The new kitchen

09.07.20

Presenting the updated kitchen! The photos just came through from photographer Chloe Snaith and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. 

As I mentioned previously, we didn’t want to over-capitalise by ripping out the kitchen entirely, and Granite Transformations came to the party by giving us a completely new look over the space of a week. I believe the new bench top is the hero in the space, and I’m so pleased I chose the bolder direction of ‘Terra Chiara’. Taking out the dated servery counter and extending the bench top to create a little breakfast bench was also a massive plus. All the cabinet door and drawer fronts were replaced with a shaker profile in Dulux Lexicon Quarter, and I was thrilled to get some internal elements replaced – giving us soft closing drawers and reinforcement for heavy pots and pans. Another major plus was the double bin drawer that was incorporated. It’s still hard to believe that the bulk of the kitchen is all still the same behind those lovely new doors.

The images speak for themselves, so I’ll just load everything here (can you tell I love them??), and leave you with a little sourcing list at the end. 

Sourcing links: 

Polyurethane shaker doors in Dulux Lexicon Quarter – Granite Transformations

Benchtops in ‘Terra Chiara’ – Granite Transformations

Wall oven, stove top, microwave, kettle and coffee machine – Smeg

Polaris white sink – Schock/Abbey

Stainless steel mixer tap – Bunnings

Timber flooring – Godfrey Hirst Oak Elegance in Pearl

Cabinet door hardware, soap holder, wall racks and wall shelves – The Society Inc.

Tiles – Newport Gloss Subway Sage Tile Cloud

Painting – Kate Vella

Grey ‘Havsta’ cabinet – IKEA

Kitchen Stools – vintage (purchased 30 years ago by my Dad at Aero)

Photography: Chloe Snaith

Kitchen install week

09.07.20

What a week. The kitchen update was installed without a hitch. I literally couldn’t fault it, and that’s all thanks to the clever people at Granite Transformations. I have saved a series of candid snaps in my Story highlights on Instagram under ‘Kitchen reno’. It’s great to look back on and see the daily updates – bringing life back in to the dated space. I still can’t believe that the green laminate bench top is still there underneath the new granite – the bench transformation was beyond impressive. What sold me the most with the install was the punctuality and tidiness of the installer, Kevin – the entire update was rolled out with minimal disruption to our family life. Winning!

The professional photos have just come through, and I’m so excited to share. I’ll be back here soon.

Briar x

A kitchen renovation

22.06.20

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and it certainly was in our last house. At the end of last year, we downsized houses (goodbye big backyard) to be able to afford a (smaller) home in the suburb we love that’s closer to the beach.

However, on the plus side – it has become apparent that the general layout and internal cupboards are actually in great condition, so we decided to try and find a way to overhaul the space on a budget, whilst still making an impact. I originally started to explore the budget direction of painting the cabinets and benchtops…I knew that would only be a short-term solution though. It was fate that I drove past the Granite Transformations showroom in Brookvale the following day. I originally assumed they were just another kitchen manufacturer, but was then taken through the process of what the company is also able to do with existing kitchens and I immediately felt optimistic with the concept of a cost-effective make-over – while avoiding a big demolition that would disrupt our home life too much. I was immediately sold. 

The first stage of the process involved a no-obligation quote that took place in our home the next week with the lovely designer, Vicki. I was thrilled when she confirmed our kitchen was in great condition for new granite benchtops and replacement cabinet fronts. During the site meeting, Vicki also came up with a great idea that I didn’t think would be possible – she suggested we knock out  the servery counter and extend the bench to the one level, which will create a little breakfast bench – perfect for feeding time at the zoo! 

Once the quote was approved, next, came the fun part – finalising the new finishes and colours. I’ve said this before, but I often find it so much harder to make selections for my own projects compared to when I’m working for a client. I blame it on being around so many choices all the time. I headed back into the showroom to see more options in real life and was really impressed with the extensive on-trend colour range available and jumped from choosing different bench surfaces. I loved the Carrara marble finish (this can be used to re-surface bathroom walls and floors too and it looks fantastic – check it out in the showroom), but then also found the Polar Ice to be a nice bright white, before finally settling on the bolder direction of a terrazzo look with ‘Terra Chiara’. See the full colour range here.

I love the apricot, brown and black flecks in Terra Chiara, which will add lovely warmth to the space. I then considered the different door profiles available and settled on a polyurethane classic shaker door, that I have ordered in Dulux Lexicon Quarter (the same white we have already painted the walls of our home). I have been really conscious of choosing a fairly neutral door profile and colour, as I know I’m going to have fun with the bench, splashback tile and door hardware. 

After going back and forth with a range of tile selections, I have ordered a soft sage green handmade subway, which will create a coastal and eclectic vibe. 

As we had the luxury of time to ‘live’ with the kitchen in the original state, I made sure to pull together a list of updates that have become our ultimate wish list, which includes:

  • Pull out drawer bin/s (I can’t wait to get rid of the smelly bin that I bang into every time I enter the kitchen)
  • New sink (that takes up less bench space than the existing one) and mixer tap 
  • Wall installed microwave, positioned above a new 60cm oven
  • New gas burner stove 
  • New pot drawers (soft closing will be a major plus)!

So, it’s all systems go for installation! I can’t wait for the day. It’s all locked and loaded for the end of the month and I’ve been informed it will be around 5 days of work with the one installer. The benchtops are being cut to size in the workshop at the moment and they will be simply fitted into place and bonded directly on to our old benchtops. There’s no need to remove the old surface – which is what makes Granite Transformations so unique!

