Bench tops, Appliances, Fixtures and Laundry + Kitchen reveal – Episode Six

Fittings and fixtures literally make or break a renovation. For norsu, it’s always been about the detail and it was no different when we designed the norsuHOME. For me it’s just like adding a dangly pair of metallic earrings to a classic little black dress.

When it came time to selecting our kitchen appliances, it was the easiest decision we made. For those who have kindly followed our journey on Instagram, you’ll know that I have an unhealthy obsession for Smeg’s retro range. For most children they think “when I grow up I want to be a fire fighter”, but for me it’s always been “when I grow up I want to own a Smeg FAB fridge”. It was time to make the dream come true. I now stare at our fridge longingly like a complete weirdo….sorry Dan!

Having reconfigured the existing kitchen space which is still on the small side, we needed to be smart with our choices. Luckily for us, when it came to designing the layout, Dan and I aren’t huge chefs (let’s be honest, cooks is a more realistic term for us). We happily selected the Smeg 60cm Victoria Thermoseal Pyrolytic Oven and accompanying cook top. Don’t fear, size certainly hasn’t jeopardise its functionality. It has 16 cooking functions (hmmm, perhaps we’ve used two!) and despite the retro design, it has a massive modern easy-to-use LCD display screen.

In order to give an illusion of greater space, we installed one of Smeg’s integrated dishwashers. This is one of my favourite kaboodle Kitchen hacks, one I’m particularly proud of. We simply connected a base cabinet door to the dishwasher front and hey presto, integration was achieved.

Consistency is key (are you picking up on the theme here!?!). We continued down the retro path with Smeg’s unmistakably vintage design by matching the toaster, kettle and cake mixer. Thanks to Smeg’s stunning Italian design, I now proudly display these normally hidden appliances. They sit proudly on our bench top in front of our divine Perini Zigzag Carrara marble chevron splash back. Talk about a match made in heaven.

By now you’ve all seen our stunning bathroom Sussex Scala gold tap ware. I still pinch myself when I see the beauty we achieved with customising the mixers to incorporate Dulux’s Mornington Half (blush pink) painted finishes. Honestly, how lucky are we? To achieve further continuity in the rest of the house, we also selected gold sink mixers in the kitchen and laundry. Who ever said you can’t have a bit of bling in a laundry? 🙂

In this week’s episode we take you on a tour of Sussex’s manufacturing factory where they make their designer taps locally in Melbourne. Kristy an I were like two kids in a candy store wading our hands through a sea of brass. You’ll also see why norsu and Sussex have become good friends…I’ll never say no to an espresso martini, especially when suffering from reno exhaustion! Cheers.

Furthering my analogy of the little black dress, every outfit needs a little bling to give it a designer edge. Our laundry and kitchen spaces were no different. Committed to pushing the boundaries, I searched madly for something a little different. I excitedly stumbled across new business ABI Interiors and found the perfect brushed brass square under mounted sinks…the metallic bling I was after! I also snapped up some of their gorgeous minimal brushed brass kitchen pull handles, which compliment our moody grey kaboodle cabinetry.

No kitchen is complete without a beautiful bench top. I’ve always been a huge fan of Caesarstone’s engineered stone, its practicality of scratch free and non-porous surfaces cannot be beaten for a family with young kids. Imagine my excitement when they released a new concrete look collection at the EXACT time we were making our selections. Having never renovated with a concrete look before, I seized the opportunity.

Our last kitchen was very minimal and white, for the norsuHOME I wanted something a little moodier. At first I selected Raw Concrete, looking for a sleek industrial look. However once the grey cabinetry was installed I feared my selection would be too dark. I quickly changed to Cloudburst Concrete which has a white on white matte concrete appearance. It’s subtle and sophisticated and I’m relieved to say teams perfectly with our Perini chevron marble splash back. Crisis averted!

We continued the theme in the laundry, using the Cloudburst Concrete here also, and with an ABI Interiors brass sink of course. The only piece of the puzzle missing now was a splash back…and drum roll please…we installed rose marble penny round tiles from Perini. Heaven!!!

