How to create an apartment kitchen fit for a family

Loving the convenience of inner city living, a family renovate their apartment kitchen making it ‘fit for a family’.

We love the convenience of apartment life. Living in Toowong we’re within walking distance of so much and so close to the city for work and school. Our apartment kitchen re-design had to be simple and modern to fit into the style of the apartment but we were also conscious of creating a warm, inviting hub for family living.


Anne Ellard, kitchen designer with Kitchens by Kathie, designed our apartment kitchen. We wanted to open everything up and make it more inclusive but we had to keep in mind that the kitchen is very visible from all aspects of the apartment.

One of the down sides of opening up spaces is that some things you might not want to see, suddenly become more visible and less easy to hide. We chose low profile under mount sinks to create a smooth expanse of stone bench top as the visual connection between the kitchen and the living. The sinks have clever covers so you can hide dirty dishes out of view while entertaining.

Using clean lines and a neutral colour palette, Anne’s design keeps the kitchen ‘low profile’ to minimise the view of obvious kitchen elements from the lounge area. Handleless cabinetry above the counter top and all appliances, except the range hood and the fridge, installed below counter level; help with keeping the kitchen low profile.



Neutral tones and clean lines are design elements not renown for their cozy feel, so making the kitchen area friendly and welcoming while keeping it modern was a challenge. We softened the rigorous modern look with a few key features.


Before the renovation, the kitchen had quite a dark work area with black splashback tiles.The renovation included a fabulous mirror splashback, bringing natural light into the kitchen and additional down lights in this area also create a better lit work space.



The view is a stand out feature of the apartment and the mirror splashback reflects the sweeping views of mountains, sky and the traditional Queenslanders in the neighbourhood, the mirror brings character and nature into the apartment.


Quintessential Queenslander VJs are used in the under-counter kick board area and lend a casual comfort to the modern clean lines of the design.

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Including plants, wood and warm brown stone in the design brings an organic softness to the clean surfaces of glass, metal and white cabinetry.

‘Walnut’ Caesarstone for the bench tops gives a warm, and earthy tone to the four-metre long kitchen island.

Warm-white satin two-pack and curved edges on the cabinetry soften the potentially hard look of a lot of white edges.

Timber floors bring an organic and natural element to the design and create continuity between the entrance, the living area and the kitchen.

Soft linen counter seating with comfortably high backs brings the comfort of the lounge room to the hard surfaces of the kitchen. Family friendly washable covers on the seating make life more relaxed when it comes to sticky fingers.



With tight floor space in a galley kitchen, an integrated bin solution was important. Anne suggested a pullout Blum bin with twin compartments for recycling and general waste, this system includes a sneaky draw above the bins to store bin liners and reusable plastic bags. We splurged and installed a servo-drive opening mechanism on the bin for hands-free opening and soft close. Pull out drawers inside the kitchen pantry make finding ingredients and organising food for the family a breeze.

For any family home to work well, it’s important that everything has a place and everyone knows where to quickly find the things they need for the day. Easier said than done, I know and I am the worst offender of all the family, always losing my keys and phone, forgetting to charge the phone, and flapping around looking for that really important letter.

I saw the renovation as a great opportunity to find a couple of simple solutions to ease the morning rush and create smarter storage spaces. A power point fitted inside the cabinet and a power board fixed inside the draw hides away all the charging cords and electronics. Along with a compartmentalised draw organiser, the dream draw has lead to a much higher chance of everyone finding what they need, possibly even fully charged and ready to start the day, as they rush out the door.

The entrance to our apartment has very limited storage space so additional cupboard space on the living area side of the kitchen island has provided extra storage for entryway items like hats, school bags, shopping bags and umbrellas.

Streamline, push up cabinets now utilise the former bulkhead void space, creating additional storage for rarely used bulky pieces like Christmas platters and vases.

Our renovation took about five weeks to fully complete, with the kitchen being completely out of action for about two and a half weeks. My advice to renovators is to expect things to take longer than anticipated and to write a list of all you ‘do want’ and ‘don’t want’ so your designer can have a clear picture and be able to suggest great ideas and solutions for your renovation.

Photography by John Downs