The biggest renovation project in our house, which we put off for as long as we could, was our kitchen and dining room. It just seemed too overwhelming…we needed to get builders in for this part and I am so glad that I watched a lot of Cowboy Builders, because the tips I picked up for dealing with builders came in very handy. If I just focus on the kitchen, it had grease everywhere, cracking walls, uneven floors, odd window placement, exposed gas pipes and an oven with a top temperature of 150 degrees – so not the best for function or form!
It was a happy day when we were able to take the oven and kitchen units out.
We had builders take down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, in preparation for a family friendly kitchen diner. I was amazed by how quickly this solid wall came down – one minute it was there and the next it wasn’t, although an unbelievable amount of dust replaced it. I also wanted to change the placement of the windows and doors. In the end we decided to block the door in the kitchen up. This meant people wouldn’t have to walk through the kitchen to get to the garden. It also allowed me to run units along the back wall, which added a nice amount of useful storage space and work surface.
So the little windows were blocked up and a larger window was installed in place of the door.
We now had a space that would allow us to more than double our original work surface area.
My dream kitchen was a painted ‘in frame’ kitchen. I was about to order it when, on a whim, we decided to go for the Ikea Hyttan kitchen. It definitely was cheaper but that wasn’t the reason we chose it. The sizes available enabled us to do a whole wall of built in units, from floor to ceiling, integrating all the appliances. I loved this idea! So our very trusty and capable carpenter did an amazing job installing our Ikea kitchen to our wonky walls.
We were having the base units come out into the room, creating a low division between the kitchen and the dining room. I had our carpenter build onto the back of these cupboards, resulting in more storage and an extra wide work surface. I also had the electrician install a power socket in the cupboard, adding more flexibility when using the space.
I installed a whole wall of tiles behind the cooker. These are the same tiles we used in our bathroom, but I only used one of the colours. Once again I converted our Tesco points to Topps Tiles vouchers and used them to buy ALL of these tiles. It is really difficult tiling tiles that have a slightly uneven edge, because to some degree you have to line them up by eye rather than being able to rely on tile spacers. I was up and down from the cupboards every few tiles to make sure I was getting a good line.
So all the finishing touches were done and we were really happy with how the space functioned. BUT…annoyingly…I still couldn’t get those painted kitchen units out of my mind so six months ago I decided to take on the mammoth task of painting the kitchen cabinet doors. I painted the base units in an off black by Farrow & Ball called Railings No.31, but couldn’t decide what to do with the floor to ceiling units. I absolutely love all black kitchens but I wasn’t sure our smallish kitchen could cope with such a towering expanse of black.
I thought about the paint colour for these doors for six months. I took advice from trusted friends and family and two weeks ago I finally finished painting the kitchen. The chosen colour was Farrow & Ball Pavilion Gray No. 242 – not as striking as the black would have been but for the purpose of light, the better choice…and here in London, light can definitely be an issue!
Sometimes I wonder whether I should order the extension piece for the hood so it can go all the way up to the ceiling, but I’m not sure it bothers me enough to justify the cost. When my mum bought new clothes she’d always tell us they weren’t new, they were just something she had hanging around in her closet. If I went ahead with the extension piece, I think I could adopt a similar strategy with my husband, Keith…’oh, it has always been like that!’
So that’s it! Part one – the kitchen in our kitchen diner and I look forward to sharing part two – the diner in our kitchen diner.
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