Small Kitchen: Before & After

See how this small, dark, apartment kitchen is transformed into a delightful, light, and airy kitchen with a splash of colour, new finishes, and clever storage.

We chatted to Emily from Improva (formerly Blakes of Sydney) in Sydney about the kitchen renovation, and how they transformed the space.

Tiny Kitchen Transformation Inner West Sydney Improva
Photo Credit: Fiona Susanto c/o Cosentino

What wasn't working in the original kitchen?

The original kitchen was dark, dated and didn’t function well. There was a lack of storage with an island bench at 2 different levels that restricted use. 

What was your brief for the kitchen renovation?

The kitchen design had 3 main drivers:

  • Modern, two-toned design that would complement the existing living spaces with timber and white accents.
  • Improved functionality (they enjoy cooking!)
  • More storage and usable bench space.

What were the Must-Haves?

  • Open shelving to showcase books and decorations
  • Integrated bins for recycling
  • A special space that would allow for their remote wireless video intercom automatic cat feeder

How did Improva transform the space?

As it was a small space in an apartment, the renovation options were limited. We removed the existing kitchen which gave us the ability to slightly change the footprint.

We kept the oven and island in the same positions due to plumbing constraints. We also had to ensure that we covered the footprint of the old kitchen as the flooring was not changing.

Storage in the kitchen was a problem. Although the new design followed a very similar footprint, it made better use of all the space available by including wall cabinets wherever possible, shallow tall cabinetry and clever storage solutions, such as a Lemans corner unit and a custom splashback cabinet.

The clients wanted to include open shelving to showcase books and decorations, so we created a beautiful storage at the end of the island. We took it down the stairs to reach the depth of the island bench whilst creating a unique feature.

Open shelving storage kitchen island two toned blue kitchen
Stepped open shelving; Photo Credit: Fiona Susanto c/o Cosentino

What design tricks did you use to make the space seem bigger?

We went handle-free for the tall overhead and back island cabinets to provide a cleaner look and help trick the eye into thinking that the kitchen is larger than it actually is. We used handles for the lower cabinets inside the kitchen. 

We used light tones in the kitchen reflect and bounce the light, and the darker bold blue colour on the lower cabinetry and island to create contrast and character.

What's your favorite detail in the kitchen?

The sliding panel on the splashback is our favourite detail on the project. The benchtop on that run was quite deep, so we thought a splashback cabinet behind sliding doors would be a great idea to store the many spice jars that our clients had, since it is right next to the cooking area. The shelves are only 100mm deep but deep enough to store the jars. Sliders work well as they are easy to use and non-intrusive into the bench space.

Hiding spice cabinet in splashback customer joinery improva
Sliding panel in splashback hiding spice storage. Photo Credit: Fiona Susanto c/o Cosentino

Why do you think this room works?

The new kitchen feels so much brighter and bigger than the old kitchen and the aesthetics now tie in with the style of the apartment. The kitchen is also more functional.

Key Project Details:

  • Budget: Around $40,000 (excluding appliances)
  • Room size: 5m2
  • Where did most of the budget go? On the joinery, benchtops and splashback.
  • Joinery: Laminex AbsoluteMatte Natural White for white joinery and Laminex Natural Finish Honey Elm for open shelving. 
  • Base Cabinet Colour: Porter’s Paints Squid Ink satin finish
  • Benchtops: Silestone Calacatta Gold 
  • Splashbacks: Cosentino Dekton in Zenith 

Emily and the team at Improva are committed to making renovations effortless, so if you are looking to trannsorm your space then get in touch with them today! 1300 500 044 or check out their listing here.

For more goodness and advice on kitchen renovations check out our articles here

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