Kitchen feature image

Slim shaker cabinets and marble mosaic splashback kitchen renovation

We’ve just wrapped up our latest kitchen renovation project and this one was extra special as it was for my mother-in-law. It’s not often you get a ‘client’ who pretty much gives you free rein to do whatever you want. My only brief was for it to be white.

This kitchen came up a treat — even if I do say so myself! — and I’m delighted to take you on a tour. Featuring slim shaker cabinets and that gorgeous marble splashback, let me share all the details of this kitchen renovation with you.

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Kitchen before renovation
Kitchen before
Kitchen feature image
Kitchen after

New layout

One of the first things you may notice is that I changed the layout from a single wall to an L-shaped kitchen.

This was to resolve a few issues with her previous kitchen design by:

  • offering her some much-needed bench space for preparation (you’ll see there’s almost none before)
  • giving her a pantry! She had been storing food in the cupboards of her laundry so it was time to give this kitchen a proper pantry, and
  • hiding that unsightly diagonal bulkhead.

The kitchen now has plenty of bench space and a large corner pantry, which neatly hides that bulkhead issue.

Despite the larger footprint of the kitchen, this room feels larger and more spacious.

Side view of kitchen renovation

Kitchen cabinets 

Now let’s talk finishes, starting with the kitchen joinery. Overall, the vision for this kitchen was to be timeless and a little bit luxe. My mother-in-law doesn’t intend to renovate it again so the aesthetic and materials needed to offer longevity.

For the door fronts, I selected a new slim shaker door profile. It’s called ‘Sussex’ by Polytec and I love how it’s a modern and less ‘in your face’ take on the traditional shaker door. It ticks the brief of a white kitchen but the subtle texture gives the room more interest. I really love this door profile, which I could see working well in a range of kitchen styles from traditional to contemporary.

You can get these doors vinyl wrapped but we spent a little extra to get the doors painted. Polyurethane paint offers better durability and is less likely to discolour in sunlight. The colour is ‘Snowy Mountains’ by Dulux in a satin finish. It’s a lovely soft warm white.


One of the most prominent finishes in this space is the splashback. Called ‘Olivetti’ from Tile Republic, it’s a marble mosaic tile with plenty of gorgeous natural variation. It’s available in a range of natural stones, including calacatta and travertine. But I fell in love with the super white marble and knew my mother-in-law would too!

For me, the splashback steals the show in this kitchen and gives the space depth and those luxe vibes.

Kitchen vignette


As the splashback is the feature, I wanted a neutral benchtop that would complement. Nothing with a vein that would clash with the natural stone but it also couldn’t be too stark. I opted for ‘Organic white’ by Caesarstone as it has subtle mottling (a pattern that works well with natural stone) and a warm white/soft grey tone that complements the other finishes.

Floor tile

Similarly with the floor tile I was looking for one that would tie in with the tones of the kitchen. My mother-in-law loves terrazzo but as we tiling over an existing floor, we couldn’t go thicker than a standard 9mm tile. We brought many terrazzo-look tile samples to her house but they were all either too busy or threw a lot of blue tones. 

Of course my trusty favourite, Etna Moon from Tile Republic, looked fab with the other materials. I selected a semi-polished finish as it’s easier to clean and this room gets a lot of traffic… mainly my two kids playing out in the garden and trekking dirt and sand inside!

One of the best things about Etna is the ability to use it externally too. So we tiled the courtyard outside in the same tile.

Etna Moon floor tile from Tile Republic
Etna Moon floor tile from Tile Republic

Window coverings

I mentioned this room gets a lot of natural light and the soft Roman blinds they had basically melted! 

On the sliding door to outside, I selected a combination window treatment. Sunscreen roller blinds from dollar curtains + blinds block out the sun’s harsh UV rays while still giving vision to outside. This means she can keep an eye kids or things happening in the garden while in the kitchen.

To soften the room and also offer more diffused light during the day, we also dressed the sliding door with a sheer curtain. This is a wavefold curtain in an off-white linen-look fabric also from dollar curtains + blinds.

And above the sink we replaced the broken roman blind with a custom bi-fold plantation shutter. Not only does it suit the style of the new kitchen, it’s also water resistant making it the perfect window coverings to use above a sink.

Opening sunscreen roller blind
Plantation shutter above sink in kitchen

Smart storage solutions

I also added a few smart storage solutions inside the cupboards from Hafele Home. These include:

Because a dream kitchen shouldn’t just look pretty, it needs to be functional too!

