The Art of Kitchens Story

For owners David and Ingrid, Art of Kitchens is more than just a business–it’s a passion. As an Australian-based manufacturer, the company has a commitment to excellence in design and manufacturing can be clearly seen through the numerous industry accolades and awards, as well as their ongoing investment in the industry’s next generation.

The very beginning

David’s interest in building was established at an early age thanks to his Uncle who was a builder. Following school, David undertook a carpentry apprenticeship and started working for a local builder who specialised in high-end architectural work. It was during one of these jobs that David’s interest became piqued and he saw an opportunity to specialise in kitchen design and manufacture. As David explains it, he went into kitchens for the work but, in doing so, found his passion and he still feels just as strongly about the process of design and manufacture today.

David describes his enthusiasm for kitchen design as stemming from a genuine love of good food and wine. He feels this helps him to have a unique perspective on kitchen design and an intimate understanding of the kitchen as a space in the home. He loves nothing more than talking with a client at the initial design brief meeting, digging into their own loves and passions, and understanding how their family lives, cooks, entertains and relaxes. It’s this investment in truly getting to know every client that allows David to produce a unique design that caters for the individual needs of everyone in the household.

David feels the challenge of the kitchen is in working out how to best utilise the space and create something that is the perfect balance between form and function. With his building and cabinet making background, he has a unique insight into both the design and manufacturing process. As he explains, “If I can ‘see’ it, I know I can make it. Having that dual understanding of how to design a space as well as how to build it means we always know our kitchens will operate in exactly the way they are meant to”.

The very beginning

David’s interest in building was established at an early age thanks to his Uncle who was a builder. Following school, David undertook a carpentry apprenticeship and started working for a local builder who specialised in high-end architectural work. It was during one of these jobs that David’s interest became piqued and he saw an opportunity to specialise in kitchen design and manufacture. As David explains it, he went into kitchens for the work but, in doing so, found his passion and he still feels just as strongly about the process of design and manufacture today.

David describes his enthusiasm for kitchen design as stemming from a genuine love of good food and wine. He feels this helps him to have a unique perspective on kitchen design and an intimate understanding of the kitchen as a space in the home. He loves nothing more than talking with a client at the initial design brief meeting, digging into their own loves and passions, and understanding how their family lives, cooks, entertains and relaxes. It’s this investment in truly getting to know every client that allows David to produce a unique design that caters for the individual needs of everyone in the household.

David feels the challenge of the kitchen is in working out how to best utilise the space and create something that is the perfect balance between form and function. With his building and cabinet making background, he has a unique insight into both the design and manufacturing process. As he explains, “If I can ‘see’ it, I know I can make it. Having that dual understanding of how to design a space as well as how to build it means we always know our kitchens will operate in exactly the way they are meant to”.

Another very important part of the process, for both David and Ingrid, is the management of the process from the very beginning to the very end.

Being in control of the design, manufacture and installation allows the Art of Kitchens team to provide the highest levels of service as well as the level of quality in their products. This has always been a “non-negotiable” element of the Art of Kitchens service offering and it’s one of the business areas David feels incredibly strongly about.

Art of Kitchens was still a fledgling company when David set up shop in a small 120sqm factory in Thornleigh and placed an advertisement in the local paper for kitchen renovations. A friend of the family recommended Art of Kitchens for a contract to supply 300 kitchens per year and it was this opportunity that allowed Art of Kitchens to flourish and grow. David was quickly the employer of 10-12 cabinetmakers with a long list of happy customers, and thriving on the challenge of kitchen design.

At this time there were no specialist courses available so David invested time and energy into becoming a self-taught cabinetmaker and designer. When it became available, he then undertook the Certified Kitchen Designer course in 1994 which was then administered by the Housing Industry Association.

Another very important part of the process, for both David and Ingrid, is the management of the process from the very beginning to the very end.

Being in control of the design, manufacture and installation allows the Art of Kitchens team to provide the highest levels of service as well as the level of quality in their products. This has always been a “non-negotiable” element of the Art of Kitchens service offering and it’s one of the business areas David feels incredibly strongly about.

