Watch This Dated Australian Kitchen Get a Remodel for the Ages

Watch This Dated Australian Kitchen Get a Remodel for the Ages

Renovation Diary
Nov 14, 2016

Name: Lorna Ziller
Type of Project: Open plan kitchen, dining, and sitting room remodel
Location: Moonah, Hobart, Tasmania
Type of building: Circa late 1910s/early 1920s brick cottage, with a 1980s extension

Lorna's Tasmanian home has a lot of personal history, and she wanted to maintain the good vibes of the original building, and still bring a sense of cohesion and utility to her kitchen and living room. Follow along as she prepares to remodel the space, then move on to see the final space and how much she spent on the project.

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The Space "Before"

From Lorna: In looking towards this renovation, I wanted prioritize certain elements of the feeling of the space, and in considering how to do precisely this, I found a preoccupation towards the distillation, rather than the imitation, of existing styles. The '80s extension to our cottage wasn't the most sensitive, however it configured an open plan kitchen, dining, and sitting room onto what was once a one bedroom home. From the original cottage though, it felt oddly detached, and was now horribly outdated, and I wanted to try to unify these areas. Whilst taking cues from the original building to ensure a sense of cohesiveness, I also wanted to enhance the experience of the home by designing it in manner that felt thoughtful and idiosyncratic, where the space would feel somewhat like the way Proust wrote about Mme. de Guermantes, as though it were "an aspect....due to complex causes and..quite inevitable", "not...casual decoration...but a definite poetic reality like that of the weather".

Given the awkward placement of the dining table in an alcove accessed by walking through what constitutes the sitting room, the actual process of living feels like an afterthought to the design. I intend to demolish the kitchen in its entirety, and replace the constricting U-shape with a streamlined, straight-line countertop, to accommodate a dining table opposite it, which is consistent with our desire for an informal eat-in European kitchen. Simple pendant lights above the kitchen countertop and dining table will add a focal point and consolidate each area as it's own zone. As the space isn't terribly wide, the existing low hung cabinetry and tall cupboard will also be removed to reduce visual bulk.

The sitting room will undergo a much less radical change. Concrete underneath the existing carpet in this half of the space, rather than floorboards, presents a challenge which - given budget constraints - can only be overcome by replacing it with new carpet.

Project Inspiration

For the overall look of our home, I believed that a mix of vintage furniture and IKEA might make for a thoughtfully composed space on a budget. Everything needed to be considered, and anything extraneous would have to be edited out. Vintage pieces - personal objects - interspersed and acting as a counterpoint against austere minimalism would add intimacy and warmth, and what is classic would overcome transient trends.

Budget & Details


Electrical: $0.00 (a wonderful friend will, very kindly, help with this)
Plumbing: $0.00 (again, courtesy of a lovely friend)

Design Fees:

Architectural Drafting & Construction Drawings: $0.00 (Thanks to my wonderfully talented friend and architect, Roly Dizon Villapaña)


Fridge: +$50.00 (I sold my fridge for $300.00, and purchased a brand new smaller one for $250.00)
Stove: $0.00 (re-used existing stove)
Exhaust Fan: $100.00 (Purchased on Gumtree, brand new)


Faucet: $50.00
Stainless Steel Undermount Sink: $80.00

Cabinets and Countertops:

IKEA Cabinetry, Doors, & Countertops: $1953.00 (including shipping)


Removal of Existing Carpet: $0.00 (DIY)
Sanding & Polishing Existing Floorboards: $700.00
Carpet (including installation): $900.00


Paint: $300.00

White Gloss Subway Tiles: $150.00
Grey Grout: $10.00
Superfront Drawer Pulls: €236.00 or $355 AUD (including shipping)
Kitchen Oil: $22.50

Other Building Materials:

Original Early 1900s Colonial Solid Wood Door: $50.00 (Purchased on Gumtree)
Colonial Skirting Boards: $280.00
Electrical Outlets & Light Switches: $50.00


Pendant Lights: $150.00
Edison Bulbs: $50.00
Venetian Blinds: $15.00
Curtains: $200.00
Sheer Voile Curtains: $100.00
Re-Upholstery of Sofa: $300.00

Total: $9265.50 (AUD)

Week by Week Progress

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