Let the old cemented-on tile excavation begin. Exciting time for us, and the kids! At the end of the day, it’s still going to be a smallish kitchen – but I’m completely confident that with contemporary new surfaces, and the contemporary additions such as the bin and pot drawers – it’s going to be one transformed and very sweet space.  I can’t wait to take you through the whole process. 

See you back here soon, 

Briar   

Bula!

12.06.19

We have recently returned from one of those family holidays I know the kids will remember forever. It’s the first time Mark and I have both come back from a break and said ‘let’s try and make that holiday a yearly tradition’. The magic of Shangri -La in Fiji will do that to you. We met people who were visiting for their second, third, even fifteenth year in a row. Nestled on the private Yanuca Island, Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort offers the essence of an exclusive island hideaway yet is conveniently connected to the mainland by a bridge. It has been recently revamped and one of the highlights for me was the quality of the dining experiences.  I’ve got to be honest, Fiji hasn’t really been known for it’s cuisine (in my opinion anyway, I’ve been five times to various resorts over the years), but I can honestly say the food we had at The Shangrila-La was on completely new level. 

Room service was a fun novelty for the kids so we had dinner in our room for a few of the evenings (I highly recommend the chicken curry), but we also dined out a handful of times at the ‘special restaurants’, including the Golden Cowrie Coastal Italian Restaurant (delicious and traditional italian food with a great cocktail menu). We also feasted on Modern Asian twice at the gorgeous Takali Terrace (make sure to check out the extensive Gin menu, it’s epic). We frequented the breakfast buffet at Takali in the mornings, as the ambience/interiors of the restaurant is so stunning, and it was  also positioned right next to our favourite pool. Tip: Catch the ocean tide from the tiny beach outside Takali right around to the main pool, it’s magic!

We spent a lot of time poolside with a book while the kids swam (simple holiday heaven for the kids), and it was handy that kids could eat free from The Beach Bar & Grill, which was also a favourite spot for yummy and casual lunches. The kids visited the free Kids Club a few times too, when they wanted a break from all the swimming. Sunday’s favourite activity was definitely the Water Park which is a big inflatable floating park positioned close to shore. We also snorkelled and canoed around this area – the fish spotting was amazing! Mark also had a morning on the 9 hole golf course, while I had a gorgeous massage at the stunning Spa, CHI. We had an afternoon at the Put Put golf course (which Sunday loved) and that night was great – it was spent at the Polynesian show they hold at the village site. We witnessed fire walking by local villagers and feasted on a traditional Fijian banquet feast that I will never forget.

Below are photos from our trip that summarises the essence of our truly blissful 7 nights away:

Tiny brown feet on the sand after finding coral one morning on an empty beach. We made swimming at this beach a daily habit as it was such a quiet area of the resort. I can’t believe how lucky we were the weather while we there. An average of 30 degrees every day!

Sunday living her best life – the water really is that clear all along the coral coast of Fiji!


Sunsets were enjoyed almost every night outside our 2 bedroom Lagoon Bure, where we would enjoy drinks at the iconic Bilo Bar (pictured above) while the kids played in the sand.

Mr Curly Locks was treated like a Prince by the beautiful Fijians the whole week. Rafferty quickly developed his own daily habits which included an outdoor shower after swimming all day, and daily collections of Hermit Crabs in his champagne bucket.


Weddings are (obviously) popular on the island. Sunday and I went exploring one morning and walked around the beautiful chapel which looks over the ocean. She is wearing her new Coco and Ginger dress, which was perfect ‘resort wear’ for my little fashionista.

A definite highlight of the holiday was early one morning the four of us met Moses from the sustainability team on a small beach, and we spent time collecting washed up shells and coral to build our own ‘fish house’.  A few days later, we paddled out to the regenerated coral reef that Moses has created, and our (numbered) house joined 400+ other fish houses. The idea being, when and if the family who built a fish house return on holidays, you can go snorkeling and spot your little build in all it’s glory with its new and continued coral growth. Such a nice experience for all of us. (this regeneration activity only happens via word of mouth, so if you’re ever visiting Shargri-La, go and see Moses at the Marine Centre).


These two images encapsulate my holiday week the best. A lot of time in the water, and many delicious cocktails. Doing a whole lot of nothing but recharging and taking in the beauty of Fiji.

My only complaint was 7 nights wasn’t long enough. Argh! Take me back!

Briar x

Adiós Nits

29.01.19

The thought of head lice in the kids hair makes my skin crawl. I remember getting them as a kid followed by what seemed like hours of combing and re-washing my knotty/curly hair by my patient Mum. If you’ve never encountered them before…Head lice are very small wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed. The eggs are a little smaller and cling firmly to strands of hair. They live and breed in the hair of humans. Head lice feed on blood by biting the scalp, but aren’t dangerous. They cause itching and, sometimes, can cause skin irritation. Eeeew! That little description makes me never want to to encounter the little suckers. This is definitely one time that sharing shouldn’t be encouraged between kids.  Head lice can spread by sharing personal items such as brushes and combs.

Touch wood, we haven’t experienced nasty nits in our household yet, and I’m equipped this year for back to school time (tomorrow). I’ve recently been introduced to Moov Head Lice Defence Spray. It’s proven to protect against head lice for 8 hours, you simply follow these steps:

  1. Apply a minimum of 6 sprays to dry hair, including the name of the nape of the neck and behind the ears
  2. Brush hair to ensure even coverage
  3. Style hair (I always braid Sunny’s hair for school, which is said to be good for preventing head lice too – the nits can’t find it harder to get on to the scalp).

Simple as that, no rinsing. It’s advised to use it every day which I’ll definitely be doing when I receive an email from the school that head lice is kicking around (which feels like every second week). I’ll also be defending Raff’s curly locks for his days at daycare – a plus with this product is that it detangles too, which is great for his wild curls!

Briar x

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