Six handy tips for a kitchen renovation in a strata property

Six handy tips for a kitchen renovation in a strata property

Here’s how to modernise your kitchen and increase its spaciousness, functionality and storage solutions through just one well-planned kitchen renovation — while ensuring it is strata compliant

Often referred to as the “heart of the home”, the kitchen is among the most frequently-used rooms in a strata property. This is why a kitchen renovation in a strata property should never be taken lightly.

Realistically, a well-built kitchen will only need to be renovated about once every twenty years or so (though you may need to replace some appliances in between renovations). Knowing this, it’s important to think smart when renovating. Before you get started, we recommend considering how you can influence the room’s spaciousness and flow, and planning which storage features you can integrate through a kitchen renovation.

Firstly, make a list of things you currently don’t like about your kitchen and work with a kitchen design professional to find solutions to each problem during the design phase.

Don’t forget, it is crucial to obtain strata committee approval before starting your kitchen renovation. Your project may be classified as a minor renovation depending on the scope of works you are planning, and you may need a by-law or building rule passed before your kitchen renovation is underway. If so, you should approach a strata lawyer such as Kemps Petersons Legal to ensure the new by-laws or building rules are watertight. The by-laws or building rules will likely cover the following:

  • The days and time periods during which the renovation works can be conducted
  • The level of responsibility the lot owner has in covering damage to common property or other lots.

When living in a strata property, it’s important to ensure your kitchen renovation is compliant with state laws and by-laws or building rule, and doesn’t inconvenience your neighbours. Here are a few things you should consider:

  • Ensure noise resulting from your renovation only occurs during agreed hours. As a rule of thumb, make sure there is no noise before 8 am and after 5 pm
  • If the tradespeople need to use your strata property’s lift to transport goods or wastes in and out of the building, ensure this is done in a way that does not damage the lift or inconvenience others living in the building
  • Ensure your strata property and your lot are compliant with health and safety regulations. Providing your renovation workers with safe working conditions is paramount
  • Ensure health and safety regulations are being upheld by tradespeople working on the renovation
  • Make sure all workers have appropriate trade licenses as well as public liability insurance.

Are you thinking of commencing a kitchen renovation in your strata property? Here are some ideas to consider that may add value to your property while improving its liveability and look:

  1. Create an open plan kitchen
  2. Rethink your dining space
  3. Improve your kitchen’s layout and flow
  4. Use glass and mirrors for the illusion of a larger space
  5. Be strategic when choosing your colour pallet and surfaces
  6. Integrate clever storage
 
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1. Create an open plan kitchen

If your kitchen renovation is in an older strata property, your kitchen may be enclosed within four walls. While this has its benefits, it does mean the person preparing meals is isolated from the rest of the home and everyone in it.

If you are planning a kitchen renovation in your strata property and your kitchen is located near living or dining spaces, it is worth considering knocking down an internal wall or two to open the kitchen up to adjoining spaces to make your kitchen seem larger and to receive more natural light. It may also allow the person cooking meals to easily interact with others in the adjoining areas while in the kitchen.

Remember, you will likely need to obtain the permission of your strata committee before knocking down any walls, as this may be considered a major renovation. You may also need to have a by-law or building rule created before commencing your kitchen renovation.

We recommend consulting with professionals such as structural engineers and kitchen designers before finalising your plans, to make sure your strata property has the scope for this task and that the walls you intended on knocking down are not load-bearing walls.

 
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2. Rethink your dining space

If the kitchen renovation in your strata property involves an open plan kitchen, this clever hack may help you get rid of your dining table altogether.

If you have an extra-long or wide kitchen space, or you’ve knocked down some internal walls to create one, you may be able to integrate a breakfast bar into your new or existing benchtop to allow for seated dining. Another option could also be to build in a cantilever (i.e.floating) benchtop, which may eliminate the need for a dining table.

Space is at a premium when it comes to apartment living, so by getting rid of an unnecessary dining table, you could use this newfound extra space as an extension to the living room, a study nook or even a home office space.

 
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3. Improve your kitchen’s layout and flow

When considering a kitchen renovation in a strata property, approach it by thinking of your kitchen as a workspace.

