The 2024 must-haves for every kitchen
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The 2024 must-haves for every kitchen

As every real estate agent knows, kitchens sell houses. Set yourself up for success with designs for every space

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Jan 5, 2023 9:42amGrey Clock 5 min

As a new year kicks off and summer holidays stretch out before you, it’s the perfect time to reassess your home, your property and your investments. Whether it’s time to sell or renovate, putting a kitchen renovation at the top of your to-do list for 2023 will set you up for a successful year. There’s no better time than now to start planning for a spring sale or summer entertaining so that, no matter the size of your space, you can have a beautiful, hardworking kitchen. Check out these three Sydney kitchen case studies in large, medium and small.

Large kitchen: The drinks are on us

By the time award-winning kitchen design duo Darren Genner and Simona Castagna from Minosa started working on this generously proportioned kitchen, their clients already had a pretty firm idea of what they wanted.

Overlooking the Bay Run in Sydney’s inner west, the property had already been partially renovated in a palette of steel blue and soft grey, setting the palette for the kitchen colours. 

“They wanted something really beautiful and the kitchen had to reflect what we had already done in the parents’ retreat, which was a contemporary feel with a bit of colour,” says Genner.

Part of a larger open plan living area, the original kitchen was characterised by a walk-in pantry and corridor, which shut down the floorplan and did not serve the owners’ needs given cooking wasn’t necessarily the highest priority.

“They are not really big cooks, they prefer to order in,” says Genner. “So the kitchen becomes more furniture-like.”

Streamlined joinery and integrated appliances ensure the kitchen naturally feels a part of the living area. Curved edges on the central island bench ensure easy circulation and straightforward access to the Vintec wine fridge, as well as a concealed bar for the owners’ gin collection.

“We call it hidden bling,” says Castagna. “They are really unassuming people who appreciate the finer things but they don’t like to show off. 

“We’ve worked with them before and every time we do a renovation, they go away and leave us to it.”

The kitchen was completed over a 10-week period. Joinery is finished in dark stain American oak while the splashback is polished concrete render. For the island benchtop, Genner and Castagna specified Laminam, a hi tech porcelain product ideal for areas where large, hardwearing slabs are required. The project was highly detailed to achieve such a clean, streamlined look. 

“There’s a lot of little detail,” says Genner.

Medium kitchen: The spice of life

Kitchens are hardworking spaces but it’s important that they say something about the people who live there. Interior designer Monique Sartor from Sartorial Interiors was keen to lean into the owners’ Sri Lankan heritage and their love of cooking to create this contemporary open plan space packed with storage at their home in Maroubra.

“The brief was ‘modern Sri Lankan’,” Sartor says. “The old kitchen was U-shaped and did not relate to the living room. It was cluttered and they felt it was dated but they still needed lots of storage.”

Sartor opened the space up, replacing the U-shape design with floor-to-ceiling joinery and a spacious central island bench with waterfall edge overlooking the dining area. Integrated appliances, including a French door fridge enhance the sense of continuity between the kitchen and living spaces. 

“Everything is integrated,” she says. “The dishwasher is under the island bench, and the cooktop is all induction except for one gas burner so that they can keep doing wok cooking. Appliances are not particularly attractive so the less you can see, the better.” 

Instead, attention is on surfaces, which have been selected for their natural look and feel.

“The kitchen is finished in Laminex Rural Oak. It needed to have that hand worked feel to it to give it some texture and warmth,” she says. “For the benchtops, Smartstone is so beautiful. This one had been discontinued and we tracked down the last five slabs.”

Key to the success of this space, however, is something that serves no practical function but brings the clients joy. Sartor chose a custom designed mural-style wallpaper from Kingdom Home to run the full length of the dining space.

“As a plain wall, it had no personality and it didn’t help to bring any interest into the space,” she says. “You want something that will reflect their story, and their heritage. It’s a vintage etching but it’s also very contemporary, especially with the design of the kitchen.”

Small kitchen: Making every centimetre count

Pictures: Jacqui Turk

If  large kitchens require an abundance of materials, small kitchens insist on an abundance of planning. The owner of this kitchen in the inner Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst loves to entertain but with just a narrow galley space to work with, design director at Bondi Kitchens, Charlotte Riggs, had her work cut out to pack everything in.

Fortunately, Riggs understood the space almost immediately.

“When I walked in I knew how the kitchen had to be configured,” she says. “It’s very narrow with a small nib wall, which was the perfect spot for a full height pantry. The most practical pantries are shallow because you don’t lose anything.”

Because it is separate from the dining room, which is on another level, Riggs says the kitchen needed to be a pleasure for the owner to work in, just on her own.

“There’s a little terrace just outside so when it gets warmer, she can eat outside,” she says. “But there’s things like a sink near the window and a fridge to the far right and a bi-fold nook next to the pantry for the kettle and toaster. 

“It’s very practical and logical as a layout.”

Given its location in the heart of the city, the owner was keen to create a sophisticated ambience in the kitchen. All appliances such as the fridge, rangehood and microwave are either hidden or integrated for a clean look. Riggs opted for navy cabinetry in a Shaker profile with classic cup door pulls in brass – the kitchen equivalent of a tailored suit with brass buttons.

