This post has been a long time coming, but as ever life just runs away with me and I never seem to find the right time to take ‘finished’ photos. So I’m going to use a mixture of snaps from here and there, to take you through the story of our kitchen.
Grab a cuppa, this could take a while, but I hope you enjoy the flashbacks through time.
Let’s start approx 3 years ago, with the kitchen we had had for quite some time. Up until this point we didn’t have the money or inclination to do much with it, it was only really around that time, when pregnant with my second daughter Eula, that I suddenly had this need to change everything in the house. Previously I had been plodding along, disliking pretty intensely my surroundings, but equally not having the funds, energy or inspiration to do much with it. Holidays prechildren took precedence and I guess I just wasn’t as into interior design then as I am now, I think I just assumed my bog standard 80s end of terrace was ugly and that was that.
Some of you may have already seen the before pictures on a post I wrote last year, Home is where my heart is, but if not, this may come as a shock to you, prepare yourself…
Stuff. Everywhere. Oppressive, ugly, urrrgh! I look at this photo now and it makes me feel really stressed, I can remember exactly how it felt to live in that space, drowning in cupboards, shelves and things that appeared to be useful, but in actual fact were just cluttering up our lives.
Then there was the time I went a bit mad and got my Dad to wallpaper the end wall, with olive green Orla Kiely?!?! I honestly can’t tell you what I was thinking, I knew before he even started putting it up that it was wrong, just another bad move, trying to polish a problem. Poor Dad!
Then, one day I woke up and decided to get rid of about 60% of our belongings (Pregnancy nesting kind of sky rocketed for me). Donate, sell, recycle, bin, burn, out it all went. That was an unbelievably wonderful feeling. I started redecorating the bedrooms, then the living room, then, when Eula was about a year old, I ripped down all the kitchen wall cupboards whilst Stu was at work and declared, upon his return, that the kitchen renovations had begun!
Except we still didn’t have any money. So I did what I do best and sold more ‘things’ to fund essential purchases. I sold almost my entire stash of slings, parenting essentials at the time, used for carrying my babies from the moment they were born, loved and collected, but they didn’t feel like an essential by this point and they amounted to several hundred pounds that I realised I could use for a far greater purpose.
We saved money by keeping the main carcases of the base cupboards/drawers, but replaced the doors and handles (B&Q and eBay). I sourced the solid Beech worktop on eBay, it was considerably cheaper than buying from a kitchen store, but obviously more of a risk as I had only seen stock photos, impossible to truly tell the tone of the wood. The gamble paid off.
The disgusting fake terracotta tile lino was replaced with a cheap, plain grey (which was such bad quality and didn’t last 1 day before it was damaged, but still, it was a huge improvement to the Space and all I could afford at the time). Less cupboards on the walls meant the space felt lighter, bigger, less oppressive and stressful.
I opted for an under mounted sink, sourced from eBay, saving us £120. The tap was about £50 instead of in store for £150, so it really is worth looking around for what you like, then doing some hunting to find it cheaper, people so often change their minds part way through a job and sell those pieces on for a fraction of the price.
A word of warning though, I wouldn’t choose an undermounted sink with wood again (I was told this by several people, I already kind of knew it before, but I ploughed on with my vision none the less!) We will be replacing with a top mounted one of some description within the next few years I should think.
It looks lovely, but the edge of the worktop is blackening over time and splitting, despite being treated.
Fortunately my brother is a Plumber, so it shouldn’t be too tricky to change. His Carpenter friend fitted the worktop for free (in exchange for some plunbing work he needed doing) so that was a huge saving. I had a length of worktop spliced at a local Joiners, to make the splashback. At the time I didn’t want tiles, but it never fitted as I would have liked, looking great from a distance, but the reality was somewhat different.
It was all such a huge improvement, but I still wasn’t happy. I knew I’d got carried away with certain things, ignoring my instincts and letting the collecting start again, like storage pots (that I didn’t actually store much in!), the clutter felt like it was filtering back in and that was the opposite of what I wanted to achieve. It can be tricky to truly work out how you feel about certain things when you share so much on Social Media. When you get a really positive response to something, like with these shelves for example, you think yeah, they really are great, I’m definitely really happy. Except I wasn’t really. It wasn’t really me, I was pretending to be someone else, all colourful and vibrant, but in my heart I craved simplicity and natural tones.
The sunshine windows were fun at the time and definitely brightened the space further (read more about them here, including the custom paint code you can have mixed)…
But, the room still felt like a dead end, everyone would congregate in there, but it felt claustrophobic and badly designed.
It was around then that I realised the actual problem was the one I had known all along, the BIG PROBLEM, that our house just wasn’t big enough for us. No amount of redecorating could change that fact.
One thing led to another and within a very short time I was day dreaming of moving, I even convinced Stu to go and look at a house, but in the end we decided extending made much more sense. It was only then that our house really became the home I love so much now.
Read lots more about our extension here –
The day the wall at the end of the kitchen was knocked down was one of the happiest of my life! We all breathed a collective sigh of relief, light flooded in, the spaces all flowed and worked so much better together.
And so, over the last year the Kitchen has FINALLY become what I dreamed it would be. A simple, Scandinavian inspired, clutter free (most of the time) space which I am so proud of.
The addition of the matt white grid tiles a few months back has elevated the styling, pulling the room together and giving it the standard of finish I craved. Previously the wall had been in an awful condition, only further highlighted as we started to improve things around it. It was a bitch of a job though, I got the best Tiler in the area in and it almost broke her, no exaggeration. There isn’t one wall in this house that is as you would expect. We used a mid grey grout and no edging/trim around the window recess or where the tiles end on the wall, to keep everything as simple and un fussy as possible. Stu was very sceptical about the 100x100mm tiles (bought here), he feared it would, and I quote, ‘look like a Public toilet’. Thankfully I ignored his concerns and continued anyway, the room was transformed (in a good, non toilet kinda way!) and he will admit I was right, he loves it now.
I wanted to improve the lighting in the main kitchen area and decided to mirror the swagged cable idea from above the dining table. The position of your electrics really doesn’t have to dictate your room layout, simple extend the cable, pop a hook up and create the look you want.
I bought all the components needed (multi outlet ceiling rose, flex cable, wooden bulb holders etc) from Creative Cables, it’s super convenient to get everything you need from one place and they can help you with any queries you may have.
A massive thank you to my good friend Rachel for being the kind of crazy person who buys 2 sets of vintage lockers and has them couriered to Cornwall, I got straight in there when she said she may sell one lot on, they created practical storage for crockery and filled a space that felt awkward and unused.
The custom made Birch Ply cupboard is one of my favourite details, I’m a bit ply mad and this is such a tactile, gorgeous piece.
You can read lots more about it in the blog I wrote here.
There are still pops of colour here and there, like the mint hairpin legs on the dining table that I made and I love the pink details in the gallery wall.
Plants feature more than I intended, it’s that whole collecting thing again, it soon gets a bit out of control. I love the plants, but need to edit further and give some new homes.
The engineered oak flooring ties the whole ground floor together, creating a flow from space to space, adding warmth and it feels lovely underfoot. I’m of the opinion that you can never have too much wood (no pun intended) and love the mixture we have going on.
The kitchen is the heart of our home now, beautiful and completely practical to fit with our daily life.
So, I think that’s about it, a huge sigh of relief! I hope you haven’t fallen asleep, so much has happened over the years and I found it hard to edit this post to make it shorter.
I’d love to hear what you think about how the kitchen has changed, what’s your favourite part?
Don’t forget you can pin this post to come back to at a later date, perhaps you’re planning your own kitchen makeover?
Happy Thursday lovelies x