Giving old kitchens a new home

By Lauren Hermon

It’s not a case of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ for Adelaide kitchen installer, Mark Dixon.

He’s taking ‘old’ Adelaide kitchens that would otherwise be demolished and fitting them into other homes.

Now Mark’s kitchen removal and installation service, Kitchen Movers, has been recognised by Adelaide City Council for not only its innovation, but also the benefits it’s having for financially disadvantaged South Australians and the environment.

“Many of my customers experience difficult financial circumstances, so helping them to receive a kitchen they can be proud of, while experiencing the same satisfaction as if buying new, is important to me,” he says.

Blog508px - kitchen mover

Mark Dixon takes ‘old’ Adelaide kitchens on the way of being demolished and fits them into other homes

The kitchens being “thrown away”, according to Mark, are often suitable for people looking for affordable options, particularly immigrants settling in Adelaide.

“Some of my customers are Afghani and Indian and are looking for nice kitchens, but often don’t have the money for it.

“The overall concept is to ensure people are able to have a kitchen that’s affordable as they’re pretty much just paying for the labour to install it.”

Removing an ‘old kitchen’ and moving it to a different home is as “labour-intensive” as it sounds.

“We need to custom-fit the kitchen to its new location and make sure it fits the new space perfectly… to do this, buying new bench tops is often the solution,” he says.

“Your bench top is usually connected in a ‘U’ or ‘L’ shape, but if I look at the cupboards as a single unit and line them up in different areas and change that shape, then it can better fit different homes and spaces… the only sacrifice is getting rid of the original bench top, which is usually worn anyway.

“It’s a difficult process, but it’s reasonably low priced compared to buying a whole new kitchen… a lot of the time we can get an old kitchen removed and installed under $5,000.”

Blog508px - seaton

This kitchen in Seaton was removed and re-fitted at a home in Glengowrie

The concept of ‘second-hand’ kitchens may seem uncommon, but Mark’s aim to reduce landfill in the process is something he is working towards.

“Many kitchen manufacturers have a sole priority to sell a kitchen and get that kitchen into a house as soon as possible,” he explains.

“It means the old kitchen is often sacrificed, sledgehammered and thrown into a skip and dumped down at Wingfield… many perfectly good kitchens are going to the dump and it’s a great shame,” he adds.

Blog508px - glengowrie kitchen

The kitchen now located at its new Glengowrie home

It started as a simple job for his mother-in-law whose friend was looking to “get rid off a kitchen”.

“My mother-in-law wanted a new laundry and asked if I could help… so, I removed her friend’s kitchen and turned it into a laundry for my mother-in-law,” Mark laughs.

“I thought ‘wow, there must be more people that really want to do a home improvement, but haven’t got the money,” he adds.

Despite being dubbed the ‘kitchen mover’, Mark also takes second-hand kitchen cupboards and reuses them in other rooms of the house, including the bedroom and garage.

Kitchen Movers has been shortlisted in Adelaide City Council’s Social Ventures Incubator Program which supports the development of early-stage social ventures and businesses.