paula_briffa

Update this kitchen - what would you do?

P B
3 years ago
last modified: 3 years ago

Posting for a friend who is having trouble modernizing her kitchen. yes it is /was a remarkable kitchen with beautuful craftsmanship and quality wood and fittings, but it isn't too her or her families taste. This is their forever home, they have already been in the house for four years but are ready to put their own touch on this much used area. ideally they would like to replace the stove canopy with something modern like a stainless steel fan extractor straight up to the ceiling. Cupboard doors can stay as is but the feature turned wood and columns need to go. What would you do?

[Photos removed upon request]

Comments (41)

  • Littleboysmum
    3 years ago

    I have a friend who bought a house with a similar kitchen - they couldn't afford to rip it out, so had it painted in white paint, replaced the handles and the difference was amazing! totally lightened up the place and modernized it all at once.

    I also think a statement pendant light over the island is a must.

    P B thanked Littleboysmum
    Best Answer
  • oklouise
    3 years ago

    before your friend start removing anything suggest offering the whole kitchen for sale on Gumtree, Ebay or their local service...this kitchen may be someone else's dream and there may be a buyer willing to offer a good price to come and take it all away so your friend could begin with a clean slate...if not, are all the cupboards the size and shape suitable for everything they need? do they like the look without the trim? if not, it may be possible to carefully dismantle the whole kitchen, remove the trim and rearrange the cabinets and add new counters to better suit your needs

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  • Fiona Anastasia Whitefoot
    3 years ago
    OMG! Love those cupboards! They have soo much character and personality! I love it. Hmmmmmmm........do you really want to update the cupboards - they just bring about of 'grandness' to the kitchen. I would rather change the floor. Tiles would look great!
  • minteddesignco
    3 years ago

    Pretty incredible! This could look quite different simply with some paint - agree about the stainless steel extractor, however you may just be able to repaint all the cabinetries in white, update the door handles, remove the columns (you could possibly add some tiny open square shelves here to replace them where you could feature a collection of something?). I would even consider keeping the trim on the top - maybe just painting it a pale baby blue so it was a feature but didn't stand out too much? Marble countertops could look nice too.

  • Julie Herbert
    3 years ago
    Wow, what a beautiful kitchen, to just modernise I would remove coloums and trim, new stainless rangehood, update window with a more modern blind, maybe some new tap ware, such beautiful craftsmanship that is so hard to find , looks like a lot of love has gone into building your kitchen, just a few little changes can make it look modern and luxe.
  • Chris Adams
    3 years ago
    Paint it with chalk paint. I would leave all the trims and canopy as is. Look on Pinterest at chalk paint to get ideas.
  • P B
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    Thank you for the response, I will pass it on!
  • spmm
    3 years ago
    Looks like a church, can't imagine the grime that builds up or has to be cleaned off. Woodcraft is very good, but Perhaps more suited to a den or wine cellar than a family kitchen.
  • judynol
    3 years ago
    The cabinetry in this kitchen is far too good to change. I would just replace the splash backs with something lighter maybe some patterned Mediterranean tiles and the counter tops with a light stone-look material.
  • KK1000
    3 years ago
    Get rid of magnets and replace bench top on island, I think it's Island can't see on the photo. If you replace it with white the whole place would look lighter .
  • Julie Herbert
    3 years ago
    I love the black bench tops and splash back, think it gives a really luxe look with the timber, maybe stainless steel fridge (no magnets) range hood in stainless , maybe black tap ware ,
    remove trim and columns and I think you would have a luxurious kitchen, wonderful workmanship
  • KK1000
    3 years ago
    I think those columns can't be removed without destroying surrounding timber they are just to big.. they really don't belong in the kitchen.
  • Mel N
    3 years ago

    I agree with oskuee, doubtful you'd be able to remove parts and retain parts without serious damage to surrounds.

    It's a beautiful kitchen, would of cost a fortune. But it is not a style for everyone.

    Like oklouise said- put it on eBay or gumnuts oops tree...my bad from experience ;-)

    The floors are stunning- hopefully they run under the cabinets. They'd look lovely with a warm white shaker door, white marble benchtops.

  • P B
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    Thank you for all the feedback and ideas. The trades people who have come out to look at the kitchen have refused to touch the kitchen for some of the reasons that you have identified i.e. beautiful craftsmanship, potentially strucutral issues and so forth.

