The kitchen before the renovation.

The kitchen before the renovation. Photo: Home Beautiful

Among all the clever and creative entries, one space thoroughly wowed the judges, Home Beautiful editor Wendy Moore, television presenter Johanna Griggs and Blum ambassador and interior designer Lynn Malone. They were blown away by the transformation of Emma and Ben's kitchen and living space - achieved on a budget of just $35,000.

"This is an amazing example of how much can be achieved with a strong vision and a bit of hard work," says Moore.

"When we bought our house, we knew it had great bones, but it needed to be rescued from the 1970s," recalls Emma, who dreamed of a classic Hamptons aesthetic.

After the renovation of the kitchen area.

After the renovation of the kitchen area. Photo: Home Beautiful

"We started knocking out walls to transform four poky rooms into a flowing open-plan living, kitchen and dining room."

Timber arches were squared off and replaced with elegant french doors; new panelling was added and painted with a few coats of Dulux Natural White; and the lounge's bar was upgraded to hotel-like splendour, thanks to glass-fronted cabinet doors, a mirrored splashback and chic glass shelves.

Kitchen cabinetry was also reconfigured and a generous new island created. "Ben doing a lot of the work saved us a substantial amount of money. It helps to have a handy husband!" says Emma, who is no slouch - she is launching a interior design business, Designed By Emma.

The living room before the renovation.

The living room before the renovation. Photo: Home Beautiful

The end result is a beautiful kitchen, living and dining zone, achieved in just three months and on budget. "We had our entire family of 18 over for Christmas, and to see the space come to life was beautiful," says Emma with a smile.


With internal walls knocked down and the layout tweaked, the kitchen has become a bright, user-friendly zone, with family life centred around the large island bench. "We were able to buy flat-pack products and make them look custom-made with a few creative ideas," says Emma. T

After shot of the renovated living room.

After shot of the renovated living room. Photo: Home Beautiful

he couple built the island using Shaker-style cabinetry from Ikea in Black-Brown and wrapped it in Easy Regency traditional-look cladding from Bunnings painted in a colour-matched hue. Smart satin chrome hardware was sourced online from Knob Depot.

Sticking to a similar footprint and reusing the kitchen's existing flooring saved a considerable sum for the couple. The Santorini double bullnose-edged Smartstone benchtops in Carrara from Sharwood Stone pulls the whole look together.

A traditional Glittran lever tap from Ikea and plain subway tiles found at Bunnings contribute to the Hamptons feel, as do plantation shutters from Knights Window Furnishings that admit light but deliver privacy. An industrial light fitting from Recollections transforms the island into a real focal point.



The couple's classic upholstered furniture, including a sofa from Recollections and armchairs from La Maison, suits the new-look lounge, which has been given a much needed paint update with walls in Dulux Brume and existing cupboards and new dado panelling, both in Dulux Natural White.A pair of glass lanterns from Southside Lighting replaces the old-fashioned light fittings. The bar has been given a chic new makeover, thanks to Ikea Faktum cabinet doors fitted over the existing shelving, with a mirrored splashback and glass shelves added for extra glamour.


Painted in Dulux Beige Royal in half-strength, the dining space runs neatly into the kitchen area for maximum convenience. The couple saved a packet by keeping the existing neutral flooring and simply tracking down some extra matching tiles from Rivoland Tiles to extend the floor and boost the sense of flow between the spaces. The timber table with mismatched chairs are all from Domayne.

A spherical One World Collection pendant light in the dining area complements the two lanterns in the adjoining formal living room. Flowing sheer curtains in Charles Parsons Venice Ivory fabric soften the windows in both rooms.

Budget breakdown

Bar and island cabinets $1800

Bench top $5600

Building and labour $6000

Cladding and moulding $885

Dining room furniture $5000

Electrical $3500

Fridge $3700

Knobs $300

Lighting $1545

Tiles $1000

Window treatments $5320

Total cost: $35,000

Source book:

Interior design: Emma Stockbridge, Designed by Emma, 040 7679 378

Home contractor: Andrew Kirsten,

Electrician: Auscan Solutions, 047 7321 821


■ From the April edition of Home Beautiful, out now. $8.50. Photos: Courtesy of Home Beautiful.