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  • Writer's picturePat Browne

Kitchen and bathroom renos change the use (and if done right, the value) of your house.

The most important renovations to consider for your home are to the kitchen and bathrooms. Taking these very simple builder basic spaces to new heights will make your home eminently more useable and liveable.

A kitchen reno to dream about

Whether you’re looking for small or grand kitchen remodel ideas to renovate one of the most popular spaces in your home, there are several directions you can go in. Perhaps you have seen some popular kitchen trends that you’d like to emulate. But will the ideas work in our long narrow spaces? Let’s see what a kitchen and bathroom upgrade can mean to the liveability of our houses. Roll up your sleeves, these kitchen and bathroom upgrades will get you inspired to get your hands dirty.

Before: closed in and cut off

After: Bright, white and open

A mellow grey and white palette sets the tone for the whole house. Eternal design elements – simple shaker doors, marble style quartz countertops and stainless-steel appliances – make the space timeless. Working with contractor and and and Wolstencraft Custom Cabinetry, homeowners transformed the usability of their home.

Taking down the wall between kitchen and dining room opens the space up and provides room for a full breakfast bar peninsula as the owners extended the kitchen into the dining area. The wall is not load baring; however, you will have to contend with moving electrical switches and cold air returns.

Taking cupboards to the ceiling emphasises the height of the first-floor and provides valuable storage space for seasonal items. Finishing the cupboards with crown moulding at the ceiling creates a custom look to the entire renovation.

Moving most of the major appliances to the new feature wall, while incorporating additional storage, the homeowners have effectively doubled the capacity of the kitchen. The new functional “work triangle” allows for multiple cooks to be in the kitchen at the same time. Wall ovens and microwave have been kept low for easy access. Installing drawers for most of the lower cabinets make full use of limited space – no awkward corners that can’t be accessed.

On the opposite wall, the stove top is repositioned to a more central location allowing the homeowners to capture significantly more counterspace. Extending the backsplash to the ceiling behind the hood fan creates a modern focal point and again raises the eye to the high ceilings.

Darkened oak floors were replaced throughout the main floor and extended into the kitchen creating uninterrupted sightlines. Full size California-shutters on the kitchen doors allows light to flood into the space while maintaining privacy. Additional pot-lights in the kitchen increase the work light.

Design tricks to make small bathrooms feel much bigger

Builder basic gives way to more useable bathroom spaces. A small bathroom can make morning and evening routines a lot less glamorous and more importantly, less efficient. To change this scenario, you need some strategic styling tips to make our small bathrooms look as good, and work as hard, as their larger counterparts.

  1. One of the first things that can be done is replace swinging doors with pocket doors. Installing pocket doors will end up saving a lot of usable space in a small bathroom.

  2. Continuous tile with minimum grout lines visually extends the floor. The grayscale elegance takes a minimalistic approach that results in a streamlined, soothing spa-like space.

  3. Replace a bathtub with a walk-in shower. Even if the bathroom only has space for either a shower or tub, you can make it feel and look lux. The sliding glass shower doors provide uninterrupted sightlines while the bench adds both formal and functional value.

  4. Feature walls add function and style. Creating a dark grey feature wall and then maintaining softer greys throughout, changes this family bathroom with a tub/shower into a super useable family space.

  5. Everything off of the floors. Keep everything organized and out of the way will ensure that small spaces look bigger. Nothing makes a space smaller than having clutter laying about.

  6. A consistent colour-palette unifies the whole home. Some may say this is boring, but a bright and airy palette extended throughout the house brings light into all areas of the home. Stone countertops, light coloured paint, modern light fixtures, and graphic floor tiles – ensure plenty of style.

  7. Consider a skylight. Natural light is the key to making a small space feel bigger. In a townhouse that may only have light from either the front or back of the house, adding a skylight can be a game changer. Skylights are a great option for when windows aren’t enough. Adding a skylight on the top floor over the staircase can flood much of our houses with light.

  8. Upgrade the lighting. When a skylight isn’t an option, make sure you provide multiple levels of lighting. New halogen pot lights require very little space in the ceiling and are suitable for bathroom spaces. Side lights by the vanity provide make-up light where it is needed.

  9. Use mirrors strategically. Mirrors are useful: light bounces off the reflective surfaces and helps make rooms look bigger. Think about installing a mirror on opposite walls or perhaps build in a mirrored cabinet on the opposite wall to the vanity. You can find medicine cabinets that fit perfectly between studs and can sit flat on the wall.

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