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Heart and Soul of Living | Mal Corboy Blog

Home / Heart and Soul of Living | Mal Corboy Blog

heart and soul of living

Blurred lines between practical and fun




Growing up in Perth in the 60’s I remember Grandmother being locked away preparing a family meal in a small added lean-to at the back of the house. Years later I wonder how on earth she produced such fantastic meals in a room that wasn’t fit for purpose, and quite frankly horribly depressing. My Mum and Dad on the other hand were quite the forward thinkers,when in 1969 they purchased one of the first open plan homes. It had a U-Shaped kitchen that over looked the dinning and lounge areas and although still a bit depressing, Jarrah timber and Hessian look Formica beauty (which was later changed to a Pastel pink), she too use to produce outstanding meals. That room was the heart of our home….I’m now craving deep fried camembert. Fast forward to today and that is true more than ever before, open plan has become almost a must have with the kitchen being the focal point. As I only have a finite amount of words I can use, here is some sage advice I offer my clients’.

How do you use the space?

Two questions I always ask my clients are; who will be using the space, and how will they be using it? For example, you might be an avid baker or perhaps you’re a more mature person, well in both of these scenarios I would be more inclined to try and put in a wall oven. That way you’re not bending down to remove hot dishes from the oven. You should go through a very thorough design brief with your designer that leaves no stone unturned.

Big entertainers?

Then we will need to have ample bench space for prep and plating up dishes, plus you will need excellent storage for platters and alike. If you have room why not have a scullery? Perfect place to prep and hide the mess from the guests.



It’s extremely important to have task lighting in all your work areas, but also ambient lighting. This will take your kitchen from looking great during the day to WOW at night, if done correctly. LED lighting around the toe kicks are also great to leave on at night, they provide enough light that you can see your way to get a glass of water in the middle of the night. Big thing though, if you have a feature light make sure it is, or they are proportionate to the size of the kitchen, nothing worse than an oversized light that dominates a small area or even the other way around. If you’re unsure and don’t have a kitchen designer working with you, a good option is to pop into a reputable lighting store to ask for a lighting plan, there may a fee however it will be well worth it.


Afraid of colour?

I hear this a lot. Don’t be, if done correctly it will add enormous value to your home. Now I’m not saying have over-the-top colour as that’s not for everyone, however you can introduce colour into certain areas, for example back wall cabinets which can be toned down with what is used on the island and bench tops. If you are really afraid of colour why not bring texture into the room. There are so many products that have stunning texture. Quite a few of my clients’ are using both and I’m getting amazing results.

Don’t listen to others!

I’ve heard it a million times “I’ve shown my friend, mother, cousin, neighbour, the plumber, the tiler, some random in the street and they don’t think I should have that colour, layout or appliance” Everyone has an opinion on how to spend your money… it’s not their kitchen. If they want to have something different, they can have a totally different design in their home. This is your space, you have what you want. I’ve never had a client unhappy with the result after I’ve worked with them.

Have fun with it, and enjoy.