Before + After: A Sunny Yellow Kitchen For A Victorian Cottage

This Melbourne cottage’s recent renovation manages to bring the 138-year-old home into a new era, while also paying homage to its Victorian roots.

The owners engaged Brave New Eco to reconfigure the rear of their Brunswick residence, tackling the leaky and dark kitchen, and combined laundry and bathroom.

Using the cottage’s original terracotta and timber interiors for inspiration, they’ve refreshed the old house with playful sunny yellow tiles, joinery, and elegant warm neutrals!

Christina Karras

Brave New Eco have transformed the rear of this Brunswick cottage.

Walls painted Dulux Grand Piano Half. Joinery painted Dulux Grand Piano. Cabinetry painted Dulux Deep Sun.

The old floors were replaced with a similar colour and slightly smaller shape.

The opposite side of the kitchen features open shelves and new timber bench.

A look into the laundry.

Sink basin from Turner Hastings. Australian blackbutt timber was used for the custom-made base.

The dark, cold, and leaky spaces before the renovation!

Christina Karras
18th of December 2023
Building design
Interior Design

Brunswick, VIC/Wurundjeri Country

The brief for this Brunswick renovation called for new and modernised spaces that worked seamlessly with the Victorian cottage’s original elements.

Brave New Eco design director Megan Norgate says the 138-year-old home was dark and cold thanks to some past ‘substandard renovations’.

The owners’ biggest concern was the rear of the house, which featured a largely dysfunctional kitchen and an oversized and gloomy bathroom-laundry.

‘They were looking for someone to help make their home more beautiful and liveable, as well as sustainable,’ Megan adds. Given Brave New Eco’s environmentally considered approach to design, it felt like a natural fit, and they seized the chance to swap gas appliances for electric alternatives.

But the playful redesign was ultimately inspired by the cottage’s original colour scheme. ‘Sunny yellow, terracotta and warm timber are complimented with elegant, warm neutrals creating a feel-good cohesion throughout the renovated areas,’ Megan says. ‘The colour palette is both traditional and uplifting.’

As the existing kitchen separated the rest of the house from the back courtyard, it needed to function both as a utility space and a thoroughfare. The renovation maximised room and opened the pathway to the courtyard by creating two ‘galley-style elements’ on opposing sides, each with its own purpose.

Now, one serves as the ‘workhorse’, with yellow and white cabinetry, space for the fridge, cooker, sink and bins, while the other side features open timber shelves and built-in bench. A new backdrop of textural white tiles beautifully bounces light around the room.

In addition to separating the bathroom from the laundry, both spaces were reconfigured. Megan says the new yellow tiles and a large skylight over the shower cleverly offset the fact that there are no windows in the bathroom.

Other thoughtful features include a ledge behind the basin rather than a traditional bulky vanity, and the sink is elevated by a custom-designed hardwood frame, which also provides a convenient spot to hang a towel. After all, it’s often the smallest details that can make the biggest difference in a good renovation!

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