Large pull out bin in kitchen
iMove shelf in cupboard

Furnishing the room

The large timber dining table and the black leather and timber dining chairs are from Nick Scali. The vase on the table is from KAS and you can see how I styled more of their ceramics in this bookshelf reel.

To add a pop of colour, I love this original artwork ‘Indigo Rose’ by Sue Fantine from bluethumb. It’s such a happy colour palette and I can see my mother-in-law adding more artwork to this space over time.

I hope you enjoyed this kitchen tour and it offered you some inspo if you’re about to design a new kitchen. Do you have any questions about the space? Pop them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you asap.

More kitchen inspo

Artwork in kitchen and dining
Original artwork by Sue Fantini from bluethumb
White wavefold curtains in kitchen
Butlers sink with brushed nickel tap
Pull out cleaning caddy from under kitchen sink

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ming green natural marble mosaic tile with white vanity

Ming green marble mosaic bathroom tour

We’ve just wrapped up our latest bathroom project and it’s a beauty, even if I do say so myself! This ’90s style bathroom was in dire need of a makeover and in my signature style, I couldn’t help but inject a bit of luxe into the space. It’s a small bathroom but just because you’re short on space doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style.

Let me take you on a tour of this ming green marble mosaic bathroom and share some of my top bathroom design tips.

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Style Curator bathroom design
Come with me to take a tour of our latest bathroom project where Ming green marble mosaics from Tile Republic steal the show!

Ming green marble paddle pop mosaic is the hero of the bathroom

Without a doubt, the star of the space is this ming green (also called Verdi Cristallo) marble mosaic feature tile. It’s the first thing you see as you step into the bathroom. I love the interesting patterns and tonal variation of each piece, and the muted pop of colour it adds to the space.

I went with a relatively new tile mosaic shape, which goes by a few names including arch mosaic, paddle pop mosaic or elongated fish scale. Whatever you want to call it, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s STUNNING. As soon as I saw it at Tile Republic, I knew it was the one and the rest of the bathroom scheme built off this selection.

Ming green marble mosaic tile in paddle pop shape
ming green natural marble mosaic tile with white vanity

A tonal tile scheme helps a small bathroom to feel larger

If you’re looking for a way to make a small bathroom feel larger, forget using gloss tiles and embrace a tonal tile scheme instead. Using the same tile on the floor and walls blurs the lines between these surfaces and create a sense of space. I used the Etna Moon tile in a semi-polished finish from Tile Republic on the floor and walls. It has a subtle pattern that complements rather than competes with the natural marble and picks up on the grey undertones of the stone.

Remember less is often more, particularly when you’re working in a small space. There’s a lot that gets added to a bathroom design vanity, mirror, tapware, bathware, lighting so you don’t have to make a loud feature out of everything. Actually, if you do it will have the reverse effect and create a space that’s overwhelming.

I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about the ming green marble mosaic for a minute when I saw it appear on The Block. Mitch and Mark went with a more is more approach, using the feature tile in excess on one full wall and also in the oversized niche on the adjacent wall. And then they paired it with an equally bold Calacutta marble patterned floor and wall tile. Although they used all luxe elements, there was so much happening in the space that your eye didn’t know where to look.

Luckily, the tiles had already been ordered so there was no backing out!

grey bathroom with brushed nickle tapware
white plantation shutter in grey bathroom

Look for a vanity with drawer storage

In my book, drawers trump cupboards in the storage stakes every time! Drawers open to reveal all of their contents, whereas with a cupboard-style bathroom vanity you need to crouch down and move items about to access what’s behind.

For this bathroom, we chose a white 2 drawer wall hung vanity with shaker doors called ‘Fremantle’ also from Tile Republic. It’s more interesting than a flat all-white vanity and is a classic style that offers timeless appeal. Most importantly, it doesn’t compete with the other design elements.

White and other neutral colours offer breathing room to your bathroom design. So we also used a white rectangular solid surface mirror in this space. I like to have contrast between the shape of the mirror and the tiled wall behind. For example, if the wall has angular tiles, I’ll look for a mirror with curves to soften the look or vice versa.

Shaker style vanity

Brushed nickel tapware adds a subtle pop of bling

With dozens of tapware finishes now on the market, you can have lots of fun making a statement with tapware! While white tapware would have added an edgy element to this space, it wasn’t right for the client or their home.

