Sam:
Well, this is pretty fresh, mate, minty fresh, al fresco area. What do you call this?
Rex:
I don’t know the name of the colour to be quite candid. It’s a Dulux one. One of our staff designed this kitchen. He was very keen on this green, so I thought let’s do it.
Sam:
I don’t mind it outside actually. And the interesting thing is in Tazzy we don’t do a lot of al fresco areas like this because there’s not as much time spent outside. Obviously in your market, over here on the mainland, warmer weather, it actually works. So you’re seeing a bit more growth in that market you were saying?
Rex:
Yeah, I think that’s a good observation. Clearly Brisbane grew it, it’s come down to Sydney, and now Melbourne is seeing a lot of growth in al fresco.
Sam:
Is that due to global warming do you think, Rex?
Rex:
Melbourne’s climate is probably a bit cooler than Sydney and Brisbane always has been, but we are nonetheless seeing a big growth now in al fresco dining.
Sam:
So you must have seen a big shift in the industry over the 48 years you’ve been doing this. Just wind back and talk us through what does that last 48 years look like?
Rex:
Well when we started, we were building cabinets with laminated insides. That was a huge quantum leap because the average kitchen was just raw chipboard. From there, we’ve now gone the full trip. Australia has mostly now 650 or 700 millimetre deep benches, fully laminated cabinets, lots of really good equipment inside a cabinet, with all manner of rollout fittings and God knows what. I think it’s fair to say that today the kitchen is very much the hub of the home.
Sam:
You’re 138 years old, Rex; you must be getting tired. I think it’s time to go and chill out in an al fresco area and down a beer. Have you got one close by we can go and have a look at?
Rex:
Actually yes, I have. There’s one up the hill. Let me ring the lady, ask her if she’s happy for us to pop up and have a look. We can go up there. No problem.
Sam:
This is quite a specy little piece of architecture here, Rex.
Rex:
It’s good isn’t it.
Sam:
Is this some of your work or is this the architect’s?
Rex:
Combination.
Sam:
Yeah?
Rex:
Part of it’s mine, part of it’s his.
Sam:
Tell me about it.
Rex:
Well, the reason I got involved in the design of it was the fact that the cabinetry, with nothing above it, would have been exposed to the elements and would have been ruined very quickly. So we fiddled around for a week or more actually, with working out how could we protect the cabinetry. One thought was a sort of almost a B&D roller door. In the end we put a little awning like this up. It does a good job of protecting it.
Sam:
It would have been pretty daggy with a roller door on the front.
Rex:
I think so.
Sam:
Well actually, as a piece of architecture it’s feeling whole.
Rex:
It works.
Sam:
But once again, that’s the architect’s role mate, isn’t it? Not the joiner.
Rex:
No, it’s a combination of two people putting their heads together. One of the things I did want to incorporate into this al fresco was a big Fisher and Paykel, 900 millimetre-wide Dish Drawer, because with a barbecue you’ve got big platters, and you’ve got the grill elements. You can put all these large items into the dishwasher, whereas a more normal conventional two-foot-wide, or a 60 centimetre-wide dishwasher isn’t going to do it.
Sam:
And that’s okay to be outside?
Rex:
Oh yeah, fine. No problem.
Sam:
I’ll tell you what, I’ve got a little present for you, Rex. I’ve brought a six pack of Tazzy beer over. Let’s sit down in the lounge here and have a conversation, and see if I’m going to get these three points or if you’re going to get these three points. Rexinator, what are those, mate?
Rex:
They’re my Tom Cruise glasses.
Sam:
Hey Rex, what do you think about doing a shoey? I’ll pour this in here and you skull it.
Rex:
I would have, but I know you didn’t wash your feet this morning.
Sam:
It’s done a few shoeys over the days.
Rex:
Really? Daniel Ricciardo, eat your heart out.
Sam:
It’s been an amazing journey, from going to see kitchen design through to kitchen finishes, spending some time in your showroom, understanding storage, seeing how you’ve done al fresco on a bunch of other different projects. I have to give it to you, Rex; I think that you can design.
Rex:
Agreed. I’m the design master, Sam.
Sam:
That’s taking it a bit far, Rex. I don’t think I called you anything master.
Rex:
But at least you could agree I could probably be an architect anyway.