Unrenovated for nearly 40 years, this 1920s two-bedroom home was in desperate need of a new kitchen and a modern makeover, which would connect the house to the courtyard and bring in plenty of natural light.

When the owner of this inner-city home bought the property, it was clear a new kitchen was needed. ”The house was often dark and the kitchen had carpet linoleum and no sink – I used the laundry tub to wash the dishes for a year!” she says.

The owner consulted an architect, who suggested an open-plan design, with doors opening to the courtyard. Two walls were widened, while the end wall was removed and doors and a window installed. ”I had a tight budget, so we did a lot of the work ourselves,” the owner says. ”We designed and assembled the Ikea kitchen, so it only cost about $3,000.” She used the Ikea kitchen planner, downloadable from Ikea. “Ikea Faktum kitchens have a 20-year guarantee, which also appealed to me,” she adds.

The makeover was kept to a palette of whites to give the small house a uniform and spacious atmosphere. Essa Stone in Basmati was chosen for its light, sparkling look and hard-wearing nature. It was used for the benchtops and splashbacks in both the kitchen and adjoining laundry. Gitani Stone fabricated the stone at its factory, including cut-outs for the Oliveri PE30U compact undermount sink and Asko cooktop, and gave the benchtops a 40mm edge for a luxe look.

Thinking green: smart kitchen makeover choices

  • When choosing appliances, look for good water and energy ratings – the more stars, the better. The Asko D3121 dishwasher in this kitchen has four-star water and energy ratings. It uses 13.7 litres per normal wash, which is often less water than used for dishwashing by hand in a sink. Many dishwashers available now do not require pre-rinsing.
  • Taps with Scheme ratings release as little as 2 litres of water per minute compared with 15-18 litres from older taps.
  • Mixer taps, like the Oliveri MV617/6 extendable spray head mixer in this kitchen, can deliver desired temperatures quickly at low water pressure, reducing water wastage.
  • Ovens with triple glazing, such as the Asko 0850S multifunctional oven, retain heat and consume less energy.
  • Indoor plants provide fresh air inside.
  • Landscaping and garden shop Twig suggested clumping bamboo for the courtyard to provide an attractive screen. Bamboo is excellent for absorbing noise.