When it comes to overhauling a kitchen, The Block 2014 winner Shannon Vos knows a thing or two about what to do. And, perhaps more importantly, what not to do.
When his own kitchen was in his sights he decided to ignore the latest trends.
“We spent five, maybe six, thousand dollars and did a lot of the work ourselves, but I think it really paid off,” says Vos, who calculates he managed to add $ 15,000-$ 20,000 to the price of his apartment when it sold just two weeks later.
Steering away from popular kitchen trends, Vos – with the help of brother Simon, who flew down from his Coffs Harbour home to lend a hand – opted for a monochromatic colour-scheme, going for timeless elegance over flashy, showy ‘bells and whistles’ inclusions.
“We shunned the whole kitchen trend thing completely,” interior designer Vos explains. “It just dates too quickly.
“If you get something too trendy, it looks trendy for two or three years but before you know it, it’s gone out of date again – and no one has the money to update their kitchen every two or three years.
“Stick with the classics.”
Renovating on a budget. Here’s what you should avoid:
Don’t max-out your ovens
We’ve all seen those mega walls of ovens. But really, how many of us really need four ways to cook a chook?
“You look at The Block and it’s trendy to have four ovens in a row,” says Vos. “But unless you’re running an orphanage and cooking a giant amount of food with endless lines of soup kitchen kids, who needs that many?
“No one needs that amount of oven!”
Vos says you’re better off saving money and using your budget for things you’ll actually use every day instead.
Avoid fancy mirrored splashbacks
“I am a big fan of tiles,” says Vos, who chose a white textured subway tile for his renovation. “They really warm a space up, because they have a lot of texture, which brings character, which then builds warmth.”
He says mirrored splashbacks – popular in recent years – are worth steering away from at all costs.
“Who has the time to clean them?” he asks. “People don’t clean their mirrors in their bathrooms. And in kitchens, that’s something that’s seen every day by everyone.”
Simple tiled splashbacks are something you can install yourself and easily update or refresh if the need arises. “If the grout gets dirty, you just dig the grout out and put some new grout in – it’s that easy,” he says.
Don’t include too much tech
If you need a PHD to operate your kitchen you might want to rethink what you have planned!
“I remember on The Block they had integrated LCD screens in the splashback. Can you imagine fixing that? What if it broke down?” he points out.
Overcomplicating things adds to your bottom line, and at the end of the day, Vos thinks it’s just plain unnecessary.
“No one needs a fridge that has cameras in it to see what is inside – just open the door!” he laughs.
Rethink the butler’s pantry
Butler’s pantries might be nice to have, but unless you have the space – and the cash to splash – you may be better off just rethinking your kitchen space.
“If you have got the space – great, that’s awesome. But I think a well-designed kitchen trumps a poorly designed kitchen with a butler’s pantry any day of the week.”
Butler’s pantries might be great for hiding your clutter, but be careful not to hide yourself away too.
“I wash the dishes all the time, and the sink needs to be in a nice spot where you can still communicate with the rest of the household,” he insists.
“I would rather be out where I can see or hear the kids, or look out at the backyard. You want to be able to look out somewhere, instead of staring at a blank wall in a tiny little closet.”
Don’t be seduced by on-trend colour schemes
They might look pretty in the pages of an interior magazine, but be mindful of the fact that trendy colour palettes – especially when used in cabinetry – are going to date really quickly.
“Best to go for your black and whites; your greys and timbers – those classic tones,” Vos explains. “If we’d gone with a muted, dirty pink in there or some sage green colours, you would just get over them.
“I always love to always stick to neutral tones.”