Kitchen Revamp 2022

It had been discussed a bunch lately about putting a bit of spit and shine into the kitchen area to make it nicer. This is something thats been discussed for ages, so its great to see interest again and momentum and things happening. Ryan and I have put in a bunch of work redoing the plumbing and installing the zip tap and soap dispensers etc. I know Ale and Francis have been doing something re cabinetry? And Dave is keen to get the area looking better as well.

For reference, heres some previous discussions:

So this thread is to try and get everyone talking about what the current ideas and plans are.


  1. How much do we want to spend on it? Is the goal cheap fixes to make what we have better, or are we basically tearing out and redoing?
  2. How much cooking do we want to support? Is a microwave enough? Are there other appliances that would add value and not create problems/mess?
  3. What do we want it to look like? should we do something cool with our gear? Laser cut backsplashes, etc.
  4. What about lighting, what is important to us?
  5. What are our priorities around storage?

Feel free to add your own questions to the discussion.

Stuff we have available to use:

  • 2x Matched Dishwashers currently in cold storage.

Stuff we could/should buy?

  • 1x Half Sized (Bar) Glass Front Fridge. 130L ones are about $700 new.
  • Commercial style stainless steel bench/sinks? They go from about $500-$3000 depending.
  • Better faucet system, such as something with a sprayer?
  • Some kind of cover for the cabinets, take the doors off etc and put a panel of acb/steel/etc over it?
  • Some kind of backsplash thats not terrible. Sheet of steel/aluminium? Acrylic? Tiles?
    • What about a bigger/better mirror?


These are just my thoughts, lets discuss and add to them:

  • Keep the walls and surfaces clean and clear as possible. Ie the kitchen bench should not be the location for anything to be stored upon. This looks better and is far easier to clean.
    • Undersink supplies is better than stuff on walls. ie soap. but some things just have to go on the wall, like towel dispenser.
  • Vending machines out of entranceway so we can make that first impression area much better.
  • No storage for cutlery/plates/bowls etc, other than in the dishwashers. Use a clean/dirty system, some basic home automation etc. Just have a known stock of cheap ikea stuff thats easy to match and replace. Plastic > Ceramic, No Glass.
  • Somewhere appropriate for spray and wipe, sponges, basic cleaning gear.
  • No storage. The store room should be for storage.
  • It would be really good to have some built in place for the bins? Either just a proper home or a shroud/cabinet or something that hides and neatens them.
  • Accessibility needs to be kept in mind. Can someone of any height or strength utilise and or maintain the kitchen? is it usable in a wheelchair?

Some Ideas

It really depends on how far we want to go. I know some people have thoughts around cabinetry? It just depends on what we want to spend.

Last Thoughts

I think a glass fronted fridge with some sharpies on retractors/magnets for people to mark their stuff would be a big quality of life improvement. Makes it easy to see stuff left/forgotten in there. And we dont need a big fridge (or freezer) now that theres one in the BBQ area for storage of supplies there.

The coffee machine can be downsized significantly. The stand it sits on is water supply and refuse (coffee pucks). We could sit it on a countertop with a drawer underneath to catch refuse, and plumb it into the water supply. The rest can be put into cold storage.

The double dishwasher thing I think is pretty key. I dont want to have to have dishwashers that need stacking/unstacking and putting away etc. I figure we have the two already, we put them in and run them once/twice a day automatically on some kind of schedule. You can buy dishwasher detergent as a bulk liquid, perhaps a little mod to put a tube/hole to the machines and we can automate it fully? dunno.

What does everyone else think?

Just want to freshen the Kitch area with simple design. Get it to office Kitch standard.
Def need new sink and mixer to go on new white base cupboards.
I like the glass front fridge idea. Same as what’s you see at the pharmacy.
One dish washer should be enough. 2 use up to much space.
Microwaves shelf above.
Cutlery draws, cupboards bellow. Stainless sink bench is very costly but maintains well.
Instead we can make up a timber top in the woodshop out of free sourced or inexpensive material to save on cost. I think nicer astheticly.
Cabinet maker by trade and I’ve made a few kitchens, happy to put the work in to this one. Ale has also done quite a bit of leg work with drawings and cabinetry pricing.

