Meet a Member – KBDi Victorian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2021

Meet a Member – KBDi Victorian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2021

Tuesday | 21 September 2021 | 4 pm AEST

In this week’s Touch-base Tuesday session, KBDi’s Royston Wilson will be chatting with the newly crowned KBDi Victorian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2021, Matthew James (MJ Harris Group). Matthew’s Small Kitchen entry greatly impressed the judges – they loved his sleek and smart solution for a very small space. In this session, you’ll see the entry up close and learn more about this project and the designer.

Remember places are limited and reserved for KBDi financial members and partners only. Register today to secure your spot.




Event registrations have now closed.

Introducing the KBDi Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2021

Introducing the KBDi Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2021

A stunning line-up of kitchens vied for State and National titles in the KBDi Designer Awards this year, with the category proudly sponsored by KBDi Premier Partner, Multitap by Insinkerator. In this feature, we’re introducing the Member who took out the coveted title of KBDi Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year, along with a few other well-deserved awards.

Maddalena Fiorasi studied architecture in Venice before working in Europe for several years. When she moved to Australia, Maddalena pursued her passion for residential design, studying at Sydney’s Enmore Design Centre. Her dedication to her studies was acknowledged with a student award in 2018, and earned her a complimentary membership (and fortuitous introduction) to the Kitchen & Bathroom Designers Institute.

Both KBDi and our Education Partners, TAFE NSW, were delighted to see this connection come full circle, with Maddalena earning herself the titles of First Time Entrant Award Winner, KBDi Kitchen Designer of the Year – NSW and KBDi Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year with this stunning project.

On behalf of our organisation and our generous sponsors, Multitap by Insinkerator, we extend our sincerest congratulations to Maddalena, and look forward to seeing more of her work in the years to come.

About Maddalena’s project

This small kitchen packs a mighty big punch! The judges loved the designer’s thoughtful consideration of the client brief and the measured response to the practical and aesthetic needs of her artistic clients. The panel commended her on an integrative and functional solution and a highly professional presentation. The overall design is as stylish as it is practical and a perfect example of design done well.

Making your measure up manageable

Making your measure up manageable

Our April ‘One Question Wednesday’ survey touched on the three core parts of a design delivery: the site survey (or measure up), the concept presentation and the working drawings.

As always, those who contributed offered honest commentary and some excellent advice. We’ll cover concept presentations and working drawings in another article, but here’s what our members had to say about measure ups.

A comprehensive site survey – combined with a detailed client brief – is an essential cog in the wheel of an efficient and effective design process.

While many won’t admit it, few designers haven’t experienced the distress caused by a missing dimension or overlooked detail. Hours of design time can be lost scouring through photos, analysing scribble and playing the detective in an attempt to work out what was missed in the measure up.

To start with, we asked our members which tools they use most often for kitchen or bathroom site surveys.

Only 12% of the respondents said they use a standard old-school tape measure. More of the bunch – 83% – use a laser and tape combination, while just 6% put all their faith in a laser measure. (Note: we’ve asked members to share their particular favourites – brands and all – in the private Facebook group. Jump in and have a peek or add your pics if you haven’t already.)

Top three challenges
We asked the Members to share which aspect of measuring up they find most challenging.

#1 Talkative Clients
Not surprisingly, the key complaint noted was dealing with clients chatting during the process. Concentration is key to catching all the details required in a comprehensive site survey. Following are some of the strategies employed by your fellow designers, along with a few of our top tips:

  • Be direct: let the client know you’ll need x-minutes of quiet time to capture all information required. (See note below about timing.)
  • Suggest they get on with their day so you ‘don’t hold them up, and let them know you’ll sing out if you need a hand.
  • Use this time to share your folio with the clients – hand them a hard copy presentation and some post-it notes, and ask them to (quietly) consider the things they love and hate about particular projects.
  • Get the clients to complete a survey about their wants and needs while you’re measuring. Yes, you may have covered this in your initial discussions, but their written confirmation could be helpful in confirming the brief.

