29 May 2018 38 comments

Our Kitchen Renovation.

Our kitchen…

Well, hasn’t this post been a long time coming? It always takes me a while to feel like my rooms are ready to be presented to the world as a completed room tour, but I have to say that the kitchen has really taken shape recently and I think I would even go as far as saying it’s finished (bar a few minor details!)

I’ve said before that we bought this flat knowing it was a fixer-upper, and the kitchen was top priority. It was abhorrent. Not just from first glance, but behind the scenes too – a real cowboy builder job. The cupboards weren’t even sealed off at the back! Just exposed brickwork… very raw space.

When I thought about the room that I wanted, I thought of a warm, relaxing space that was styled but not cluttered. I wanted somewhere we could sit for hours in the evenings or over weekend breakfasts and chat or sit at our laptops, or have friends over for dinner in a kitchen that was practical (I love to cook!) and homely.
It ended up more white that I had wanted; originally we had wooden floorboards (but they didn’t weather well so the tiles came later), so I went for the marble-effect laminate and kept everything neutral so there was colour from the wood and mint and brass touches. When we decided to get tiles, I couldn’t find anything that would suit the room as much as these mosaic hexagon tiles, so we decided to go for it.
I think the dark grout gives it a bit of an edge, and we added these H&M green curtains for more colour.

I had planned to buy a nicer table at some point too, but that never happened and we still have a cheapie number from eBay that was meant to be a temporary job! I guess we’re stuck with it…
The chairs are the Wishbone style that I picked up online along the way (probably eBay again) and I think our Smeg fridge is the pièce de résistance. Just the most mesmerising pop of colour!

The shelves are the String Pocket Shelves, they sit above our coffee machine (see a post on that here)and are filled with random cups and saucers, plants and coffee-related items. I love these shelves, I think open shelving is such a fun way to have a very fluid room – you can change it up with very little effort and cost.

The before and after…

We changed absolutely everything when we renovated our kitchen; the layout was altered completely, a gas hob was added, we thought of a solution for the unsightly and impractical boiler cupboard, the floors were sanded and a pantry and storage “loft” were built. We even had a dishwasher plumbed in, and the washing machine moved all the way down to the pantry area!

I also decided to do away with top cabinets as these were something I never felt we needed, which is the same for the extractor fan. I always thought I could add both back in if we missed them, but that day never came, which I’m beyond happy about.
Instead I went for quite a different backsplash; herringbone tiles with white grout and the edges left unfinished. I still love this design, it suits our kitchen so well and looks so fresh and clean.

It goes without saying that I was a kitchen designing novice before I started on this; sadly Jordie and I are pretty much the most incapable DIY-ers to exist, but I pushed through and I was so happy with myself when the big renovation process was finished.
I used the IKEA kitchen design tool to plan out our space, which was surprisingly easy for someone who is generally pretty terrible at these sorts of things! Lots of measuring and altering, but I got there.

We only had a few minor hiccups during the whole process, but luckily IKEA have thought of most issues and we were pretty much covered. For example, we have a slightly curved wall that finishes just before our fridge, we were planning on having a normal sized (60cm) unit in here but the curved wall meant that we couldn’t do this. In the end we found a slim slide-out unit that worked perfectly (and it’s just the right size for holding my condiment collection!).
There’s so many solutions, so keep an open mind and research ideas if you have a bit of a tricky layout or there’s a certain something bothering you.

The other issue I remember running in to was the worktops; I wanted a simple marble-effect laminate and I liked a B&Q option. Unfortunately, the IKEA cabinets seem to be deeper than your average kitchen unit and the worktops we found were too small. In the end we purchased the more expensive breakfast bar sized worktop and had it trimmed to size. A minor inconvenience, but something to watch out for.

A lot of what you see now came afterwards, like the string shelves and the brass rail on the other side (which I made myself using copper pipe and these).
It took us a while to get settled in the space and think about what we wanted on those blank walls, but I think we made the right decisions in the end. Patience truly is a virtue!
It started as a bit of a shell when we first got through the big renovations (evidence here and here!) but we’ve brought it to life through the little details!

My advice…

We lived with our kitchen for about a year and a half before we decided to tackle it, and in this time I made a mental note of everything I wanted to change.
Our previous kitchen had all cupboards, and I hated them – everything was always lost and I could never truly make use of the space, so when I designed the new kitchen I made sure it was drawers all the way. Best decision ever.

The IKEA design tool is so good for this, you can select the units you want to suit your space. I really didn’t know where to put what when it came to our kitchen, so I didn’t even try and overthink it. I’m sure this is something you can change later if needed, but ours actually ended up working out fine. The cutlery drawer is in a good place, we have a hidden drawer for spices, and lots of drawers for plates, pans etc.

Hopefully your refurb project won’t be as crazy as ours, but dedicate some time to planning and research anyway. See your cabinets and hardware in person, and really think about what you want from your new kitchen.
My most useful bit of advice for anyone doing any sort of renovation work is to stick to your guns. If you want something done, do it right the first time. I know what it’s like when builders make you feel like something is a big job, but put your foot down! You’re hopefully going to do this only once, so make it right.

The pantry is probably my favourite addition, we added double doors so we can close it up if needed and we added a storage area at the top that holds suitcases and Jordan’s out of control CD collection.
I went to town on some IKEA jars and my Dymo Label Maker, and I love how organised it is. It’s also a great place for my many, many cocktail glasses!

I feel oddly proud seeing this come together, I didn’t have any kitchen planning experience to my name before this and I really felt lost when we started to design the new space – but I did it!
It’s a really welcoming, bright room and I feel like it’s quite serene too. The white mixed with the cool mint and endless greenery has a very calming effect to it, which is probably why I spend more time in here doing work than I do at my actual desk!

Has this inspired you to give your kitchen a little rejig? What are your renovation concerns?

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