Small Living in Style – A kitchen which is still “On Trend”

This is the second update on the design of my home.  Like many people we’ve spent the Christmas holidays doing a spring clean, clearing out the cobwebs and the old toys that the kids have grown out of.  I made a commitment to clean and style my kitchen, which I designed ten years ago when we built our house.  Working with Hamlan Homes, I designed all the joinery in the kitchen, laundry and bathroom, as well as selecting all the finishes and fittings.

Finally in between cleaning & sorting & re-cleaning the kitchen after preparing lunch, I’ve managed to get a window of opportunity for a proper photo shot by my lovely husband Mark Elliott.  You can see the results below;  although he specialises in portrait photography, I’m getting him quite well trained for interior shoots!


In our small cottage house space is at a premium; the kitchen & dining area does double duty as a family kitchen, and needs to look great when guests visit for dinner.  We invested in good lighting, with dim-able down lights in the ceiling and above the splash back for that warm-white light moody feel, and switching in zones for extra flexibility.

Whilst the cabinetry is laminate, I opted for neutral colours and textures, in a modern form, with lots of concealed storage and some feature open shelving for all my lovely Donna Hay magazines (I don’t throw them out) and Jamie Oliver books (yes I’m a fan, much to Mark’s dismay!), Stephanie Alexander and old Charmaine Solomon books of my Mum’s from the ’70’s.


I have a great collection of crockery & implements from Mum’s and Mother-in-law’s, Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers, ranging from early Art-deco and depression era to the ’70’s, and spent some time sorting through it all and deciding what to display.  I’m a firm believer that there’s no point packing away special things to be forgotten and never used.

The layout is a U-shape, with appliances not far from each other for ease of movement around the kitchen.  I’ve added concealed bins within the cupboard space, and a full height pantry to the right of the fridge (out of photo), and stainless steel appliances.   A wine rack under the bench is a feature I added for storage (not great when you have kids starting to walk I discovered)!  The finishes are all Laminex laminate, and the timber-look top has worn well, even though I use it for rolling dough & bread directly, and occasionally using a knife without a chopping board.  The wall & floor tiles are from Johnson Tiles;  I like introducing texture with a simple brick stack bond pattern for splash backs.


I’ve introduced colour in accessories, bright small appliances & my favourite Le Chasseur pots, and the texture of timber boards and platters.  A pinboard I’ve made from an old frame hides a phone point no longer in use.



I always specify quality Hafele fittings – the kind I have specified for Emirates and Etihad first and business class Passenger Lounges; lighting, hinges, handles, guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When you plan your kitchen (or any part of the house), I recommend opting for materials & fittings that will stand the test of time, and always the best you can afford.   Consider maximising your storage, and integrating it well into the overall design, and allow for a large fridge space, even if you have a small one currently.  I’m thinking of a few new small & practical updates like adding pendant lights above the peninsula bench, and maybe a blackboard, but the design has really withstood the test of time and changing styles.

What I’d do differently….install a dishwasher!  I grew up without one, don’t like the smell of them, and thought I wouldn’t need one before I had kids… with 2 children I’d re-think that just for the convenience.