    Could it potentially be an option to 'gyp rock' in the columns and box them in? thereby not affecting the strucutral integrity of the kitchen?
  • KK1000
    3 years ago
    That would look terrible, learn to love it or sell it on eBay and get something you like .
  • KK1000
    3 years ago
    I must admit it's not my style but professionally painted it would look good .
  • P B
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    Hahaha oskuee yes it is beautiful workmanship it is just my friend is over it. Perhaps you're right they just need to learn to live with it.
  • Gallifrey
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Simply aweful. Firewood comes to mind. This kitchen must seriously devalue the house.

  • Mel N
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I bet the previous owner was a joiner/cabinet maker! It is seriously OTT.

  • PRO
    Trudi Rabbitte at Rabbitte Joinery
    3 years ago

    To modernise your space, If you are not wanting to remove the kitchen, then I would remove the columns and more traditional features of the kitchen. Either install a freestanding rangehood, or new cupboards with a power pack. And paint the kitchen out, seems so wrong to paint out the timber, however it will lighten the kitchen and modernise it.

  • KK1000
    3 years ago
    And one more thing, remove the "rodent "from the wall , it so wrong in the kitchen.
  • Bernadette Staal
    3 years ago

    This kitchen is a work of art, something so unique. The pillars are a bit odd but can they be removed without harming the other wood work. I agree the extractor cover is just plain weird but rather than going stainless steel as a replacement I would see if a local panel beater could spray a coating of black onto a modern extractor fan so that it blends in better with the black benches. Maybe they could replace the fridge colour as well .... when their fridge needs replacement (or again as a panel beater about spraying it). It looks quite dark so I would add LED lights under the cabinets etc to bring a real light sparkle to the area.


  • Julie Herbert
    3 years ago
    After all the comments I still think you could have a beautiful kitchen with just a few updates, go stainless fridge , rangehood to match your oven, black taps, remove trims and columns, love the idea of led lights to highlight under the cabinets, it is a work of art and a salute to the wonderful craftmanship gone into making such a unique kitchen
  • Debbie Fisher
    3 years ago

    I think it would be tragic to do anything with that timber. I would change the splash backs, bench top & floor. Change the rangehood if you must. Kitchen styles and colours fall in and out of trend in no time. I would choose a splashback and top to compliment the timber (work with it) and to be honest I would not be making a feature out of some glass,stainless steel exhaust fan. Pay homage & respect to the workman ship of the cabinetry. To get that replicated today would cost heaps. You would be surprised by the change of appearance with just a change of splashback.

  • northerlyhill
    3 years ago
    If you remove the columns, this kitchen will be a poor shadow of itself. I love the cupboards & even the funny rangehood! It's unique! Please don't paint the wood.
    Get stainless steel fridge that fills up its whole space; put new microwave below oven so benchtops are uncluttered; new sink (maybe white butlers sink with new tapware); yes to new lighting; yes to new splash back, maybe mediterranean tiles could be good; definitely new window blind, & possibly new flooring (or colorful rug) & lighter stone benchtops. Trouble is it's all too dark & feels quite Harry Potter so needs lightening up.
  • Ella Broekhuizen
    3 years ago

    This is an amazing kitchen ! How many people would absolutely LOVE it! Alternatively, sell the house, but please leave kitchen intact. It's a huge selling point!

  • hagsdownunder
    3 years ago

    I think the idea of selling the kitchen as is and starting from scratch is the BEST The doors are certainly in keeping with the style of the woodwork- traditional, neo classical. Taking bits out here and there (if even possible) will make it look very tatty.

    If this does not reflect the style of the actual house, it definitely has to go! If the house is old and grand, you might think of a really good paint job- lightning everything with creamy Marble look. Replace the bench tops with a lighter brown granite ( must match/ complement the brown of the floor!), get brass fittings and taps, remove all the magnets and get grand lighting ( maybe crystal).


  • Liz Morrison
    3 years ago

    This has obviously been a labour of love for someone. Would cost a fortune today. The columns are a bit OTT. I would get rid of all that black, and the columns, before doing anything else. It might just lighten up the whole kitchen. The workmanship is just awesome.

  • Tarnya Thomas Clarke
    3 years ago
    It's beautiful cabinetry for sure don't paint it unless u can get a perfect paint job, more likely a professional spray painter. I'd change the bench tops & splash back to a lighter colour to lighten the appearance a bit. and get all stainless steel appliances and tap also change the flooring to a lighter colour too.
  • Tarnya Thomas Clarke
    3 years ago
    also change door handles to stainless steel look too!
  • rachelen
    3 years ago

    Wow, that kitchen is hideous! I would be tempted to rip out the whole thing and start again. The layout is also a bit out-dated and could be improved, with that cramped little corner. Modern kitchens tend to be more of a straight galley style.