There has been a few people who show interest about rebuilding or doing something about the kitchen. @MoltenAluminium is organizing a working bee and he wants to coordinate this tasks with the rebuild of the kitchen.


Basically I’m proposing to get a flat pack kitchen and install those cabinets. @Francis and I will be doing all the construction and fitting (important to notice: the two of us are fully qualified cabinet makers).
The configuration would be the following:

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • The final height of the kitchen cabinetry will be 2350mm. This means a 1850 height cavity for a fridge + a 500mm height wall cabinet on top of that.
  • The cabinetry is simple and there’s no point on trying to reinvent the wheel here.
  • We have a simple Drawer cabinet that can hold cutlery and any other kitchen implements.
  • The sink cabinet can hold the chiller and as well deals with the plumbing going into the dishwasher (commonly the pipes go through the kick using a pest trap to avoid insects going into your cabinet and keeping everything tidy)
  • For the countertop I’ll be reclaiming some wood and make a nice laminated wooden countertop. This is a nice touch I reckon.
  • The fridge cabinet is there so in the future we can comeback with a row of wall cabinets and a nook for the microwave. In the meantime I can make a piece of shelving such as this one:

Why do you wanna do flat-pack? why can’t we just make everything ourself?

Well, pretty much it is not as easy as it seems. By buying flatpack we are getting the following:

  • All the machining and planning involved is resolved for you. CADing all of these, having to check all the specs for the hardware and doing the cam for these is tons of work. I reckon is probably at least 12 hours of cading, and hopefully you get it right, because if you make a mistake you have to do reworks and that will just throw any saving that u might made straight into the bin.
  • You have the convenience of going to a place a get everything ready to be assembled.
  • Doing all the logistics to know how much material you need, where to get it, go and actually get it, figure if you can actually manufacture this, etc… is a lot of work and headache.
  • Any kind of manufacturing defects are covered by the company that provides the flatpack service. This means that for instance if the holes are wrong, you will get a replacement. Any chip on the boards, you get a replacement. Some edging is not well glued, you get a replacement.
  • Even if you want to do it, you don’t have a realiable method to edge your boards.
  • If you even start to think about doing it yourself, remember that doing the flatpack road, guarantees you a 100% professional kitchen made with Australian Standard materials and professional quality machining and finish.

By doing this, we only need to go a pickup the flatpack plus the hardware. Knocking those cabinets i reckon should take less than 2 hours. Instalation should be, taking things easy, not more than 8 hours.

The idea of having two dishwashers

There’s an idea going around about keeping the two dishwashers and having then running at the same time.
Me personally, i think that we shouldn’t do this. I think is better to sell one of them, and just keep one. We all have a dishwasher at home, and we understand how to use it. Having two dishwashers, that need to be run by using somekind of a method to recognize which one to use or empty, and having to support all these by administrative methods and enforcement of standard operational procedures is just making things more complicated without having any valuable benefit.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that within the design restrictions that the room sets, there’s no easy way to place another dishwasher. As well having to plumb them is gonna be another NOT funny adventure.

A simple plan

They way we could reno the kitchen could be:

  1. Demolishing the old kitchen and leaving a temporary setting to keep providing a washing space and water. We could simply put the old countersink on top of saw horses type of legs.
  2. Placing the GPOs that we might need and wiring them.
  3. Do any kind of plumbing that we might need.
  4. Fix and paint the wall.
  5. Install the new kitchen.

Probably the working bee will do the demo part, I’m happy to organize the cabinetry and installation and coordinate the other tasks.

