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The judges have spoken. Learn how the winnersof the National HIA Kitchen & Bathroom Awardspromote the quest for design excellence

Prize concepts


If you find it hard to keep up with the most recent developments in kitchen design, then you're not alone.

However, every year, at the HIA Australian Kitchen & Bathroom Awards, the public gets a chance to see the designs that have been recognised as leading the way in terms of excellence of design.

At the most recent awards, Kim Duffin, from Queensland's Sublime Cabinet Design, was named Australian Kitchen Designer of the Year 2006. His winning design combines timber, stone, glass and metal finishes with a far-from-ordinary lilac and purple colour scheme.

"I try to do things differently – especially with colour," says Duffin. "I like to combine complementary colours, as well as light and dark shades of one hue."

The award-winning design includes a sinuous, blue gum-topped island. Work spaces are clearly delineated, with separate zones for food preparation and cleaning.


Acknowledging the designer's experience as a cabinetmaker, the island front is fitted with neat glass shelves, and lit by built-in downlights. Checker-plate patterned stainless steel, which was custom-fitted over large piping to create columns, and reconstituted stone are other feature materials.

Behind the island, aluminium-framed glass doors fitted with frosted glass add to the contemporary aesthetic and reflect light back into the kitchen. Under the counter, functional storage solutions – drawers rather than cupboards – keep the design uncluttered and organised.

"Functionality always comes first when I approach a design," says Duffin.

"Everyone uses a kitchen differently, so for me, it's about listening, and finding out how the kitchen needs to work. The other focus is on ensuring all finishes combine harmoniously, and that the kitchen is in step with the rest of the house."

The second featured kitchen, winner of the Australian Kitchen Project of the Year 2006, was designed by Nouvelle Designer Kitchens, from New South Wales. The company was commissioned to completely overhaul the kitchen, which is located on the fourth floor of a beachside apartment. The light, airy design opens up the space with a curved servery and breakfast bar.

The contemporary mix of subtle surface finishes includes cream-white gloss cabinetry, and a warm-toned benchtop. A vivid blue splashback and a red-orange panel on the front of the breakfast bar are visual highlights.

For further details, contact HIA Kitchens & Bathrooms, phone 1300 783 345 Email:, or visit the website:

First published date: 23 February 2007

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