Ita Buttrose is well known as a journalist, magazine editor, businesswoman and former Australian of the year.
She’s was also president of Alzheimer’s Australia and is as much at home in a boardroom as she is in a TV studio.
But when she’s actually at home, in Sydney or her house in country NSW, the kitchen is where Buttrose is happiest.
We asked Ita just what it is that she loves about the kitchen.
Why is the kitchen the best room in the house?
I’ve always thought of the kitchen as being the heart of a home. It’s where families gather and friends are happy to socialise. It’s also where memorable meals are created.
Sometimes it’s even a place where the kids do their homework while mum whips up a meal.
My kitchen is where I like to relax in the morning with a mug of tea, while reading the news on my iPad or in my newspaper. I love cooking and entertaining at home which is why a well-designed kitchen is a priority for me.
What’s your first memory of a kitchen or of being in a kitchen?
When I was about seven I remember a kitchen that had a pantry with a bread box, which opened on the outside of the house so the baker could put the fresh bread in it. This was delivered every day and was always white bread – multi-grain had not yet been discovered.
Our kitchen had a Kookaburra stove – there was a green kookaburra I think on the oven door. It was all gas and my mother used to cook the most wonderful baked dinner on Sundays in it. Roast lamb was always a favourite with baked potatoes, mashed pumpkin, peas and gravy. In the evening Dad would take over the cooking role and make ‘bubble ‘n squeak’, (a traditional English dish) out of all the lunch vegetable leftovers including the lamb.
What’s been your favourite kitchen over the years?
Granite Transformations has designed and installed two kitchens for me – one over 10 years ago and the other just last year when they renovated the kitchen in my country home. They transformed it from a dated kitchen of yesterday to one that is contemporary and fresh.
I love spending time in my new kitchen. It has a relaxed country feel and its neutral colour scheme is classic and calming. This is my favourite kitchen as it’s so simple, practical and well designed. I’ve spent many happy times with my family there.
What do you love most about your kitchen?
Everything now has a place and I know exactly where everything is, too. The glass doors on the cupboards where I have my glasses also acts as a feature in the kitchen which I like, as the down lights highlight the glassware beautifully.
What’s the most important thing to consider in a kitchen renovation?
There are a number of elements to consider before renovating your kitchen. For instance, do you want a complete new kitchen or just a makeover.
It’s important too to think about how you and your family use the kitchen and whether you need extensive storage (lots of cupboards and drawers) or more bench space.
I think island benches are perfect for busy families allowing children to do their homework while you cook at the same time.
What’s the best change in kitchen design you’ve seen over the years?
Open-plan living has had a huge impact on kitchens and they now seamlessly merge and flow into living, lounge and outdoor entertaining areas.
This joining of spaces helps create a more social, open and interactive space for people to entertain as well as making it easier to keep an eye on their kids.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in a kitchen (cooking or renovating)?
I allowed my late husband, who was an architect, to design the kitchen. He decided that all the cupboards would have no doors. The crockery, pantry items and so on would provide “colour” to the kitchen.
I soon discovered that this meant everything always had to be neat and tidy. It wasn’t long before I insisted on a change of design. The cupboards got doors.
What’s your favourite kitchen appliance?
My slow cooker. I love being able to prepare dinner by putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and having a delicious meal ready to eat in the evening, with very little effort on my part.
Slow cookers are marvellous for busy people, especially parents.
Ita Buttrose is Granite Transformations ambassador.