Budget proposal

For the cabinetry we could get the previous configuration with Polar white matt (mdf) which is a comodity material but still a nice looking board. If you want you can go into Polytecs catalog and propose a different color from the MATT lineup and is probably going to cost similar (for plain colors i reckon). The catalog is here:Colours / Polytec

This will cost: $1050 inc. GST

A cheaper alternative will be getting the same but with fronts in white satin (particle board). The difference is not as big as i thought.

This will cost: $970 inc. GST

To this i’ll add a $500 budget to get a sink, a tap and handles. If we keep an eye open we should get a nice cheapy from facebook group. This will also cover any other expenses we might come across when doing the reno.

Thansk for merging this. I completey missed your post @devians

I think its very important that the kitchen is accessible to everyone. Tall/Short Weak/Strong. So my litmus test for design here is ‘can it be used in a wheelchair’. So I’d like to see the microwave at desk height if possible.

The design point of having 2 dishwashers is that they alternate clean/dirty. this is very easy you just have double sided laminated signs and velcro. You dont have any cabinetry storage for cutlery/plates/cups/kitchenware, they live in the dishwashers themselves. If things are not clean, you just put the dishwasher on.

We already have the two dishwashers. Plumbing them in is trivial and I will do that. In terms of space, if we switch to a half size glass fronted fridge I think the space works out just fine.

This will require landlord approval.

We will have to double confirm theres enough height here to do this, the chiller doesnt fit under the ubend in the current sink for example. As well, due to how the plumbing works, we cant go through the kick for drainage, so there will be a pipe for drainage that goes through where the dishwasher is in this design.

A butcher block laminated worktop would be really cool. Will it be hardy enough/easy to keep clean, considering all the nonsense things people tend to do? A stainless bench looks much worse but is indestructible.

Just be aware that to do sink mounted hardware we would have to redo the plumbing in the wall. not a huge issue but just keep it in mind. If we change the tap/handles, i think we either keep the quarter turn taps or get a standard mixer. The quarter turns are there for accessibility so to keep that standard a mixer is the other option. I’d like to see a tap/spray combo personally.

Overall, i’m down with getting cabinetry made or buying a steel bench or whatever. I think we need to agree on what that design is exactly. I think we have to be very careful about accessibility, and doing ‘normal’ things that dont work in a communal space like a hackerspace (like drawers/cupboards).

Speaking of drawers/cupboards, i’m not 100% against them but i think if theyre just there ‘because’ without a purpose they just accumulate crap. If we know exactly whats going in them i’m open to it more.

There was some discussion last night about exactly where the vending machines go, so i’ll prompt @Antifoo to make a thread about that. But whatever we do there will influence the kitchen design choices.

It would also be good to talk about where the coffee machine fits in all this?

We should all come to an agreement before we do any demo works.


What about making a big long butcher block surface, getting an undermount sink and a new tap, and doing a super basic bit of cabinetry around the sink to hide the plumbing/ziptap etc? ie something like this:

That would be cheaper, still look good, meet our needs well?

Nothing in the space is really wheelchair accessible. Why is this now an issue with the kitchen? Most things except for the green room are NOT wheelchair accessible. Can you imagine trying to open the metal shop or even the woodworking door from a wheelchair?

It’s not that i’m in particular worried about wheelchair users per se (although we should make reasonable accomodation), its more that its a good benchmark to aim for in order to accomodate most people.

We have members who are able bodied, but just short, and cannot use the microwave on top of the fridge as it is. Thats not cool. We have people who have different levels of strength, ability to lift etc. Its just good to try and make things work for as wide a range as is possible. This is why we have quarter turn taps on the kitchen (and should probably put them in the bathrooms also come to think of it).

Think of it this way as well, in that i have no possible route to make a table saw work for everyone. And thats not great but its understandable. But the basic amenities like feeding yourself and going to the bathroom? yeah, that should be for everyone, regardless.

Another example is that getting a wheelie bin lifter would be really good, so that most people can empty the bins. Its why we push to have wheelie bins as our standard, so most people can move them about the place. We could have bins that only big strong men can move, but that wouldnt make much sense would it.