#2 Time Limitations
Rushing through a measure-up is a sure-fire way to miss essential dimensions. Allow yourself ample time to:

  • Sketch out a mud-map of the overall space, including dimension lines for the essential details. (Having your ‘must-gets’ pre-empted in this way means you’re less likely to miss them.)
  • Measure methodically in one direction (e.g. clockwise) around the room.
  • Double-check each measurement and tally up overall lengths/heights.

#3 Measuring angles and curves
Measuring angles and curves is an enormous challenge for the best of us. We have a few members who deem themselves Pythagoras pros, and we’re going to challenge them to make us a video. (Make sure you’re a part of the private Facebook group so you can be the first to see it.) The less mathematically minded amongst our community swear by their angle finders – if you don’t already have one, an investment of between $40 and $150 could save you a tonne of time and hassle.

Finally, we asked the members to share their top measuring tips for less-experienced designers, and the following gems should be noted:

  • Take photos of every wall, the floor AND the ceiling. 
  • Take a photo of the final site survey sketch to ensure you have a digital copy on file.
  • Don’t shoot your laser at a glossy surface and expect an accurate result – carry some masking tape with you to provide a dull end measuring point.
  • Colour code your trades: use a different colour for electrical and plumbing references.
  • Have a comprehensive checklist and USE IT!

We know you’re a busy lot, and not everyone has time to contribute. Those of you who do, however, are hugely appreciated. Your generous advice and honest commentary help us design and curate useful and relevant PD and articles like the above. Your five-minute response could be a game-changer for an industry newbie – thank you!

Hey, did we miss something? Add your comments below. 


Designing kitchens for the great outdoors

Designing kitchens for the great outdoors

KBDi were delighted to welcome Nover to our team of Partners in 2021.

Founded in 1954, the family-owned company has been a long-time supplier to Australia’s kitchen, joinery, shop-fitting and furniture industries. With over 25,000 products in 17 categories, they have plenty to share with our broader membership.

Members who attended our recent videoconference were introduced to Nover’s alfresco kitchen solutions.

Nover’s Phil Burns highlighted the importance of specifying carcase materials, surfaces and hardware best suited for the climate of the home. He noted that designers should always consider:

  • Exposure to the elements: is the joinery to be fully undercover or semi-protected? Will the hardware (hinges and handles) and sinks stand up to the environment? Will the joinery be protected from blowing rains?
  • Temperature variants: does the area experience extreme heat or cold? How will the selected materials respond?
  • Orientation: will the joinery cop the fierce western sun or some less intense morning rays?

Phil also noted the importance of considering warranties associated with both surface materials and the appliances. Questions that should always be asked and answered in the design phase include:

  • What kind of appliances will the client be installing?
  • Does the barbeque manufacturer set out specific requirements for shielding between the appliance and adjoining surfaces?
  • Is a stainless steel shroud required to meet product warranty requirements and Australian Standards?

Nover have compiled a stack of resources specific to alfresco design. Click on the links below to access the relevant PDF brochures.

Nover Alfresco Kitchen Brochure

Nover Corelight-Prolight Brochure

Nover Shallow Cup Stainless Steel Hinge

Trespa Fire Rating June 2020

Trespa Fire Test Report June 2020

Trespa Installation Guideline

Trespa Material Property Data Sheet

Trespa Meteor Brochure

PD Tuesday | All about alfresco kitchens

PD Tuesday | All about alfresco kitchens

Tuesday | 30 March 2021 | 4pm ADST

In this session, Nover’s Phil Burns will talk all things alfresco. He’ll share the latest trends in outdoor kitchens and discuss the transition from steel modular units to custom-built creations. Phil will outline what to look for when selecting products suitable for the Aussie climate and list the most common errors made by designers in alfresco design. You’ll see which sinks are proving most popular and view an impressive range of outdoor product solutions.

Watch the recording

Whoops, this video is for Members only. If you have a Membership, please log in. If not, you can watch the video by becoming a KBDi Member.

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.