Our gorgeous friend Kerrie from HoneyHoney Creations even whipped up a brass, timber and leather drying rack which is suspended from the cupboards. Not only does it look stunning, it’s constantly filled with Dan’s shirts.

I’ve gone from avoiding the laundry at all costs, to finding any excuse to be in there. Our design choices somehow create a sense of calm in a chaotic space, normally filled with muddy shoes and piles of dirty laundry which are all now strategically hidden! Oh and we popped an extra toilet in the laundry, some say this is a design faux pas but down to one bathroom, I never though twice about this decision!

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode…remember it’s the small details that make a HUGE impact…not only to that little black dress but to your homes as well!

Tips & Tricks

This week we sit down with Linda Hannah, Brand Manager from Caesarstone and Olivia Anderson, National Marketing Manager, Smeg Australia to talk all things style and functionality when it comes to benchtops and appliances for every space in your home…

Linda Hannah – Brand Manager, Caesarstone Australia

What’s currently on-trend for kitchen benchtops?
When it comes to choosing the colour and design for your kitchen benchtop, there is no one rule or look to ensure your kitchen is on-trend. Instead, there are several evolving design trends to choose from to create the look and feel that suits you best:

– Timeless Classic – textures and touch are at the core of this timeless trend. Veined marble designs, smooth leathers, wool fabrics and wood veneers speak of this understated luxury. Caesarstone’s marble-inspired designs capture the intricate characteristics of marble veining and are classic and timeless. Such as Calacatta Nuvo with wide, elegant, cascading, grey veins on a white base.

– Calm Luxe – the palette is composed of muted, powdery tones of neutral pastels. Combined with woods that are pale and desaturated, delicately blanched. Caesarstone Pure White, Intense White and Frosty Carrina sit beautifully in this pallete.

– Wild Living – warm finishes add subtle depth and texture to the kitchen, thick natural timbers sleek stones with enhanced natural grains. A palette of warm, natural tones. Shots of fiery orange, deep browns, dark greys and forest greens. Caesarstone Vanilla Noir sits perfectly with a classic black base and light natural veins.

– Urban Industrial – Modern industrial inspired embracing the essence of unique materials and colours such as concrete, cement, oxidized steel and weathered patinas. Embracing the authentic patinas and depth and variation in the designs and colours.

We recently launched our 2018 Design Book – Kitchen Trends, exploring these four key trends in depth. To read more on the four evolving trends, read here.

What makes Caesarstone stand out for buyers?
What makes us truly special is our innovative and superior designs and colour range, such as our Nature Inspired Supernatural collections and our latest Metropolitan Industrial Inspired collection.
Our superior properties, Caesarstone is produced with up to 93% quartz which makes Caesarstone highly durable, stain, scratch and heat resistant and ideal for busy worktops such as the kitchen benchtop.
With Caesarstone you get total peace of mind and we support you with a 10-year limited warranty along with our impeccable customer service. We partner with the customer through our state of the art showrooms, consultations, digital tools such as our online visualizer and providing support along the way from start to finish and beyond!

Where should you skimp and where should you splurge when it comes to a kitchen?
Kitchen bench tops are some of the most used surfaces in any home. As one of the biggest investments you will make, a new kitchen should last a lifetime. Not only should it look amazing, but it also needs to function well and be highly resilient to the constant daily use, and as the old adage says; don’t compromise – “do it once, do it well”.
When you buy a Caesarstone benchtop, you have absolute peace of mind that you’re buying the brand most recognised for its durability in the whole market.
We’ve been manufacturing quartz benchtops for almost 20 years in Australia, longer than any other brand and we’ve proven the test of time.
Other products may look similar; but it is often what you can’t see – the quality of raw materials and the manufacturing technology and know-how that makes the difference as to whether a product will give you years of trouble free service. If you are renovating or building a new home then insist on the Caesarstone® brand. Don’t settle for anything less.

