Feb 20, 2020: Kitchen finished

Finished Kitchen

The Finished Kitchen

Yesterday I put the final touches on the kitchen in the old house next to the Greeny Flat. I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s obviously a modern upgrade to an old house but it feels sympathetic to the character of the old girl. It’s interesting how a few small touches save it from feeling too modern and sterile. Things like the cabinet handles we salvaged off the old kitchen (featured in our Newsletter on Jan 24th) and some nice timber details which I’ve just completed. We made these out of the studs that came out of the wall which we removed in order to open up the living room to the new kitchen. It turned out that all of the framing of the house above floor level was made of Cypress wood which polishes up beautifully. So we took some of the old studs, cut them in half, planed them down, glued them together and polished them up.

Sanding a piece of Cypress that has been cut, planed and book-matched.

Sanding a piece of Cypress that has been cut, planed and book-matched.


Varnishing some Cypress pieces.

Varnishing some Cypress pieces.

Cypress shelf at the end of the island bench.

Cypress shelf at the end of the island bench.

We used these for the ends of the island bench and for the kickboards underneath the kitchen cabinets.

'Gorgeous kickboards' is not something you hear every day.

‘Gorgeous kickboards’ is not something you hear every day.

These are, without doubt the loveliest, book-matched, polished, 70 year-old salvaged Cypress kickboards you will ever see. Actually no-one will ever probably notice them because who looks at kickboards but it was a fun way to turn a functional part of the old house into a beautiful and interesting part of the new kitchen. It somehow helps to tie the old together with the new and, for me at least, it is deeply satisfying.

All told the kitchen renovation has worked out really well. I think we’ve succeeded in keeping the charm and character of the old house while adapting it to a modern lifestyle.

Open-plan kitchen, living and dining area.

Open-plan kitchen, living and dining area.

The last major project of this renovation is to now turn part of the old kitchen into a second toilet which will be a handy and functional improvement to a four-bedroom house that only has one loo.

Maybe Not So Fire Proof

After I wrote in our last Newsletter on New Year’s Eve about a house on the South Coast that survived a severe bushfire through careful ‘Fire-Proof’ design and detailing, a dear reader sent me a link to the following article from The Conversation entitled Building Standards Give Us False Hope – There’s No Such Thing As A Fire Proof House.

The gist of the article is that…

‘…The sad truth is that any practical building that is exposed to an intense bushfire will probably burn down, whether it complies with Australian Standard 3959 or not.

Worse still, the available evidence suggests there is a significant risk that the people sheltering in it will not survive without an effective refuge…’

And the conclusion it comes to is…

‘…We may need to have difficult conversations about whether our subdivision practices are appropriate. Allowing people to build in areas that are bushfire-prone, particularly where buildings are effectively built into the bush, might be creating unmanageable problems for the future.’

And, while I certainly agree that our subdivision practices are inappropriate and that allowing people to build in fire or flood prone areas is asking for trouble, that will not be any sort of comfort to people who already own property in those areas or to the many people who are faced with rebuilding after having lost property in the recent fires.

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