Winning Home Beautiful’s ‘Desperate Kitchen’ competition back in December 2009 was a huge shock for Trish, her husband Lawrence and their four daughters – the prize was a whopping $30,000 worth of Ikea fittings and Whirlpool appliances. “I’d never won anything in my life!” says Trish. “Our kitchen was far from perfect, but we just kind of accepted it.” It wasn’t until Julie, a close friend, entered her in the competition that Trish took a long, hard look at her existing space, noting the crumbling plaster, rusting fixtures and impractical layout. “It was dark, dingy and open to the elements. The wood stove even had birds nesting in it,” she recalls. “I had to plan meals two or three hours ahead because the oven was so old and only one hotplate worked!”

The couple’s initial pleasure at winning the competition was tempered by a struggle to find a builder willing to make the journey to their home in rural NSW. Eventually, they found builder Michael Smith, of Michael J Smith Constructions, who agreed to start work in April 2010. They gutted the kitchen in preparation but the week before the builders were due, disaster struck. Lawrence had a serious accident, which put him in intensive care for 40 days. Trish and the girls relocated to Sydney for nine months while he recovered. “I didn’t even think about the kitchen during this time,” recalls Trish. “I had a couple of trips back to the house, but it wasn’t my priority.”

Fortunately, friends and family took over the project, turning what was a building site into a beautiful new open-plan cooking space. “My brother-in-law, David, is an electrician,” explains Trish. “He took charge and became project manager, pulling together all the tradesmen to keep the project moving. If it wasn’t for him it would have never been finished!” Neighbours also got involved, while local businesses donated items such as the Duralux paint and simple white tiles. D & E Electrical, Steve Thompson Plumbing and Daniel Bowd Bricklaying each donated their time and services.Now the space has undergone a complete transformation, with a revamped layout and brand new Ikea fittings and Whirlpool appliances for the whole family to enjoy.

Kitchen Makeover Magic

A designer from Ikea visited the house, spending the day measuring up and brainstorming ideas. Homeowner Trish ordered ‘Faktum’ cabinets, ‘Lidingö’ door and drawer fronts, ‘Gravyr’ handles and the ‘Domsjo’ sink with a ‘Loviken’ mixer tap.

Space exploration

Knocking through to the dining room really opened up the kitchen. The old, impractical wood stove was ripped out and replaced with French doors, by Bryant’s Glass & Windscreens, which lead out to the garden. “I can’t wait to try outdoor summer entertaining with our new easy-access kitchen,” says Trish. The floor was replaced with cypress pine, sourced from local sawmill E & RJ Hay & Co. It matches the rest of the house whilst linking the dining and kitchen areas, providing a real sense of flow.

Kitchen Storage

Trish loves to be organised, so adding an island bench was a must. The wall of cupboard space (below) already existed, it just needed streamlining. It now houses the ‘Crisp & Convection’ microwave and ‘608L side-by-side’ fridge, both from Whirlpool. She also opted for a wall-hung cupboard near the sink area (see page 145), fitted with Ikea ‘Lidingo’ glass doors, to display her collection of china and glasses.

Kitchen Benchtops

CaesarStone benchtops in Walnut and an antique chandelier from Round Corner Antiques (see page 144) add a hit of glamour. After a tough nine months, Trish and her family came home to their stunning, new-look kitchen. Each family member has a favourite kitchen feature; the girls love the Whirlpool dishwasher, while the fridge, with its ice and water dispenser, is Lawrence’s gadget of choice. Trish loves her island, but she couldn’t live without the slick, freestanding electric oven. “It halves my cooking time – I take a lot of pleasure in cooking now,” she says

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