DIY kitchen makes feature of support beam with recycled brick

This budget kitchen reno recently caught our eye for its perfect blend of modern and rustic charm.

Part of a full reno of an old mid century modern kit home, watercolour artist Dani Till and her husband Darren got stuck in and did much of the work themselves. “Darren is the superstar with pretty much everything he touches from painting to tiling to building,” says Dani.

“We had started the reno on the kitchen and reconfigured the space so that we maximised the view from kitchen dining and living spaces. One night, Darren came up with the idea of raising the roof so we could gain height. These types of homes have terribly low ceiling heights. So that is what we did! We raised the height and started to throw around ideas.”

The low ceilings before

The kitchen was planned around the support beam post, which was moved slightly, but given the span of the room, had to stay. “We did a rough measure to see how much the post would impede the view and then decided to recycle the fireplace bricks which were originally on the back wall, and use them. The bricks are Clifton Bricks and have a whole lot of history behind them.”

And the new higher ceilings with skylights

With the post bricked up, they measured to see how best to utilise the space and six Velux skylights were used to define the kitchen area.

Working on a tight budget with plans to sell, the couple opted to use a Kaboodle kitchen from Bunnings. “It was all done during covid and lockdowns and there was no stock of anything around, so we went with white profile doors. I wanted a big concrete slab for the island, but the financial compromise was going with the Polytec concrete look. We stumbled on the Porta Timber in stock at Bunnings, and it was a super cheap way to dress the island bench and still keep it that big block shape that we’d envisioned.”

Dani also wanted a statement rangehood with deep and rich tones, so they built the shelving and dressed the undermount rangehood with Tassie oak. “To take the pink out we used Brown Japan stain from Feast Watson. Tile choices were all about keeping all the lines vertical and we stumbled upon these at Beaumounts and stacked them up to the ceiling.”

The new ceiling height was around 3 metres, so they had to modify the cabinets that sat on top of the standard pantry cupboards. They opted for push-to-open rather than handles to keep the door front finish clean and uncluttered. 

“I wanted to fill above the fridge with a wine rack but wanted the bottles to stand upright so you could introduce an artistic element to the space via bottles. To balance the rest of the kitchen, we did an almost floating Tassie oak breakfast bar area to balance the timber of wine rack, rangehood and shelving.”

The island was painted in Dulux Cove. “We threw together a barn door for Darren’s 40th birthday and painted that in the same green. The beauty of painting the island bench and door is that you can change up your colours any time you wanted and because we knew we would be selling, we wanted the buyer to have that option to paint it pink if they wanted with no major cost involved.”

Dani’s favourite features are the recycled brick and the skylights. “We did the entire reno on our own so it was a huge financial saving but shopping around for bargains is key and asking for the best price a retailer can offer is fundamental to keeping costs down.”

She adds: “We bought a single fridge and a single freezer in stainless steel which side by side gave the illusion of a much more expensive industrial fridge. We also reused the original oven to save money. The floor tiles we compromised on, using some from Bunnings in a concrete finish that gave the space a great feel for a small amount of money.”

She also recommends seeing what you can hire to make your job easier, such as the tile removing jack they used, and looking on sites like Temple & Webster for clearance items, where she found the pendant lights.

Dani and Darren are now renovating one more home for profit with the intention to buy their forever home afterwards. You can follow their reno adventures on Instagram. “We are by no means professionals but we enjoy what we do and we are always learning.”

For more on Dani’s art


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