3 Lessons to Steal from This Black-and-White, Modern Farmhouse Kitchen in Australia

published Jul 19, 2022
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Kitchen with black, white, and wood color scheme

Years ago, artist Polla Posavec decided to flee the suburbs in Australia and head to seven-and-a-half acres of what she describes as “bush” in Chittering, Western Australia. “The house is a single-story brick farmhouse surrounded by verandahs and gum trees,” explains Posavec, who also lives with a cockatoo, a Labradoodle, and a few hopping kangaroos visiting the property. “It is not that old (2001), but both the house and grounds were very plain, gently disheveled, and fairly neglected. So began our project changing every last inch of our home.”

Of course, Posavec and her husband, Dan, renovated the kitchen, doing all of the work themselves. “We have painted, tiled, plastered, ripped down, built up, laid concrete, built walls. You name it, we’ve had a go,” she says of the remodel.

We took the tour of Posavec’s 1,615-square-foot farmhouse and found three lessons worth learning. Come with us, and see this family’s kitchen for yourself!

1. Experiment with colors and patterns you really love.

Walk through Posavec’s kitchen, and you can’t miss the eye-grabbing, black-and-white tile backsplash. As a watercolor painter, Posavec wasn’t afraid to experiment with bold choices. “If you are not planning to sell your house in the near future, don’t be afraid to make it your home with colors and finishes that speak to you, rather than follow trends blindly,” she says. “That creates too much waste.”

Her tip? Just keep a consistent palette and style, taking care to visually balance your space. “Take your time, and have patience in selecting,” she suggests. We love how Posavec has selected pops of red in her cookware, kettle, and even her dish towel to play off the mostly black-and-white palette.

2. Organize your kitchen so that everything has a home.

We were totally impressed with Posavec’s perfectly organized pantry. Just look at it. Everything in the pantry has its place, including her small appliances stored on the bottom shelves, canned goods stacked on one side, condiments housed in plastic bins, and plenty of modular containers (marked with handwritten labels!) filled with dry goods. While the pantry is fairly big, don’t let that stop you: You can easily apply the same organized zones to any-sized kitchen.

3. Keep an open mind when furniture shopping.

Posavec says she and her family worked with a small budget and like to recycle, so they often turned to secondhand gems when it came to renovating. “Our most recent find was a pair of timber doors on Facebook Marketplace, which we converted into barn doors that divide our living and dining space,” she explains. The repurposed doors, which slip into pockets, showcase glass panels with wrens. Coincidentally, they happen to be Posavec’s favorite birds living on her property. “It was perfectly serendipitous,” she says.

It just goes to show you never know what you’ll find secondhand — whether it’s on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, thrift stores, or estate sales. With a little work, it’s possible to turn a worn table, bookshelf, chair, or, in Posavec’s case, doors, into a gorgeous, refinished masterpiece — at half the cost of newly built furniture. Be sure to look for pieces made from solid wood, which have more refinishing potential because they can be painted and stained. Check also for signs of peeling veneer to uncover whether or not the wood is actually solid.

Does this DIY farmhouse kitchen inspire you? Tell us in the comments below.