Why It Works: A Killer Combo Kitchen-Dining Room in Australia — Why It Works

I think you might be hard-pressed to find a fellow design lover who isn’t smitten with this enchanting home. (I know I oo’ed and awed over practically every space!) Dreamed up by its owner, Aussie designer Margaret Scholley of Alida & Miller, this home epitomizes playfulness, whimsy and downright fearless design. Let’s turn our attention toward that unbelievable kitchen and dining room to break down all the reasons it’s worthy of our further praise…

Benches on both side of the table?! Definitely!

Upon first glance of the approachable chic dining room, I was struck by Scholley’s use of benches in a style that’s typically reserved for the end of a bed in lieu of traditional backed chairs. So clever! Benches allow for much more seating and their low profile doesn’t obstruct any sight lines in the space, really allowing that fabulous artwork to be the star of the space. And, the wooden stools at the head of the table are perfection—I never would have dreamed of making those head chairs, but their simplicity is just what the space called for. They can also be found around the complementary farm table in the kitchen, weaving a connective thread through both spaces.

Casual and formal dining all in one (with plenty of room for entertaining!)

What I find most interesting about these two adjacent spaces are the dueling elements that on the surface might seem contradictory, but when applied are pure magic! Case in point: Who would ever think of placing two slightly different farm tables within arms-length of each other? One might naturally conclude the end result to be far too matchy-matchy or redundant, but in this case it creates plenty of places to perch and ample room for entertaining options, while still maintaining distinct style identities. In fact, I would now argue that the farm tables tie the spaces together while respectively embracing their opposing floors.

Kitchen table or island? Doesn’t really matter.

I love how the kitchen boldly makes up its own rules and strays from any hint of traditional kitchen behavior. That point is made evident by the conscious choice to steer clear of a typical island and opt for a rustic farm table instead. This gives the room a dose of earthy confidence, providing a fixed focal point amidst the eye-catching tiled walls and floor.

There’s great balance and proportion.

Admittedly, this is quite a large space, made even loftier with those vaulted ceilings, so there’s a ton of volume to fill here. Oversized pendants in the kitchen and artwork in the dining room balances all that space in a way that feels just right.

Apparently, statement walls can also extend into statement floors.

We can’t possibly admire these spaces without gushing over those to-die-for encaustic tiles (from Byron Bay Tile Merchant) that are clearly not just reserved for accent walls—no sir—these babies are covering the entire kitchen floor because, well, they should! What’s interesting is that although the tile is certainly a stunner and by all means a pretty pronounced design choice, it doesn’t overpower the space as a whole. Rather, it accentuates that gorgeous vintage-looking range and matte black hood (also want and need in life!!) and then acts as a pleasant foil to the chunky wood farm table and navy lacquered cabinetry—almost becoming the neutral in the space. All in all, it’s some pretty divine design going on!

For more of Margaret’s breathtaking Australia home, check out the full house tour & shopping resources here:

A Designer’s Own Colorfully Moody Australian Abode

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