  • Jennifer
    3 years ago
    Painted white it would be amazing ..... I'd even keep the columns (which would not normally be my style) they'd have a completely different look in white.
    I had dark wood in my current home and painted it .... Now love it!
  • aih17
    3 years ago

    Besides the fact that it isn't my style (and thus I agree with oklouise to sell on ebay...), the first thing which strikes me, is the crammed working area: stove/ sink/ prep. How can you operate in that space? Other side appears to be too far away to be practical?

    Then the fridge! If you have an expensive and very ornate kitchen, you can't have a free standing fridge! One way or another your fridge has to be integrated, which brings you back to the style question. Either you like the style and just want to i.e.white wash it (liked that option, if you are into beachy, country), then you need a matching door made up (I'd calculate 2K) and buy an integrated fridge (A$ 2-4K) or you don't like the deco, lay-out, impractical space and want to replace it all, then you can possibly get away with a free-standing fridge in a much less ornate kitchen.

    If you basically don't mind the kitchen and can work well in the crammed working area, or your budget doesn't stretch to a new one (think about $ 25k+), I agree with the white wash solution and taking off all the excessive ornaments and trims, putting in a flat SS or glass range hood.

    Also install rails with hooks next to cook top and hang your utensils, you need every square inch on the counter! Microwave to be incorporated perhaps under oven and off benchtop. Maybe spend the money and buy a matching Miele microwave, will look nice with the oven.

    Look into brightening the gloomy kitchen (on top of white wash) by changing the black bench top and splash backs with light ones. It might save $$ if you just get the ex one covered ( I guess about A$ 6-7k).

    If it was my kitchen I would definitely sell it, before spending all that money on bench tops, fridge door, integrated fridge, m/w integration, removal of trims, painting, splash back etc. and still end up with a mediocre and impractical kitchen.

    Would be very interested to see more of your actual style. Can only make out an Ikea shelving unit on one photo...

    Your decision has a lot to do with the longevity (and cost) of a kitchen, your actual style and the practicability of the ex kitchen! If you can afford it, think long term and maybe save up for THE kitchen you want. If you want some tips on how to keep costs in check and still get a great result for a new kitchen, just contact me. Good luck.

  • Debbie Fisher
    3 years ago

    Have you thought about adding a skylight above what I think is an Island. Some pendant lighting. The cabinetry is extremely dark which is dragging the appearance down. I still feel a lighter backsplash perhaps some new handles. Maybe up date the fridge to stainless. If the bench tops are stone I would probably consider keeping them. Clear the clutter, get the microwave of the bench. If you are short of work area maybe think about just replacing Island. A good cabinet maker may have some suggestions on a material & style island that will compliment what is all ready there. A large skylight to mirror the island would look fabulous. You could have your microwave fitted in Island. I would try and keep any additions minimalist there is enough going on in the existing cabinetry . Try and keep it clutter free

  • annb1997
    3 years ago

    Although I haven't read through all of the comments, a few issues immediately hit me: inadequate bench space, need for drawers to replace most lower cabinets, and the ovens are taking centre stage rather than the cooktop. If it's possible, a reconfiguration would improve work flow and give a more spacious feel to,the kitchen. Also, I would consider an island bench that serves double duty as kitchen table to replace the table that's seen in photo if your friend wants more work space and can use the table elsewhere. Great idea of oklouise's regarding selling kitchen on eBay or other site. Please keep us posted!

  • annb1997
    3 years ago

    Ahhh, yes, now I see there is additional L-shaped bench top. Still think an island would work better to,open up kitchen space.

  • aimeelou2002
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago


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  • aimeelou2002
    3 years ago

    Work with what you've got and go Hamptons style. Paint cabinets off white or pale grey. Stone benchtops in a light shade and a big porcelain butlers sink. Change door knobs to a vintage metal style. Leave amazing parquet floor as is. Get some feature pendant lights and/or a skylight. Subway tiles or marble look tiles for splashback.

    P B thanked aimeelou2002
  • PRO
    Nasseri Associates
    3 years ago
    To modernise this kitchen , I would keep all the existing cabinets and the details of the wood work but change the colour to antique white , change all appliances to modern stainless steel , change the bench top and splash back to white marble look with greyish veins running through it. Add a stainless steel look pendant light over the breakfast bar island.
    This cabinets look too good to be wasted, has a lot of character.
    P B thanked Nasseri Associates
  • debluc
    3 years ago
    Paint it! French grey, sage. Ball and farrow have some great colours.
    P B thanked debluc
  • P B
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Thank you everyone for you comments and thank you Luke Buckle for your help.