Getting a handle on things

We visit A LOT of display homes and I’m the kind of person that likes to open every door and look in every cupboard. Some would call it being nosey, I call it – a thorough investigation of my surroundings.

You would be surprised at what I find, putting aside the hordes of un-used styling items and the remains of building debris, sawdust and wood offcuts that were never cleaned out before the home was opened to the public. I find a lot of door handles. These are handles that have been ripped off, broken off, or had mysteriously teleported their way inside the cupboard.

It’s not a great look from a potential buyers point of view. “Hey we should upgrade our handles, we will get a good 12 months use out of these ones.”


Surprising enough, out of the 6 – 12 broken handles I have found, these are one of the main culprits.


It seems to be a really popular handle, a lot of the Porter Davis houses have them installed. So if you have picked this handle and have them going into your home… you may want to buy a couple extra as replacements.



I’m not a big fan of handles that stick out in any way, I hate it when you’re walking along and suddenly jerk to a stop when your clothing is caught on a handle.

And I always end up with bruises on the outside of my thighs or hips from knocking into them. Maybe my spacial awareness is just out of calibration.

I wanted to go with a kitchen with no handles and was heartened by seeing so many show homes displaying this option.



So there are a couple of options.

You can get the door panel bevelled, this creates an area that your fingers slip behind and then you pull the door open.

I understand you can get this done on the Laminate, Vinyl Wrap and Colour Tec.



I prefer the Finger pull option, where you get your fingers fully in behind the panel and you pull with the pads of your fingers, not just the tips.


Having opened and closed all the cupboards and doors I could find in the huge range of Porter Davis Display Homes, I found that every house seems to have different measurements for their finger pull area. How could this be – is nothing standard? Apparently not.

According to the Kitchen Culture Consultant we had, this is because the PD Interior designer who spec’ed the house, choose the sizing. Once the plans are drawn up, they go directly the KC build-team and skip the consultants, so the KC consultants never get to review or correct anything that is not standard, has incorrect sizing or is non-functional. But damn it looks good!



So here’s how it works.

You start with Shadow Line, this was in our “Dream Life” Kitchen upgrade package (for the kitchen benches only, we had to pay for it as extra upgrades in the galley and laundry areas). Shadow line is 16mm thick, the thickness of a piece of MDF.

The Shadow Line is the recessed line between the cupboard and the stone. It can be coloured the same as the front panels or it can be black to give more emphasis.





What does it look like without Shadow Line you ask? Well, it was very hard to find a photo of a unit without it. It seems like PD upgrades every single room in every single home they have on display.

Photo from another volume builder

No shadow line

Photo of an end panel – but it gives you an idea of what you would get if you didn’t upgrade.



Once you have Shadow Line, you can add “Square Edge Negative detail.” This is the part where the cabinetry is build so you can hook your fingers behind the door to pull it.




Some homes have a very short distance between the top of the panel and the stone bench top. This was prevalent in the Rochdale 33 in Lyndarum. When you slip your fingers in and pull, this can be very painful as all the weight of the pot draw goes on the back of your fingers as they press up against the stone -ouch! Now this was with an empty drawer imagine a full pot drawer – Double ouch!

So in true Goldilocks style, we drove to every display home that had it on display and measured them all, finding the one that fitted us the best.


The Winner was Mernda’s Forsyth 38. 


There were a couple of losers.

It’s important that the end panel matches the height of the front door panel. It looks like this side panel slipped down the vanity, but its attached at this height – Fail!


Such a little slot to slip your fingers into – Fail!



Armed with my measurements and photos, I was prepared for my Kitchen Culture meeting at World of Style.



It took a few back and forths with KC to get it right, this was one area of the house I was not backing down on, its the Fire Ox in me.

I insisted on the correct measurement so much, that in the end, the Kitchen Culture Consultant ended up drawing it into our kitchen design drawings.

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During my Kitchen Culture meeting, I was told, “No my dishwasher did not need a handle” phew. I had been concerned about it and no one at WOS had been able to give me an answer. I wasn’t sure how an integrated dishwasher worked in terms of the washes door panel height and the height and negative edge. But its all good.




You would think that not having any handles would save you money, well you and I would both be wrong. Not only did it not save me money, it cost me a fair bit.

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For those that like the handle thing…

We had an approximate sales quote from PD, I was quoted $400 for Cat 4 handles in the whole house. Now, I count 48 potential handles in my house, $400 – that would have been less than the Cat 1 pricing, maybe its a ploy to fall in love with Cat 4 and then be told it would cost $2,400 to do it – got to love those Sales guys. My Negative Edge Finger Pull doesn’t look so expensive now.



I opped for push-to-open drawers for the lower drawers rather than lines of Square Edge Negative detail as I didn’t want to take away from our Shaker V Line profile.

When I upgraded the kitchen bench to have pot drawers I thought I would be choosing the standard options on offer and did not do a lot of research into all the other options available.

This was my downfall.

I knew I wanted push-to-open combined with a soft close drawer system and I am still a little lost in regards to what I am getting. I know that the top row of drawers are not push-to-open and just have the soft close system, I think the bottom two rows are push to open and the PTO mechanism incorporates a soft close system. Then I was told that apparently I now needed to have full extension runners and they also had to be heavy duty, more costs, sigh.

I’m not a fan of the full extension drawers and did not go into the KC appointment thinking we would take them. I don’t really see the point (and still don’t.) The drawer is shorter inside so that the back plate ends in line with the bench top. You lose more space inside the drawer. I think its a ploy to sell an upgrade but was told I had no choice but to get them – Hmmm. I guess this is how most people feel when attending their WOS appointments. Overwhelmed and under-informed, relying on a consultant and hoping they haven’t just lead you down the garden path.


Just while we are on the subject of pot drawers and utensil drawers, here’s a couple of other things worth keeping in mind.

Assess what you currently own in terms of whiteware, bakeware, pots, glasses (including wine) and bowls, plan for future expansion and decide the flow of your kitchen layout – where are you going to put everything. There is no point having the spatulas and whisks kept in a utensil drawer on the other side of the kitchen to the stove top. Dave likes the glasses and plates close to the dishwasher for easy access when unloading. That’s what he wants, so that’s what he’s getting. It is a fact that no husband was ever killed while unloading a dishwasher.

Measure out the height your drawers need to be. There is nothing worse than the triangle grater not fitting in the drawer that you want it to live in.

I want my glasses and plates to be kept in drawers, so I made sure I had my measurements ready for the Kitchen Culture apointment.


There are several different pot drawer configurations available and we chose the option for 1x short drawer and 2x medium drawers, this fitted everything we needed.  The top three short drawers along the kitchen bench will be used as utensil and cutlery drawers. Plates, glasses and bowels in the middle row and pots, pans and bakeware in the bottom row. The bar will have a set of 3 drawers and cupboards for the cocktail equipment and wine paraphernalia. Everything else will live in the Galley.




A few more costs…

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Our signed Kitchen Culture plans…

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Master Ensuite

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The below photos are of the Rochdale 33 in Wollert.

The Style is Barcelona, the cabinet colour is Battalion, the profile is textured Shaker V Line, the pot drawers are 1 profile across all 3 drawers as opposed to each individual drawer having its own profile and there is not a handle in sight.

This is me! Wrap it up in a bow and I’ll take it home.

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Kitchen, Galley, Laundry – mine will look just like this.





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