It takes an exceptionally good designer to create something beautiful and functional in a small, dark space with a tight budget. Luckily Melbourne-based interior designer Beatrix Rowe was more than up for the challenge when she was given the brief of renovating an existing home for a family of four.

“It was our focus to get the best result for the client’s budget”, explains Rowe. “We tried a few different planning configurations to assess what would be ideal for the family, looking at the amount of space and the costs involved in achieving each one. Maximising the use of space and light in a previously dark and tight area was our goal”.

“The spaces were quite tight and badly planned. With simple planning changes, such as accessing the bathroom from another side, we were able to maximise the usable spaces within the kitchen and living area”.

The owners particularly love their new kitchen. “The kitchen space is very narrow and the challenge was to incorporate everything that was needed and desired in there”, says Rowe.

 

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The central island bench and sit-up table is Rowe’s favourite design element in the kitchen. “There was no space for a separate dining table and so the island bench was designed to be multi-functional – a dining table and a prep bench for the kitchen, as well as a serving buffet and kids craft table! It also makes the kitchen feel bigger and more generous. It leads your eye outside to back garden”, says Rowe. The overall result is a warm and contemporary space that can withstand the rough and tumble of a young family.

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The floorboards were stained and limed. “The existing pine floorboards had a naturally orange base and we wanted to remove the orange from the overall palette”, explains Rowe. “The liming was chosen because we wanted a light colour palette, rather than staining them darker. We generally don’t try to match the floor and joinery but rather keep it tonal”.

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The walls were painted Dulux Whisper White and American oak with a very light limed finish was selected for the joinery. “We wanted a light timber and the oak has a beautiful grain that we just love. It’s as simple as that”, explains Rowe.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Shannon McGrath

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