Kitchen Makeover

Creating a Kitchen Diner – Part 1

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!

Original Kitchen with Access to Garden

Original Kitchen

It was a happy day when we were able to take the oven and kitchen units out.

Kitchen After Units Were Removed

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.

Removing the Wall Between the Dining Room and Kitchen

So the little windows were blocked up and a larger window was installed in place of the door.

Alterations to Windows and Doors

We now had a space that would allow us to more than double our original work surface area.

Installation of Window

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.

Built In Cupboards with Integrated Appliances

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.

Installation of Ikea Hyttan Kitchen

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.

Tiled Wall
The plate rack on the wall is the one I repainted and am now using in the bathroom.

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.

Decision Time for a Paint Colour

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!

Tall Units Painted in Pavilion Gray

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!’

Wall of Tiles

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.

Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen Makeover



    1. Thanks Shelley, so glad I had the door to the garden moved elsewhere, what with ‘dog and boy’ coming in and out constantly. Claire xo

    1. Thanks Anne, I am waiting for a day with some good light to take the photos for Part 2…hopefully, with spring here I should have to wait too long. Cheerio Claire

    1. Thank you, the paint is fast becoming my favourite colour. I am looking around wondering, ‘What can I paint now?’ Claire xo

  1. Hi Claire, wondering what the worktop is and is it Ikea as well? And when you painted the kitchen cupboards did you need to paint a special base coat on first to allow the paint to properly adhere to the cupboards?

    1. Hi Julia, our kitchen worktop is a granite called Juparana Fantastico. I went to my local granite man looking for something completely different but that is what I walked out with – that’s the way it goes sometimes 😉 I have had a few people message me about how I painted my units, so I’ve decided to write a blog about it. I will publish it later this week, so keep an eye out for it because it will have a step-by-step guide. Cheerio Claire

  2. Amazing desig, materials and workmanship. I have this huge task ahead of me and dreading it… would you be kind enough to share details of your builders with me?

    1. Thanks for your compliments Bea! The building company we used are called Libra Construction who are based in Sidcup (south east London). Their number is 020 8302 1826 and I dealt with the company director, Richard Green, who made sure his staff were doing a great job. We didn’t have Libra fit the kitchen though – we used our trusted carpenter who travels to us from Tunbridge Wells, so it depends on where you live whether he would be any use to you. Good luck with your huge task…it will be worth all the dirt and dust in the end. Claire =)

  3. Do you have any tips for painting the kitchen cupboard doors?
    Preparation of the doors, paint type, brushes etc.
    Do the carcasses stay plain ?
    Looks great !

    1. Hi Christine,
      Thanks for stopping by my blog. Regarding painting our kitchen, I only painted the doors – not the carcasses…I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone painting the carcasses before. I have had a few people message me about how I painted my units, so I’ve decided to write a blog about it. I will publish it later this week, so keep an eye out for it because it will have a step-by-step guide for the preparation and painting the cupboard doors. Cheerio Claire

  4. Love! Thank you for sharing! How did you find painting the ikea cabinets? Did you have to rub them down/ sand before as they come varnished / finished. Thinking of doing this ourselves, you’ve achieved a high end painted kitchen on an ikea budget. Genius!

    1. Hi Danielle,
      Thanks for your kind words! Painting a kitchen is a big job but I just did a few doors at a time so it seemed more manageable. I have had a few people message me about how I painted my units, so I’ve decided to write a blog about it. I will publish it later this week, so keep an eye out for it because it will have a step-by-step guide. Good luck if you do decide to give it a go, Claire 🙂

  5. You’ve created a really lovely kitchen. I love the colour choices. I think you made the right decision to not paint the wall of cabinets black. It would have been too overpowering. What a fantastic result!

    1. Thank you, Phillip! I deliberated a LONG time about the colour for the tall cupboards, so it is really nice to hear from someone who thinks I chose well. Best wishes, Claire

  6. Your kitchen diner looks great! Would you mind telling us the dimensions of each of the kitchen and the diner space (wall to wall)? We’re looking at a very similar design and I’m concerned there won’t be enough space to walk past the table without pushing it to one side as you mentioned. What size is your new table alai? Thanks in advance.

    1. Thanks Brenda, we really enjoy our new kitchen diner! Our kitchen diner is 3.6m wide. The length of the dining room from the mirrors to the edge of the granite worktop is 3.3m. The kitchen from the outer edge of the granite worktop to the window is 3.1m. The table is 90cm wide x 2m long – so it is a long table but there are two things that make this ok. One is that the chairs run along the length of it so we don’t need to have allocated chair space at the ends. Also, the table works the other way too – going across the room rather than running down the room. This is the way I prefer it as I like the chairs to be on the rug when they are pulled out and the rug is just short of this. Having it turned also gives us plenty of room to have people sitting as well as people walking behind the people seated. Hope this helps. Cheerio Claire

  7. I think you’ve worked a miracle in your kitchen, which inspires me to fill in a missing section of our pantry wall using Ikea cabinets! Can I make a suggestion about the cooker hood extension? If it is not cost effective at this stage, is there any way you can get Keith or your handyman to ‘box’ in the top (perhaps with plywood painted to match the hood), and molding to finish off the look? I seriously do think it would make the profile more cohesive. Cheers heather

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