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Modern kitchen with island benchtop and wooden stools
Get inspired by this (mostly) D.I.Y. kitchen makeover.


First on the D.I.Y. list

When Chelsea and James purchased their beachside home, it was all about the location. “We bought this old house with the intent to pretty much gut it and redo it,” says Chelsea.

First on their to-do list was the kitchen, which lacked storage and was closed off from the rest of the living space. The pair pulled off the reno (and stuck to their budget) with help from some tradies and an electrician (who also happens to be Chelsea’s dad).

What was once an awkward, closed-in space, is now light, bright and functional. Here’s a few of James and Chelsea’s makeover tips:

A white kitchen before the stunning makeover

Mapping it out

To make sure their D.I.Y. workload was manageable, Chelsea and James broke up the reno into smaller tasks. “We tried to do it so that we could use parts of the kitchen for as long as possible to make it easier,” says Chelsea. The process took around 11 months, beginning with alterations to the floor plan. The couple blocked off a door to the carport and a side window to allow for a fridge recess.

“Then it seemed very closed-in to have the island bench go all the way to the wall, so that’s when we decided to cut that off,” explains Chelsea. That next step delivered a versatile central island, topped in engineered stone, creating a more welcoming and open space.

To fix the lack of storage, the couple created a pantry from a second walkway that previously went through to their front sitting room.

Floor plan of a kitchen featuring a walk-in pantry and island bench

Light the way

Chelsea and James wanted a way to delineate the cooking zone, which was achieved by adding a drop ceiling. By raising a section between the island and the backbench, and adding LED strip lights, they’ve also created the illusion of a skylight.

Above the island, they opted for simple downlights over pendants. “We put a large pendant over our dining table, just to the left of the kitchen, as we didn’t want to have things hanging everywhere,” explains Chelsea.

A modern kitchen makeover featuring a walk-in pantry

Cupboard love

For the new cabinetry, Chelsea opted for Kaboodle Kitchen’s Modern profile design in Egg White. “We decided on the Kaboodle Kitchen range because we could put it all together ourselves, saving us on labour costs,” she says. Floor space in the new pantry was limited, so fitting it out required a little creativity. “Because we didn’t have much depth to play with, we actually used wall cupboards and just put them on the floor.”

Tile style

Light, bright and neutral was the colour palette the couple had in mind, and the glossy cabinetry and the pale tiles on the splashback, oven stack and island adheres to that vision. “That was the nicest tile because it had some light colours, whites and light greys going through it and that would help tie in the floor tile and obviously the gloss whites,” says Chelsea. They used the same tile along the pantry wall. “We wanted to keep it all matching, but we didn’t want to have a full tile in the scullery, so we cut them in half.”

Power moves

There’s a lot to love about the new kitchen the pair have created, but for Chelsea there’s a standout feature. “We put a power point on each end of the island bench with two power points and two USB sockets,” she says. “So, if you want to charge your phone, you can just plug it in on the end of the island, or if you want to use a sandwich toaster or a food processor that’s stored in the cupboard, it’s easy to find power.”

Keep in mind...

  • Electrical and plumbing work must be carried out by licensed tradies.
  • Paint colours may vary on application.

More kitchen makeover inspiration

Be inspired by this gorgeous Hamptons kitchen featuring Shaker-profile Kaboodle cabinets.


Photo Credit: Denise Rix and Harcourts
Artwork: Anya Brock

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.