Is the placement of each fitting, fixture and appliance optimised for efficiency and ease of use? Can you move your dishes from the sink to the dishwasher easily? Is there plenty of prep space near the stove to cut your veggies and pop them straight in the wok for a quick weeknight stir-fry? Is your fridge within easy reach of the dedicated food prep space?

We recommend considering the following before starting your kitchen renovation:

  • If you’re one of the lucky few with a view, change the orientation of your kitchen to face the view so that you can make the most of it while cooking meals
  • Place your sink, stove and refrigerator in a way that forms a triangle, with 1.2m to 2.9m between each item, for optimal efficiency and flow. This concept is referred to as the “working triangle” in the kitchen design world
  • Place your fridge near your pantry cupboard or food storage areas so that you can place your grocery bags between the two areas and unpack them easily
  • Consider foot traffic when deciding on the placement of your cabinetry, appliances and benchtop. Having more than one way to enter or exit your kitchen is ideal
  • Place your dishwasher near the sink. Not only will this make installing the dishwasher and configuring the plumbing easier, but it will also mean dishes can be rinsed and placed straight in the dishwasher without dripping water all over the kitchen floor
  • Set up dedicated stations or zones for food prep, cooking and food storage
  • Create storage for utensils and accessories such as cutting boards and dishes within the zones in which they will be used.
 
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4. Use glass and mirrors for the illusion of a larger space

It is no secret that glass and mirrored surfaces can create the illusion of a bigger, airier space, no matter how small a space is. Thankfully, there are many opportunities for you to integrate mirrors and glass surface when embarking on a kitchen renovation in a strata property. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • A glass or mirrored splashback. If you do not like the look of regular mirrored surfaces, opt for a smoked mirror splashback for a touch of chic
  • Glass cabinetry doors
  • Large decorative mirrors on walls
  • Bi-fold glass windows and doors that open to an adjoining living area to create an open-plan space.
 
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5. Be strategic when choosing your colour palette and surfaces

Having too many colours, textures and patterns appear in one room may make the space seem cluttered, disorganised and smaller than it really is. We recommend a minimalistic colour palette when embarking on a kitchen renovation in a strata property.

Whites and creamy hues tend to be timeless and appealing and work well with most benchtop surfaces and fixtures. If you feel more adventurous when planning your kitchen renovation, you may opt to use a bright or bold colour used in the rest of your home to create a sense of flow between spaces.

If you are integrating timber or timber-look surfaces or flooring, don’t forget to make the most of the wood grain patterns. Horizontal grain can give the impression of a more expansive space, whereas vertical woodgrain can elongate height. Don’t forget, your strata scheme may have a preference for acoustic underlays and flooring products, which you may need to adhere to.

 

6. Integrate clever storage

While planning a kitchen renovation in a strata property may present opportunities, the most exciting is perhaps the chance to work in storage solutions that would even make Marie Kondo beam with joy.

It is more challenging to add extra storage once the kitchen renovation has commenced, so your kitchen renovation plan must accommodate your storage needs.

Here are a few of our recommendations. Choosing some of your favourites may go a long way in improving your kitchen’s storage situation:

  • Plentiful overhead cabinetry
  • Some floating overhead shelves for items like souvenirs, homewares and cookbooks that you would like out on display
  • If you like a crisp glass of wine after a long day, consider integrating a wine fridge
  • A pull-out pantry or bin hidden away within cabinetry
  • Slots for your cutting boards under the benchtop
  • Drawers within your kitchen island for extra storage
  • Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry along one wall
  • Integrated appliances (such are refrigerators, microwaves and dishwashers) that are hidden within cabinetry for an extra-sleek look

Don’t forget, it is crucial to obtain strata committee approval before starting your kitchen renovation. Your project may be classified as a major renovation or minor renovation depending on the scope of works you are planning, and you may need a by-law or building rule passed before your kitchen renovation is underway.

When it comes to caring for and protecting your strata property, our facilities management team at BFMS are the experts for the job.  Known for their professionalism and personal service, our team offers everything from expert full and part-time building management to a range of other related repairs, maintenance, and management services.  You can also download our FREE Community Living guide series on defects by clicking here. Or for a consultation to review your current by-laws, our Kemps Petersons Legal team can assist –  click here.


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