Rather than selecting the same polished chrome tapware used elsewhere in their home, we chose brushed nickel Nero tapware from Tile Republic. It has a softer and more muted finish than chrome but still fits with traditional style spaces. This finish was carried through on all of the bathroom accessories.

green long fishtail tile with brushed nickle mixer _ ming green marble bathroom
Brushed nickel shower by Nero from Tile Republic
brushed nickel mixer

Add a window covering to finish the look and offer privacy

In a bathroom it’s common to use frosted glass and no window treatments. But to really finish off a bathroom design, I love adding a plantation shutter. This beautiful white plantation shutter was custom made by dollar curtains + blinds and completely elevates the feel of this bathroom.

As well as enhancing the aesthetics, it offers various functional benefits. Most importantly, it allows the client to open the window for ventilation while maintaining privacy.

white plantation shutters on grey tile wall _ ming green marble bathroom
ming green long fishtail tile with white shaker style vanity

Design, styling and photography — Style Curator
Tiles, vanity, tapware and bathware — Tile Republic

I hope you enjoyed taking a tour of this ming green marble mosaic bathroom with me. Do you have any questions about the space? Pop them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you asap. Or let me know what you think of the space. I’d love to hear from you!

More bathroom inspo

brushed nickle shower head in grey bathroom
grey bathroom shower shelf _ ming green marble bathroom
grey bathroom with brushed nickle tapware _ ming green marble bathroom
ming green paddlepop tiles with a brushed nickel hook

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Style Curator kitchen

Is a marble splashback a good idea? Marble in kitchen

When we were building our home, I had my heart set on a marble kitchen bench… but all I heard were horror stories about staining, chipping and other maintenance issues! So, I looked into other options. Ultimately, I decided on a combination of an engineered benchtop and natural marble splashback as it felt like a ‘safe’ way of using marble in the kitchen.

I still get questions to this day about whether or not marble is a good splashback material and if I regret my choice. So here’s my list of the pros and cons of using marble as a splashback material. Spoiler alert, I love it!

Related article: Gina’s home: Kitchen room reveal
Related article: Gina’s bathroom renovation reveal: Take a peek around my new bathroom

Style Curator kitchen

Pro: The natural beauty of stone

As much as engineered stone continues to advance, it just can’t quite match the depth and natural beauty of real stone. There are dozens of types of marble, ranging in colour and vein intensity. And because marble is naturally formed by compacted rocks, even two slabs of the same marble can look completely different.

The unique characteristics of natural marble is one of its biggest advantages and certainly the main reason I wanted to use it in my home.

Con: You need to be mindful about cleaning products

Just like all things of beauty, there’s generally a price to pay. And with natural marble, you need to be mindful about what cleaning products you use. If you love to splash bleach and harsh cleaners around, this probably isn’t the right splashback material for you.

That being said, all you need to use to clean natural marble is mild dish soap. Alternatively, you can use a natural surface spray, such as our soap based all-purpose cleaner here.

Pro: It’s more hardwearing than I thought!

Even though I got scared out of using marble benchtops, I was still nervous about using it as a splashback. So many people warned me about staining and discolouration.

We have the marble splashback right behind our cooktop and it’s constantly getting splattered with tomato sauce, wine, oil. My husband is Italian after all! And there’s not a stain in sight.

I’m pleasantly surprised that marble is much more hardwearing than I thought and I would 100% use it again!

Kitchen styling

Con: There’s some required maintenance

Although marble is more hardwearing than I expected, it is still needs a little TLC. It’s essential to seal marble with a natural stone penetrating sealer. We used the Lithofin range from Tile Republic, which is excellent and does not change the appearance of the stone at all.

It’s also recommended to reseal the stone once a year… but six years on, we haven’t resealed the marble again and it still looks fab!

Pro: It can be cheaper than some tiles

Finally, another benefit of a slab of natural stone is that it can be more affordable than some decorative tiles. When you add up the cost of the tile per square metre, plus the cost for a tiler to install it, a solid slab of stone can work out to be less. Of course, it depends on what type of marble you’re considering, and what type of tile you’re comparing it against!

I hope these pros and cons of using marble as a kitchen splashback help you in your decision making. I’m so happy with our kitchen and thought it was worth sharing a positive story about marble in the kitchen. Because when I did my research, it was mainly negative and I nearly got scared off using marble altogether! However, there are also plenty of faux marble options out there such as engineered stone and large format porcelain tiles.

More design tips

This article was first published in February 2019 and continues to be updated with latest information.

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