Keep in mind we do have people coming on site at the moment, typically as guests, who are wheelchair users. And we have a number of members from all walks of life and ability, and we have a nonzero amount of people living with a disability.

I would have to say as someone who works in disability it’s painful hear such statements.

Just beacaus something isn’t currently wheelchair accessible that means it never should be?

Much architecture was built without people in wheelchairs in mind. As as time has passed upgrades and renovations were made to fix that. Simple things like a ramp if it’s only two or three steps and for big one like train stations elevators. These things are called universal design. So that people can make use of it no matter their ability, ramps are useful for prams, for trollys for deliveries, the elderly etc.

Universal design benifits everyone. As short person 5"2. I cannot safely microwave something with liquid as there is a high chance of me spilling it due to reaching well above my head and have burned myself in the past doing similar with hot wax. So having a microwave lower fits into universal deisgn.

Yes much of HSBNE can never be truely wheelchair usable. But some it can be, so why SHOULDN’T it be?

That little itty bitty ramp into green room is a prefect example. That one piece of cement means the difference between being able to easily pull bins and the big trolly in and it means the difference for a person in a wheelchair not navigating
around the entire building to use the front entrance.

That little itty bitty ramp was implemented by a member who was keen on making the space more welcoming to people who were wheelchair bound or otherwise not as abled as other members.

The Patron should be able to recall this.

Making the kitchen more accessible with respect to disabilities is an admiral baseline for this project IMHO.

I can’t recall something that happened before my time. Anyway, It seems that my comments are not welcome. I’ll stay out of this.

Happy to make a separate thread if there’s support. My idea was to move the vending out of the entry and into where the lounge is, rearrange the lounge so the entry is more welcoming and displays more of each Team’s art/projects, and has information available for visitors.
Really, really roughly:

Keeping the vending out of the kitchen would let us build an L bench and keep everyting at bench heights. The Zip filter could go in the corner because corner cupboards are black holes anyway.

TL;DR rearrange entry to be more welcoming, move vending, free up space for kitchen area

I guess my question is what specifically does an L bench get us? I dont fully understand why its a goal, in the sense that theres plenty of space to fit everything without it.

I did a bit of digging a while back around half size glass door fridges. This is the one that seemed best. happy if anyone spots a better one though.


Hard to pick a fridge without seeing them in person. I saw a lot of ones that say they are ‘130L’ but arent actually cos of the space taken up inside by the mechanicals etc.

What benefit is the couch in the high traffic entry over the low traffic lounge?

As someone with a teenage child in a wheelchair and who has used that very ramp, these minor things do add up to an awful lot. My daughter actively resents having to ask me to do something like lift her electric chair over the lip by the front door, despite her knowing I’ll do it without question, because it denies her agency that she could so easily have.

No one should ever feel bad because they unintentionally forget things like this. Despite sharing a house with my daughter and being her daily physical support, I still occasionally forget she can’t reach the microwave in our kitchen let alone grab something hot from it. It can be in your face, and still glossed over. I was extremely pleased to see accessibility was in the minds of other members, and honestly it hadn’t even crossed my mind until I saw the suggestion.

We can’t solve every problem, nor should we try. Doing a kitchen area such that it’s accessible is one project we can achieve, and especially in a year when the Australian of the Year is a celebrated paraplegic sports person and advocate for all, I think it’s an excellent goal to aim for. It can only improve our standing in the community.


Can solve this problem by putting MV on bench as shown in Josh sketch. Not ideal coz U loose bench space. Or can ad a MV shelf to the base cabinet like you would see at uni’s and offices.

Can we get a medium size fridge? This is designed to take a bottles, and will get filled up fast when used for food & drink.

Great idea. Lounge area is not presented very well and could flow much better. I have not seen the lounges seats ever used

I thought this doesn’t work?

There are dishwasher’s your can buy like this. Double drawer dishwasher they are called. It works well. But having two full sized dishes for this purpose is a bit of a waste. I’ve seen this in a commercial kitch set up. For the space would be a waste of space and resources running 2 full sized dishes.

