongside his dining room duties and front door attendance. In his day-to-day work, the Butler would greet and announce the arrival of guests, wait on the table at mealtimes, and clean and polish the household silver and knives.

His pantry space (the ‘Butler’s Pantry’) was a dedicated area for the cleaning, counting and polishing of the family silver, china sets, serving dishes and so on. The Butler would keep this pantry locked to prevent the theft of the family heirlooms, and would sometimes even sleep in the space for added security!

Image sourced from Learn more about the history of the Butler’s Pantry here.

But you won’t meet the Scullery Maid…
At the opposite end of the servant hierarchy was the lowest ranking female servant, the Scullery Maid. Scullery Maids were very young girls employed to assist the cook. They were the first to wake in the morning and the last to go to bed. They rarely saw the outside of the scullery, which was the small kitchen or room at the rear of a house used for washing dishes and other dirty household work.

Image sourced from The Victorian Emporium. Learn more about the history of the scullery here.

So how do these historic roles determine what we call our kitchen extensions today?
If your client is looking for a predominantly dry storage space to house the overflow of their pantry ware, they’re likely after a butler’s pantry.  (A small singular sink – like the kind used to wash glassware – is sometimes found in the butler’s pantry.)
If your client wants a heavy duty (but unseen) wash-up area, or will be doing some hefty meal prep in their kitchen extension, you’ll be designing a scullery.
Of course, both areas need good design, and as the ‘work-horses’ behind a show pony kitchen, they need plenty of attention in the planning stage. Following are our top ten considerations for practical pantry and scullery design.
1. Workflow
If your butler’s pantry is the primary point of food storage, you’ll need to consider how traffic will flow to and from the space into the main kitchen area. If your client is a baker, step through the scenario of baking a basic cake – they’ll need to collect their dry goods (flour, baking powder, bi-carb and salt), juggle a couple of eggs and a bottle of vanilla, take some butter out of the fridge and set all ingredients out by a stand or hand mixer. Will this process be smooth and efficient in their new space? 
If you’re designing a scullery, you’ll need to consider the workflow both within the space and to/from the central kitchen. As above, determine the types of activities your client will carry out in the scullery and do a dry-run. If the scullery will be the primary (or only) clean up zone, assess the trip between the dining table and the dishwasher – with a stack of dirty dishes in arms, will they make it without a pit stop?
2. Ventilation
A well-vented pantry space will avoid the spoiling of food and cross-contamination of odours. If the pantry or scullery does not have an openable window, discuss mechanical air extraction with your clients. Keep in mind that it’s not only ovens that generate heat: in a confined space, the refrigerator or dishwasher could contribute some hot air, too.
3. Lighting 
Don’t overlook the lighting – a single luminaire in the centre of the room may not be sufficient. Directional or task lighting will make the small space much more user friendly.
4. Ergonomics
Not all budgets will accommodate banks of drawers in this out-of-sight space, and open shelves are often desirable. If the pantry will house bulk food stores (e.g. 5kg flour sacks for the keen bread maker), or heavy cast-iron Dutch ovens for the casserole kings and queens, you’ll need to plan out your shelving heights accordingly. 
5. Cleanliness
While on the topic of open shelves, consider the potential for dust collection. And if the room will house an often-used kettle or toaster, assess the space between these benchtop appliances and any shelving above. Will steam residue cause a potential mould issue down the track?
6. Power outlets
Make a list of the small appliances that will be used (a) on a regular basis and (b) at any one time and ensure you position power outlets in the most suitable places.
7. Plumbing
If the scullery is a full-service space, you may need to allow for more than just a kitchen sink. Will the dishwasher be located in this room? Is a water filter necessary? Would a multipurpose tap be more appropriate and practical? Will the ice-making fridge need plumbing? Ensure you’re leaving no stone unturned when mapping out the plumbing requirements, and keep your client wary of the budget implications.
8. Setdown spaces
As you would in the main kitchen area, consider the set down areas either side of your sink and to the opening side of a microwave oven. Think about the landing areas for bags of groceries, too – where will your client unload their shopping stash?
9. Refrigerator openings
If you’re cramming a large appliance like a refrigerator into a relatively small space, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the fridge door opening. Can the door be opened beyond 90º for the removal of crispers? And have you allowed the recommended ventilation space to the sides, rear and top of the unit?
10. Waste
Could this be the number one oversight in a scullery? If this space is designed to be the meal prep area, or if it’s a genuine cleanup zone, ensure you’ve allowed for landfill, recycling and compost disposal. 
Kitchen designed by Frank Iaria CKD Au (Mint Kitchen Group)

ABOVE: We love the hideaway butler’s pantry in this kitchen designed by Melbourne’s Frank Iaria CKD Au (Mint Kitchen Group).

Kitchen designed by Simona Castagna (Minosa)

ABOVE: The scullery in this kitchen (designed by Sydney’s Simona Castagna, Minosa) was carefully planned to accommodate the client’s beloved Thermomix. Note the dedicated ceiling cassettes positioned to capture the steam generated by this do-all appliance.

Kitchen designed by Mary Maksemos (Mary Maksemos Design)

ABOVE: Melbourne’s Mary Maksemos designed this beautiful butler’s pantry. Yes, it has a sink, but it’s more of a ‘cleaning glassware’ variety, and not the dedicated wash up or preparation zone you’d find in a scullery.

If you have a top tip or pet peeve when it comes to these kitchen add-ons, we’d love to hear it. Share your wisdom in the comments below.

Achromatic masterpieces

Achromatic masterpieces

The adjective ‘achromatic’ is taken directly from the French word ‘achromatique’, which in turn comes from the Greeks’ ‘a-‘ (without) and ‘khrōmatikos’ (deriving from ‘khrōma’, meaning colour). Put simply, achromatic means ‘without colour’.

And while a coloured scheme can cause all kind of headaches, a colour-free interior isn’t always black and white (haha). Pulling off a successful achromatic space takes talent and restraint, and we’ve found five fantastic examples where designers have nailed the greys.

A gorgeous Tundra Grey marble takes centre stage in this kitchen designed by Kia Howat (GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens). The Melbourne designer paired the stunning stone with Dulux Terrace White 2 pack cabinetry, and added contrast with a feature tower in Empire Oak Woodmatt. Sitting on French Oak floors, the kitchen is an excellent example of achromatic style.

New South Wales designer, Catherine Young, teamed with The Renovation Broker to create this clever kitchen space. Abundant natural light allowed the designer to play with a deeply toned achromatic palette: the flat matt Nero porcelain benchtops make a striking statement and work well with the charcoal cabinetry. Nordic Oak Woodmatt panels add warmth and contrast, while small hex mosaics inject texture and a bit of bling.

Backlit New York Marble is the highlight of this dynamic kitchen by Sydney’s Matt Michel (Matt Michel Design). Alpine Matte benchtops and a dark and moody Hamilton Plains veneer allow the heavily patterned stone to sing, and make the kitchen both balanced and beautiful.

Melbourne’s Alicia Jeffries (Mint Kitchen Group) made a major statement with this natural granite (Super White) island. The island top and waterfall ends wrap around Dulux Domino panels, creating a well-balanced feature in a remarkable space.

Essastone Luna Concrete is the centrepiece of this elegant kitchen designed by Tasmania’s Lydia Maskiell (Lydia Maskiell Interiors). Prime Oak Woodmatt detailing injects warmth and texture into the achromatic space, and white satin cabinets and panels reflect the glorious natural light spilling into the kitchen.

Have a favourite out of the five kitchens above? Share your feedback below.