Be inspired to rethink your home’s most valuable rooms with our guide to the best and brightest kitchens and bathrooms.

Moroccan royalty

Once a cramped space with burgundy walls and a heavy timber vanity, the upstairs bathroom in this historic Cooma house was hardly conducive to family living. Inspired by the geometric pattern of Moroccan-style encaustic floor tiles, owner Kate Litchfield reimagined the room in a monochromatic scheme. Kate, an artist and designer, opted for floor-to-ceiling oversized subway tiles, a large-scale frameless shower and sleek handleless white cabinetry. The black grout was a key decision: “It makes cleaning easier.”

Bay chalet

The Chalet, at Byron Bay, is a recent addition to the family run Byron Beach Abodes, a collection of holiday homes that reflect the eclectic taste and decorating style of owner and interior stylist, Taliah Lowry. This light-filled bathroom with louvre windows overlooking courtyard greenery is an extension off one of the king-sized bedrooms. “My signature is mixing it up a bit,” Taliah says. “The rest of the house is very Palm Springs but this bathroom feels simple and elegant with natural textures.”

While the off-white palette gets sharp hits of black from a bespoke mirror, jute floor rug and pendant light over the vanity, transition between the open-plan bedroom and bathroom is marked with a soft swathe of natural linen. A modern sink and bath are mixed with vintage details such as the expandable mirror in the shower. “My key fallback is to mix old with new.”

Nook and cranny

There’s more to this kitchen than meets the eye. The award-winning design is by Melbourne-based interior designer Carole Whiting from Carole Whiting Interiors and Design, and architect Steven Whiting from Whiting Architects, and is part of a modern, barn-style extension to a double-fronted Edwardian villa.

The kitchen work space is compact and tucked away, and although open to the living area, is out of direct view and doesn’t intrude on the sense of openness and volume. The fridge is further recessed into the rear wall and hidden behind panelled doors accessorised with oak Muuto ‘The Dots’ handles. 

Additional storage for kitchenware is provided in the feature bench with leather strap handles that runs full length of the living area to meet the laundry-cum-butler’s pantry.

The predominately white palette brings in lightness and volume,
while leather and timber accents add earthiness and an organic resonance to this interior.

Timber tops

Daniel Lee, the owner of this London kitchen, designed it himself. Inspired by the softness and grain of Danish oak flooring, Daniel incorporated the same timber throughout. “We used wood for the splashback and cabinets, not just on the floor,” he says. A limestone benchtop and blackened steel frames anchor the cabinetry, while beloved pieces are displayed on open shelving above.

History lessons

Originally built as horses stables in 1829, the kitchen of ‘The Barn’ in Hobart, Tasmania, is one part of an elegant heritage renovation. Architects Alex Nielsen and Liz Walsh wanted to retain as much of the existing building fabric as possible and, “all new work to read differently to the existing”. The small, recessed kitchen — which sits atop honey-toned Tasmanian oak flooring — was “cut” out of the original double-height joinery and defined with a mix of black fittings and fixtures. Streamlined appliances echo the simple elegance of the project.

Retro reno

When Chloe Matters, co-director of Sydney design firm TomMarkHenry, bought a tired 1950s apartment in the city’s eastern suburbs, she approached the redesign with resale in mind, while retaining some of the retro character. Chloe worked with a “neutral, clean” palette throughout and created a modern space, with a nod to the 1950s courtesy of white Penny Round mosaics, jet black tapware and the continuation of cornice. “Touches of tradition,” she says.

Why so serious?

Part of a larger renovation to an Edwardian-era home in south Melbourne, the design of this kitchen — by Alicia McKimm and Kylie Dorotic of We Are Huntly — centres on the owners’ love of entertaining. Newly married and in their 30s, “They didn’t want anything too serious and were open to us pushing the boundaries,” says Kylie.

The grey-washed oak timber flooring and granite benchtops were key design decisions, as was the boxed-in range hood, which, “accents the slope on the roof,” says Kylie. Glossy white tiles, satin-finish joinery and a sculptural Nemo wall light complete the look.