Art of Kitchens was still a fledgling company when David set up shop in a small 120sqm factory in Thornleigh and placed an advertisement in the local paper for kitchen renovations. A friend of the family recommended Art of Kitchens for a contract to supply 300 kitchens per year and it was this opportunity that allowed Art of Kitchens to flourish and grow. David was quickly the employer of 10-12 cabinetmakers with a long list of happy customers, and thriving on the challenge of kitchen design.

At this time there were no specialist courses available so David invested time and energy into becoming a self-taught cabinetmaker and designer. When it became available, he then undertook the Certified Kitchen Designer course in 1994 which was then administered by the Housing Industry Association.

Moving on

The Thornleigh factory was quickly outgrown, so Art of Kitchens moved to another site in the same suburb with a larger space of 300sqm. Over the next few years, to accommodate continued growth, David and his team slowly took over all the space in the complex to eventually have five factory units totalling around 1500sqm. In 2002, when this space became too small for their operations, David made the decision to move into a purpose-built factory space in Mt Kuring-gai which was supplemented by a showroom in Pennant Hills and then Cammeray which was opened in 2009. Come 2018, another move was required but this move was to a new, purpose-built site in the same street in Mt Kuring-gai.

Moving on

The Thornleigh factory was quickly outgrown, so Art of Kitchens moved to another site in the same suburb with a larger space of 300sqm. Over the next few years, to accommodate continued growth, David and his team slowly took over all the space in the complex to eventually have five factory units totalling around 1500sqm. In 2002, when this space became too small for their operations, David made the decision to move into a purpose-built factory space in Mt Kuring-gai which was supplemented by a showroom in Pennant Hills and then Cammeray which was opened in 2009. Come 2018, another move was required but this move was to a new, purpose-built site in the same street in Mt Kuring-gai.

Art of Kitchens, under the leadership of David and Ingrid, has had a long history of giving back to the industry.

When David was looking for his apprenticeship position, it was very difficult as spaces were rare and many business owners were not willing to take on someone just starting out. David feels his time as an apprentice was such a huge part of his learning curve and he made sure to invest plenty of his time in learning and honing his craft.

From the very beginning, Art of Kitchens has had the policy to employ apprentices and has now seen 40 young people through their initial training. Many apprentices have gone on to stay with Art of Kitchens and ongoing training and professional development is the backbone of the Art of Kitchens philosophy. Both the current Operations Manager and Check Measurer started with the company as apprentices and now assist David in training and mentoring the next generation of cabinet makers.

David also spent many years on the Housing Industry Association (HIA) Kitchen & Bathroom Committee, a voluntary position he happily contributed his time and expertise to, because of his wish to continue to give back to the industry. Ingrid brings a wealth of admin experience to the team and supports David as the business changes and evolves.

Art of Kitchens, under the leadership of David and Ingrid, has had a long history of giving back to the industry.

When David was looking for his apprenticeship position, it was very difficult as spaces were rare and many business owners were not willing to take on someone just starting out. David feels his time as an apprentice was such a huge part of his learning curve and he made sure to invest plenty of his time in learning and honing his craft.

From the very beginning, Art of Kitchens has had the policy to employ apprentices and has now seen 40 young people through their initial training. Many apprentices have gone on to stay with Art of Kitchens and ongoing training and professional development is the backbone of the Art of Kitchens philosophy. Both the current Operations Manager and Check Measurer started with the company as apprentices and now assist David in training and mentoring the next generation of cabinet makers.

David also spent many years on the Housing Industry Association (HIA) Kitchen & Bathroom Committee, a voluntary position he happily contributed his time and expertise to, because of his wish to continue to give back to the industry. Ingrid brings a wealth of admin experience to the team and supports David as the business changes and evolves.

For not only David and Ingrid, but all of the staff, Art of Kitchens is more than a business, it’s a passion.

Plans for the future include a possible additional showroom location and extra designers on staff plus, of course, new apprentices.
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