With almost 20 years experience behind her, Sunshine Coast interior designer Eileen Middleton knows a thing or two about kitchen design. Here are her top tips on how you can transform the heart of the home to best suit our coastal lifestyle. How did you get into interior design? I have a passion for art and I also have a very pragmatic attitude toward construction and with 18 years experience in the interior design industry, my outcomes are truly inspired. How do you describe your style? A professional interior designer provides outcomes to suit the client, so I need to be able to work with many distinct and different styles. When you see my projects, the overall mood and design is a modernist inspired design style, embellished with a rich array of neutral textures; very appropriate for our coastal region. Food is such a major part of everyday life, what makes a great kitchen? A kitchen really needs to function to make the cooking process effortless. Interesting contrast in colours and finishes make everyday life fun. The selection of the sink, taps and appliances help set the design style. What are some of your style ideas to improve kitchen space? It’s so important to consider the kitchen as a space where family and guests can interact right from the layout stage. We don’t realise how often this space is used for a variety of reasons throughout the day. How can we maximise indoor/outdoor living for summer? The circulation between the kitchen and outdoor spaces needs to be direct, whether it is through a pass through bi-fold window or direct access to deck areas from the kitchen. If possible, try and capture views through kitchen windows to the outdoors. This will create a definite connection for indoor and outdoor spaces. What are some of your top tips for styling smaller spaces? Keep your colours and finishes light as this gives the impression of space. What is your favourite style or design to implement into homes? Classic, refined design style made interesting through the inclusion of recycled timbers as a point of interest. This can be achieved by including a special wall finish as a backdrop or part of a countertop or display shelving, built out of recycled timber. What advice would you give someone looking to refresh their home? Definitely take the time to discuss ideas with a professional interior designer, even if it is to bounce ideas around to achieve a better result. When it comes to style, are there any rules and why? It’s best to not try too hard. Some people try to make everything a feature when it’s best to hold back on some things, so the real features stand out!