What started as a quick facelift turned into an eight-month update of the busy hubs in this Sydney family home…


Who lives here: Jennie Cadman, who has her own interior design business, Periwinkle Interiors; her husband Duane Cadman, an investment manager; their kids William, 7; Amelie, 4; and Harper, 1; and Charlie the Yorkshire terrier.

Style of house: A Federation-era house, originally built around 1910. Jennie and Duane completed a renovation to accommodate their family lifestyle.

Timeline: The update took around eight months, with Harper born in the middle of the reno.

Budget: The cost of the new kitchen, laundry and downstairs bathroom came to $150k.

Not many mothers would move house while four months pregnant and then project-manage a renovation while living on-site. But that is exactly what Jennie Cadman did alongside her husband, Duane and their children, William and Amelie. “When we moved in, I thought we would only sand and repolish the floors and paint the skirting boards. But as soon as we painted the skirting boards, the walls looked green, so we painted those as well,” says Jennie. “The renovation then snowballed and when Harper was three months old, we decided to tackle the kitchen, laundry and downstairs bathroom. We ended up changing everything from the external paint colours to the door handles and power-point covers.”

Jennie, how did you manage to renovate a kitchen, bathroom and laundry with a three-month-old in tow?

It was actually easier to complete the renovation before Harper started crawling through builders’ dust, eating nails and needing purees! Given I was couch-bound while pregnant, I would simultaneously be reading magazines and searching Pinterest and websites on my phone for products and inspiration for when the time came to renovate.

How did you come up with the design for the kitchen?

My most important ‘want’ was to create an efficient and functional layout for a family of five. We also wanted the largest island possible that was free from appliances. With those wishes in the back of our minds, the starting point for the kitchen’s design was, as bizarre as it sounds, the laundry, which was originally located in a cupboard. We wanted a space adjacent to the kitchen that could be a mudroom laundry and handle the overflow from the kitchen as needed.  The size of the laundry then dictated how large the kitchen would be and the maximum length the island could be (2.65 metres allowing for a minimum passage of 1.1 metres at either end).

How have you achieved efficiency and practicality?

I spent hours considering zones and debating where appliances should be positioned to allow for maximum efficiency. For example, while someone is making school lunches, are they going to bump into someone unpacking the dishwasher? And can someone access the fridge while someone else is getting something from the pantry? Also, when we were positioning appliances and fixtures on the rear bench – in our case, a fridge, stove, two ovens, sink, two dishwashers and wine and beer fridges – I ensured that there was sufficient bench space between each item. I opted against a traditional butler’s pantry – I wanted a comparable area where mess could be hidden, however I didn’t like the impracticality of being in a separate room with small children out of sight. We had a pantry/small appliance zone built behind bi-fold doors. There’s a spot for schoolbags and even Charlie has his own drawer for dog paraphernalia in the laundry. I tried to allow a space for everything so that items can be put away and can be found easily – something necessary with three young children. And from a practical perspective, a marble-look Silestone benchtop was used in the kitchen and laundry, and I selected polypropylene-finished dining chairs and stools. You can’t be precious with kids – I didn’t want to have to worry about marble being damaged or upholstered seats being stained.

What’s the point of difference with your kitchen?

The short answer is texture. A significant amount of texture was added to give the kitchen depth and a luxurious, sophisticated feel. For example, the splashback was tiled up to the traditional cornice in a mix of glossy and matt finishes giving different surface and reflective qualities. The island’s stained timber joinery contrasts with the polyurethane-finish shaker-style cupboards on the back wall and the tongue-and-groove bi-fold pantry doors.

For interior design queries, contact Jennie at jenniecadman@gmail.com. Contact builder Hobbs And Blair Construction at hobbsblair.com.au.

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