In general terms, I think that that we should look for solutions that require minimal training/administrative enforcement and maintenance.

Having this in mind i’ll say:

RE accessibility

I think this is fair and we should do an effort on accommodate for this. Sticking to my plan, we could shuffle the sink cabinet hard against the wall and then we will have all the counter surface to the left of the sink where we can put the microwave, solving any accessibility concerns.

RE 2 Dishwashers

I already said it, but again, I reckon this is not a good idea. I’m not able to see any benefit or value by using this kind of system. This are a couple of things that concern me:

  1. This implies having two assets that require maintenance, and since you’re using one DW as store means that if one brakes the whole system fails. This creates waste in form of reworks and having to figure what to do.
  2. This implies that now you have to supply drainage and power for two units.
  3. This implies that you have to explain a SOP that stands out of the ordinary. So in order to make this happen you will have to invest time into a system that promulgates and enforces the proper usage of it. This will be really hard to pull, just think on all of the other administrative methods that we have in place that are so hard to keep. We are overcomplicating a simple task such as washing dishes.
  4. By keeping only one dishwasher we are making this whole project way more simpler and we can sell the other one to fund any other projects we want to make.
  5. With a single dishwasher, if you get the clean and dirty you simply put a capsule and call it a day. With the other system we will probably end up with two dishwashers with halfway clean/dirty dishes and no place to put if we want to move back to a “NORMAL” system.

RE buying a new fridge

I would rather have a fridge that’s at least as big like the one we already have. Having a freezer is as well a nice feature to have. Mostly if you want to pull those BBQ’s and such.
Some perks like the glass door and all that are great, but i’d keep the fridge big instead of an underbench.
I’d leave the niche for a mid/large size fridge and leave the discussion about buying one for the next season.

About the vending machines

I’d sell the coffee machines and one of the soda machines. This way you claim good real state, and make things simpler. Keeping assets that are not being used or have a solid plan of implementation is not a thing that brings value.

I propose to keep only one soda machine and the Honour vending machine (the soda machines work just fine, but probably we could do with just one. The vending honour machine as well works fine). For coffee i’d buy one the ALDIs capsule machines (90 dollars of the shelve) and their capsules cost 7 dollars for 16 capsules. If we sell each capsule, through the honour vending machine, at $1 per capsule, we are making a profit of 127% with minimal maintenance required and everybody gets a decent cup of coffee.
IMO vending is not so much about profit, but more about the convenience of not having to go to the servo when you just want to have a quick snack.

Regarding the two washing machines a set up at my work that appears to function even for people with disabilities is as follows.

We have an industrial dishwasher the kind that works - hard, hot and fast with cycles that last 3 minutes max (not nessisarily the model I’m suggesting, just what we currently have) and it only has one rack. It’s a big rack that you can easily pick up and take out.

However we have TWO of these racks. One that has clean dishes on it to use sitting on the counter. (Work does have a significant amount of counter space) and one that has dirty dishes on the sink in the drainage section.

When the rack is full of dirty dishes it gets put in the machine, (in Hsbnes case it could just live in the machine, but if people have to open the machine this is an extra step they may not do) This is usually when the clean rack is now close to empty.

The freshly cleaned rack gets pulled out of the machine and left on the counter for use. The empty rack (or close to empty) becomes the new one on the sink collecting dirty. If it’s not empty we will take some of the clean ones left behind and put it on the newly washed clean rack.

This is one system that I’ve seen work for over 7 years, with many carers coming and going who have no trouble grasping it. But it does mean there is counter space taken up with visable dishes. Which is seems is undesirable?

Anyway that’s my two cents on the dishwasher debate. Let me know if any of it wasn’t clear…

If the bench goes the entire length of that wall, you still gain far more bench space than you lose.