“It’s all in the little details,” she says. “All the drawers and panels are 35mm thick for that extra deep Shaker cut out.”

Underbench strip lighting ensures that the benchtops are well lit when the kitchen is in use as a workstation while wall sconces provide optional mood lighting for later in the evening.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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New York Watch Auctions Record Uptick in Sales in the Face of Market Slowdown
Mon, Jun 24, 2024 4 min

Luxury watch collectors showed ongoing strong demand for Patek Philippe, growing interest in modern watches and a preference for larger case sizes and leather straps at the June watch sales in New York, according to an analysis of the major auctions.

Independent and neo-vintage categories, meanwhile, experienced declines in total sales and average prices, said the report from  EveryWatch, a global online platform for watch information. Overall, the New York auctions achieved total sales of US$52.27 million, a 9.87% increase from the previous year, on the sale of 470 lots, reflecting a 37% increase in volume. Unsold rates ticked down a few points to 5.31%, according to the platform’s analysis.

EveryWatch gathered data from official auction results for sales held in New York from June 5 to 10 at Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s. Limited to watch sales exclusively, each auction’s data was reviewed and compiled for several categories, including total lots, sales and sold rates, highest prices achieved, performance against estimates, sales trends in case materials and sizes as well as dial colors, and more. The resulting analysis provides a detailed overview of market trends and performance.

The Charles Frodsham Pocket watch sold at Phillips for $433,400.

“We still see a strong thirst for rare, interesting, and exceptional watches, modern and vintage alike, despite a little slow down in the market overall,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based pre-owned online watch dealer, in an email. “The results show that there is still a lot of money floating around out there in the economy looking for quality assets.”

Patek Philippe came out on top with more than US$17.68 million on the sale of 122 lots. It also claimed the top lot: Sylvester Stallone’s Patek Philippe GrandMaster Chime 6300G-010, still in the sealed factory packaging, which sold at Sotheby’s for US$5.4 million, much to the dismay of the brand’s president, Thierry Stern . The London-based industry news website WatchPro estimates the flip made the actor as much as US$2 million in just a few years.

At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire
Richard Mille

“As we have seen before and again in the recent Sotheby’s sale, provenance can really drive prices higher than market value with regards to the Sylvester Stallone Panerai watches and his standard Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1a offered,” Altieri says.

Patek Philippe claimed half of the top 10 lots, while Rolex and Richard Mille claimed two each, and Philippe Dufour claimed the No. 3 slot with a 1999 Duality, which sold at Phillips for about US$2.1 million.

“In-line with EveryWatch’s observation of the market’s strong preference for strap watches, the top lot of our auction was a Philippe Dufour Duality,” says Paul Boutros, Phillips’ deputy chairman and head of watches, Americas, in an email. “The only known example with two dials and hand sets, and presented on a leather strap, it achieved a result of over US$2 million—well above its high estimate of US$1.6 million.”

In all, four watches surpassed the US$1 million mark, down from seven in 2023. At Christie’s, the top lot was a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM56-02 AO Tourbillon Sapphire, the most expensive watch sold at Christie’s in New York. That sale also saw a Richard Mille Limited Edition RM52-01 CA-FQ Tourbillon Skull Model go for US$1.26 million to an online buyer.

Rolex expert Altieri was surprised one of the brand’s timepieces did not crack the US$1 million threshold but notes that a rare Rolex Daytona 6239 in yellow gold with a “Paul Newman John Player Special” dial came close at US$952,500 in the Phillips sale.

The Crown did rank second in terms of brand clout, achieving sales of US$8.95 million with 110 lots. However, both Patek Philippe and Rolex experienced a sales decline by 8.55% and 2.46%, respectively. The independent brand Richard Mille, with US$6.71 million in sales, marked a 912% increase from the previous year with 15 lots, up from 5 lots in 2023.

The results underscored recent reports of prices falling on the secondary market for specific coveted models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. The summary points out that five top models produced high sales but with a fall in average prices.

The Rolex Daytona topped the list with 42 appearances, averaging US$132,053, a 41% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, with two of the top five watches, made 26 appearances with an average price of US$111,198, a 26% average price decrease. Patek Philippe’s Perpetual Calendar followed with 23 appearances and a US$231,877 average price, signifying a fall of 43%, and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak had 22 appearances and an average price of US$105,673, a 10% decrease. The Rolex Day Date is the only watch in the top five that tracks an increase in average price, which at US$72,459 clocked a 92% increase over last year.

In terms of categories, modern watches (2005 and newer) led the market with US$30 million in total sales from 226 lots, representing a 53.54% increase in sales and a 3.78% increase in average sales price over 2023. Vintage watches (pre-1985) logged a modest 6.22% increase in total sales and an 89.89% increase in total lots to 169.

However, the average price was down across vintage, independent, and neo-vintage (1990-2005) watches. Independent brands saw sales fall 24.10% to US$8.47 million and average prices falling 42.17%, while neo-vintage watches experienced the largest decline in sales and lots, with total sales falling 44.7% to US$8.25 million, and average sales price falling 35.73% to US$111,000.


This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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