Last week we spent 5 minutes with Bonnie, so this week we’re spending 5 minutes with RONNIE!

Ronnie's our kitchen-maker extraordinaire from Carrera By Design and he’s responsible for making all our kitchen dreams come true!! There was the pale green kitchen he built us in House 5, then Lana’s white-on-white kitchen extravaganza and now he's delivered our lil’ black kitchen down at the River Shack. Ronnie knows EVERYTHING there is to know about kitchens so we asked him as many questions as we could fit into a 5-minute chat!

Q: What materials did you use in the black River Shack kitchen?

American Oak Timber Veneer stained to match Dulux Black and the internals are Polytech Natural Oak Melamine.

Q: Is it more expensive to have a wood-grain finish (like the River Shack) rather than a more traditional shaker style cabinet front? 

(Long pause)….. Yes.

Q: Do you love the woodgrain internals? 

Yes. I wish more people would do it instead of basic white. 

Q: Are they more expensive than traditional white?

Yes, but it’s worth it. 

Q: What’s the biggest mistake you see people make? 

Everything works on a piece of paper … but sometimes there are other factors that can determine the success of a kitchen - like how things will function and work once installed and if you don’t think about things practically then you’ll have problems. I recently was building some wardrobes for a client, however, I knew the sliding system they wanted did not suit the design, the house or the handle position – we argued about it (in a nice way) – they wouldn’t listen so I did what they said and it didn’t work and it had to be ripped out.  

Q: Do you have a preferred type of cabinet handle?  

No. Although I will say that I dislike push-touch because sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. But if you must have push-touch, try and keep it to smaller doors, not large doors.  

Q: Who is your favourite Bird?  

No comment. Is this like when you asked me who has the best hair bun? All of you!! I can’t win. You’re all different.    

Q: Does Bonnie drive you nuts with her design ideas? 

No. What drives me nuts is HOW she designs the kitchens. There’s nothing written or drawn up. It’s all in her head and I have to stand there taking notes based on her hand gestures and words and then go back to the office and try to make it work on paper. Out of nothing …. we get a design! 

Q: How do you make coloured cabinetry?  

It’s pretty simple really. We can match cabinetry to any paint colour, for example, we matched the River Shack cabinets to Dulux Black and if you don’t know the name of a colour you like, we just need a sample of it and will send it off to our paint supplier for them to colour match.  Once we have the correct paint, we spray-paint the cabinets in a spray booth and then bake them like a car. We do all that on site in our factory at Smithfield.  

Q: Can you match to any colour your client wants? 

Yes but it needs to be a solid colour. We can’t do patterns, stripes or woodgrain paint. If you want woodgrain, we choose the right material for that like timber veneer, we don’t paint that on. 

Q: Out of the three kitchens you’ve done for Three Birds (green, white and black) which is your favourite and why?  

The green one and white one are both my favourites. The black one is nice ... it’s just a bit small and simple for me. I love the cabinetry and island design of the green kitchen and then the white one in Lana’s home is so big, bright and white, it’s hard not to like that one (and we all know she'd kill me if I said any different). 

Q: What’s the difference between Poly and Melamine? 

Poly is painted whereas melamine is a pre-finished board. Poly is a painted finish which you can have in any colour. Melamine is cheaper and more durable however you do see an edge profile (so great for internals).

Q: Do you have a tip for someone planning a kitchen reno?

Get all your ideas together, work out the style of kitchen you want and don’t go buying appliances before you’ve discussed the design with your kitchen designer. Know what style you want. Bring pictures. It makes it hard if you have no idea. 

Q: Why do kitchens take so long to make?

There is an intricate process of design, cutting, edging, painting, assembling etc etc.

Q: What’s the next BIG thing in kitchen design? 

Whatever Bonnie comes up with next 😉... Actually, bench tops are getting thinner and thinner, like down to 6mm and a modern take on shaker style cabinet fronts continues to grow in popularity.  

Q: From Michelle on FB: Can I remove and re-cut my Caesarstone bench top that currently overhangs the bench like a table and re-install it like a drop side? 

It depends on how much material is there. If there’s enough material then yes you could get a stonemason to come and move the stone to become a waterfall edge. 

Q: From Erina on FB: Is integrating your fridge and dishwasher expensive? Does it make it difficult when replacing/upgrading your appliances? 

Yes it adds cost - but looks good. It does limit you if you ever want to change appliances.

Q: From Jasmine on FB: Can I add soft-closing hinges to my current cabinets or do I need new ones? Is it expensive or worth it?

Soft close can be retro-fitted but you will need some modifications to cabinets and drawer fronts. Definitely worth it (that's what Lana tells me - she's had both).



You can win a killer vintage rug similar to the one we have in the River Shack thanks to our beautiful friends at Marr-Kett in Byron Bay!

And the best part is the winner gets to pick ONE rug out of the four incredible options above so you can choose the one that suits your house best.

Entering is as easy as ever gang!