Renovation Diaries: The Cost Of A Colourful Scandi-Inspired Kitchen

Melbourne designer Emily Green (co-owner of Preston gift shop Pinky’s) has always loved the look of Scandinavian and German kitchens that play with fun colour combinations and interesting patterns.

So when Emily and her husband Louis Turner scrapped plans to extend their Reservoir family home, they decided to renovate the kitchen alone.

In today’s renovation diary, Emily reveals how they transformed their plain white fit-out into a true hero feature of the house with custom butter-yellow joinery and made-to-order purple tiles — all the way from the Netherlands.

Find out exactly how much it cost to create the Scandi-inspired kitchen of her dreams below!

Christina Karras

Custom tiles from Palet by Studio GdB. YDL Stone benchtop. Fredericks and Mae chopping board. Vase by Stacey’s Ceramics. Custom joinery by Luna. Lo & Co sphere Knobs.

Kit Cat clock from Pinky’s. Walls painted Dulux Vivid White. Pink Flowerpot VP1 light shade by Verner Panton.

Westinghouse rangehood and induction cooktop. Lugano Sink 90 Degree Mixer tap. Seima sink.

Poster by Carla McCrae from Food for Everyone.

The kitchen was kept in its original layout, but every surface and fixture was replaced.

The custom joinery created more benchtop space by allowing for an integrated dishwasher and microwave.

Custom joinery by Luna. Lo & Co sphere Knobs.

The old ‘tired’ kitchen!

Christina Karras
13th of May 2024

To say Emily Green’s kitchen is bold would be an understatement. The compact 12-square-metre space has been cleverly redesigned to maximise every inch with custom butter-yellow joinery, patterned purple tiles and a contrasting blue tap.

But she has not one regret about the recent makeover, which cost a total of $39,924.

‘Our decision to do the kitchen came after scrapping plans for a bigger extension and renovation of the whole house, so we didn’t have a set budget,’ Emily says.

‘I had the figure of around $30,000 in my head from chatting to other people and from doing a bit of research.’

They had already saved up the money, and having decided that this was their family’s forever home, they threw any caution about resale value to the wind and splurged on this cosmetic transformation!

The playful inspirations behind the space 

‘I was inspired by some Scandinavian and German kitchens that I had seen on Instagram with fun colour combos and interesting patterns and textures,’ Emily says. ‘I particularly love the work of Montana Furniture Designers [from Denmark]. And because their work is virtually impossible to get in Australia, I channelled their aesthetic in my planning. I also wanted the kitchen to be a reflection of my aesthetic and love of colour and pattern.’

Colour was key

One of Emily’s first decisions was to replace the kitchen’s ‘bland’ white tiling and splashback with some custom-made Palet tiles by Studio GdB, an innovative design duo from the Netherlands.

‘I ordered samples before we had even committed to the renovation,’ Emily says. Once she settled on doing yellow joinery in hopes of making the small kitchen feel brighter, lighter, and larger, she purchased the made-to-order tiles online — opting for a marbled glaze.

‘I had measured up the space and ordered just enough of them for the kitchen. I love the hazy, irregular pattern and the maroon and blue-grey colours contrast so beautifully with the butter yellow,’ she adds.

Cosmetic changes can be transformative

They kept the kitchen in the same footprint but started the design from scratch. This included gutting the old tiling and peeling laminate joinery, removing the fraying wooden benchtop, and even replacing their old cooktop with an induction stove.

‘It was important for me that I make all the aesthetic choices, but we worked with a great company called Luna to do the cabinetry, the demolition and installation,’ Emily says.

No structural works made it easier to live in the house during the renovation too, as the family moved their fridge outside and set up a makeshift kitchen with a camp stove in the laundry for the few weeks it took to complete the install. ‘We were able to find some fun in cooking in the temporary setup with a camp stove and having toasties for dinner a couple of times a week.’

Why custom joinery was worth the money

The decision to replace the home’s existing cabinetry with new, custom-designed joinery was ultimately about maximising space — and Emily says this transformed the kitchen’s functionality.

‘We changed a lot of the small, pokey cupboards into drawers (which I highly recommend) and rearranged some of the shelves to create a bigger coffee nook, concealing the dishwasher and microwave,’ she says. ‘It’s really nice to have our ugly appliances hidden away now.’ This integration unlocked more storage and also allowed for a slightly larger (and less cluttered) bench!

Final word

‘I learned that it was great to work with the one company for the entire project. Once all the designing was done Luna’s team organised and coordinated everything. There were a lot of elements and it would have been a longer and more challenging project had I tried to manage it myself,’ Emily says.

‘I would also recommend finding a company that you feel confident can deliver the project and give them clear instructions as to what you want. Take resale value and thoughts of the future out of your planning, and think about what colours, patterns, finishes and configurations excite you and how you use the space. Also, drawers. Have lots of big drawers.’

Budget breakdown

Custom tiles: $1300
Tapware: $1027
Sink: $1226
Cabinetry knobs: $434
Stone benchtop and custom cabinetry: $25000
Rangehood: $249
Induction Cooktop $999
Dishwasher: $1049
Total trades cost: $8,640.10 (inclusive of demolition, removal, tiling, painting, installing new appliances)

Renovation total: $39,924

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