Theres a giant brand new fridge in the BBQ area with a freezer. So keep that in mind. The reason for aiming for a small fridge is that it should only ever be used by members who put something in it for a few hours and then take it home, ie it shouldnt store anything overnight. So to my mind, smaller capacity is a feature not a bug.

If one breaks, you still have a working dishwasher. if you have one dishwasher and one breaks, you have no dishwasher. I dont think this is a serious argument.

Thats trivial, theres powerpoints right there, the drainage is right there also. I’m happy to do this myself, its not an issue. its just as hard to install one as it is to do two.

Its not rocket science, i’ve seen it work fine in any number of offices. What i HAVENT seen work fine, is hand washing, drying racks and a single dishwasher at HSBNE. what that has been in the past is just a general mess, all the time, everywhere. Noone empties the dishrack and puts stuff away, stuff gets put away at random, piles in the sink. Its just no good.

Even if someone totally fucks up and puts dirty stuff in the clean dishwasher, its a few button pushes away from being solved. noone has to put stuff away or maintain anything.

I dont understand this argument at all. if both dishwashers have dirty dishes… turn them on, wait a bit, and you’ll have clean dishes. then resetting is just moving stuff from one side to the other at the very worst. and if that reset sort doesnt happen, its still not that big a deal.

If we were buying from scratch, there might be an argument here. But we got the dishwashers for free, and they’re identical units. Its not much ‘wasted space’, theres no other purpose for said space anyhow. Resources wise, i havent looked up any spec sheets to quantify it but i would say it pales in comparison to running literally any of our other equipment.

They work just fine. Theres an issue with the one ‘in service’ thats minor i just dont have time to fix it with the other thousand things on my plate. anyone else is more than welcome to have a go. The other one is a bit disassembled inside but maybe 30min to put back together and have work. I want to move it to cold storage as spare parts at some point.

I mean, coffee pods are awful both in taste and impact on the environment. The vending machine will do a number of drink options, keeps non perishable real milk (which is a big deal, if you want milk coffee in a pod system, we have to keep it in the fridge, and thats a whole huge hassle), grinds the beans on request, can do hot chocolate and other combos as well as soup. So they’re a bit more versatile. Maintenance of them is refilling the internals and cleaning the dispense system every so often, its fairly easy. Used to take me 15min? It doesnt happen at the moment because I no longer own them and noone else has stepped up there.

If we could get one of those industrial models with the racks for the price of selling the two domestic/office units we have, i’d be onboard with that. Marketplace has some for 2-3k, new a quick look seems to be 3-10k for an underbench model. So pretty pricey if we dont find a deal. But the sheer speed they go is great. Three Phase though, which means electrical stuffing around (starts rocking back and forth with a long stare).

I’ve said this before. The dual dishwasher system works in an office because there’s a flow that supports the system structure. In an office the diswasher probably gets turned on probably at least once a day (in a office that justifies having 2 DW…). In this environments probably theres a person or a group of people that do this every day, so u have a flow going. Is like a choir, if you put a group of people to sing together and having 'weekly rehearsals, doesn’t matter if a couple of them can’t sing shit, the whole group levels it self and the bad singers endup tracing the good ones. Same thing with a class, even the most challenged kids endup reading just as good as the smartest in the class…

Anyway, you can’t seem to give a good reason why we should go through the trouble of having two dishwashers and loosing standard storage that everybody is familiar with and can be simply organized by proper labelling just like we do in the woodshop.

With all the things we need to buy, you guys are really thinking about getting an industrial dishwasher?? we dont even have dishes guys…

I can’t believe how from a solid, feasible plan we go into the endless and zero value discussion that doesn’t bring any value to the space…

About the coffee, i know about the GREEN concern, i avoid having one of those at home, but i can’t think a better (and feasible) plan. In regards to the taste, do u have a leprechaun barista inside of the machine?.. I mean, really?

Is really bad culture for the space repeating always the same plan, which is spending money on expensive equipment without putting the same value on deployment. Is easy to get stuff approved to be bought and then blame “the people” when no one wants to actually deploy the asset properly.