Any budget friendly tips that you can share?
The good news is you can design and build your kitchen to any budget and still include reputable brands along the way.
Whilst we talk about our higher end designs such as the Supernatural collection we also have beautiful classic designs that may fit more within your budget such as our newly released Intense White – our whitest of whites that brings fresh brightness to interiors and is universally complimentary with many materials and surfaces.
As a little tip….I would say optimisation! Optimising your slabs, matching colours in different applications throughout the home can result in less wastage and cost efficiency in utilising offcuts. Matching kitchens to splashbacks, butler’s pantry’s, bathrooms and laundries to name a few.
Talk to your designer or fabricator to make sure that you are making the most of your benchtop material that you are purchasing, or it could be a simple as reducing an island slightly to save running into an additional slab for the sake of a few centimetres here or there!

Lastly, how do you recommend that we care for our Caesarstone surfaces?
Caesarstone surfaces require very little maintenance to keep them looking like new. For every day, routine cleaning of Caesarstone we recommend wiping the surface with warm soapy water (a mild detergent) and a clean damp cloth or use our convenient Caesarstone Cleaning Wipes or Caesarstone Spray Cleaner.
A little tip! Do not use the cloth you use to wash the dishes, as it may transfer oils and other contaminants to the Caesarstone surface.

Olivia Anderson – National Marketing Manager, Smeg Australia

When selecting appliances for the home, what are your top tips for incorporating both design and functionality into your choices?
The first thing to consider is how you cook – both every day and when you entertain. Also, how many are in your family? Will this change in the future? With cooking appliances there are many choices; oven sizes vary – 60cm, 70cm or 90cm as well as the cooktop – gas or induction? For versatility and added cooking prowess, consider adding a steam, combi-steam or speed compact oven.
Appliances are also a key part of the overall design aesthetic. Besides the practical considerations, appliances also influence the design and style of the space. Smeg prides itself on offering an extensive selection of appliances across its Classic, Linear, Victoria and the soon-to-be launched Dolce Stil Novo collections, each exuding their own design aesthetic.

Premium quality appliances with superior technology will add style as well as provide professional results. Smeg is renowned for its premium appliances that guarantee an amazing cooking experience from start to finish with intuitive controls and superb results – you can taste the difference! The science behind the results is Thermoseal, Smeg’s revolutionary technology – great-tasting professional results and a cooler, cleaner kitchen.

What are your top tips on selecting appliances for a small space?
Your oven should stand the test of time, both in construction and design style. So choose an oven that reflects your personality and works seamlessly within your space. By installing a compact oven with a standard oven, you increase functionality in one streamlined, easily accessible appliance bank. Multiple cooking requirements are therefore covered in the one zone.
I’d recommend maximising your kitchen space by adding an induction cooktop which seamlessly integrates into your benchtop. A concealed rangehood provides premium performance as well as slides away for a cleaner look.
Rather than displaying a myriad of small appliances for food preparation, consider investing in an all-in-one, like Smeg’s stand mixer, that will have you covered for homemade bread and baking as well as handy attachments to take care of pasta rolling and cutting, mincing, slicing, grating and shredding. A stylish and functional kitchen workhorse like this provides the space with an element of design and personality; whilst being used every-day.

At what point in the building/reno process should you aim to select and purchase your appliances?
Your appliance selection should be the first step! A dishwasher height may determine the height of your benchtop, your choice of fridge may determine the depth of your cupboards, and the position of the oven and rangehood will need to be planned in concert with the overall design and your options for ducting.
Once an aesthetic is selected and designs finalised, to prevent unnecessary delays, try to select and organise your finishes, fixtures and fittings ahead of the building schedule to allow sufficient lead-time for any custom joinery and specific materials, such as benchtops, tapware, flooring or tiles, which may need to be specially ordered.

What are some key considerations when designing your laundry space?
Ventilation space and storage requirements should be a priority as should selection of quality appliances to suit your needs. Fabrics from the most delicate silks, to the heaviest duty blankets can be washed and dried to perfection in water and energy – efficient washers and dryers. Smeg’s Sensor controlled dryer with soft drum pattern affords better protection of clothes and the auto anti-creasing system delivers crease-free ready to go clothing to significantly reduce ironing time. By utilising multifunction appliances, you can maximise the space you have.