Anchored by the Aussie bush, the aptly named Australian Staycation is a new build from Three Birds Renovations featuring relaxed coastal vibes, with luxe resort-style moments.

Home to Three Birds Designer Louisa, her husband and their two boys, this property in Sydney’s North-West, is an entertaining family’s paradise. Here, The Three Birds team, using House 13 as their inspiration, share their tips for turning a closed-off cooking space into something more inviting – and usable.

open plan kitchen

1. Island kitchen bench

Unanimously their favourite feature in the home design is the island bench, truly the heart of this kitchen – where family and friends congregate to cook, eat, drink and chat.

“The island bench in this kitchen is like none we’ve ever created before. Louisa had always wanted a central kitchen island with the cooktop incorporated so that the family can stand around and cook together rather than the chef facing the wall with their back to the family,” they say.

The team chose the 90cm FlexiBridge Induction Cooktop (EHI997BD) for a seamless look and its safety features, like no flames or hot elements, “making it safer for little helpers.” Meanwhile, the super-chunky island look is created with using gorgeous engineered stone and features two tiers to separate the cooking zone from the dining zone. “We like to ensure there’s plenty of space to move around the island so that people can come and go and flow from inside to out.”


2. Choose child and entertaining-friendly options

While the child safe appliances are one thing to consider, making an open plan kitchen truly kid-friendly means allowing multiple sitting zones. “Lots of places to sit for different activities are important. In this house, there’s the low, dining area of the island benchtop where they can sit and eat or draw while they watch their parents in the kitchen.” Apart from the induction cooktop they also recommend integrating your dishwasher “without any tempting buttons to press” and building the oven into the cabinetry “to add to the kid friendly design.”

As for entertaining friendly, it’s the layout that sets a kitchen apart. For a functional entertainer’s island bench they recommend ensuring all appliances are the right size and quality for the space, while making sure “you’ve left enough space between the island benches for easy movement throughout the kitchen – at least 1200mm is ideal.”


3. Consider a butler’s pantry

Having the dual purpose of easing entertaining by having a separate preparation space, plus area to clear dishes to, the butler’s pantry is the ultimate transitional space.

“In House 13, the butler’s pantry is close by to hide the dirty dishes and house the wine cabinet so the drinks will never run dry.”

4. Know the difference between renovating versus a new build

Like House 13, building from the ground up usually means a blank canvas, rather than having to work around constraints of an existing home.

“In the case of House 13, it meant that we could create the dream open plan floor plan with the entertainer’s kitchen opening directly onto the outdoor entertaining area, and alongside the open plan dining and living areas.”

When renovating, this isn’t always possible due to the existing space. “The one thing to consider is the potential costs of relocating plumbing and extending the footprint if choosing to make major changes.”


Best appliances in an open-plan design, according to Three Birds:



  • MaxiZone
  • FlexZone
  • Hob2Hood technology
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