This week (and weekend) has been absolutely manic. All of a sudden, everyone who couldn’t do any work for weeks decided that they could do it RIGHT NOW, so suddenly, after living in a building site since June, we were having worktops delivered and choosing tiles and living off baguettes and cheese (which is actually not much of a hardship) as our cooker and hob were out of action. If you’ve been following my kitchen story, you can skip this bit, but if not, let me take you back, waaaaay back *does weird wobbly hand movements to indicate going back in time*.
This was our kitchen when we first moved in. It was okay I guess, nothing special. The tiles were dated and the worktop and cupboard sides were in a pretty yucky orangey wood effect:
The dining room next door was unloved, dark and always seemed cold. So down came the wall, and in went a beam, and we started talking about new kitchens…
It soon became apparent, though, that on our budget, we weren’t going to get a brand new kitchen. It’s quite a large space and we were talking the best part of £20,000. We ended up keeping all the cupboards, which are a pretty standard gloss white, and compromising by changing all the handles, getting rid of all the orange fake wood (even the end panels – these are now gloss white), adding a new oak effect laminate work surface (I was 100% against this, but it seems laminates have come on in leaps and bounds – you wouldn’t even know it wasn’t real wood), making it wider so we now have a breakfast bar, and replacing the sinks, taps, hob, and cooker.
After obsessing about patterned tiles, I surprised myself by choosing plain, but rustic looking tiles, in a simple checkerboard pattern in white and pale grey (60% off at Homebase). I figured that we’ve got so much patterned crockery, it might all clash and end up looking a hideous mess. I’m really pleased with the finished result, which I think looks clean and fresh. We’re really lucky that Mr E’s nephew, Dan, has been absolutely brilliant and done loads of work for us. He suggested enhancing the handmade tiles with slightly wider grout gaps between each one, and I totally agree. It looks fab. Add in the new (but discontinued, so much cheaper) Smeg hob and sink and a Stoves oven on sale (and also now discontinued, but similar to this one) from John Lewis, the whole look is a great improvement. I’m chuffed to bits with it.
Before the worktops were fitted, we had to empty all the cupboards, and I took this time to really assess all the kitchen stuff I’ve got and get rid of lots of bits and pieces that I really don’t need or use. The happy result was lots of empty cupboards and, consequently, much more room to put things away, freeing up work surface room. The longest run of worktop (where the divide between the rooms used to be) is much wider than the original worktop, meaning that we can use it as a breakfast bar, and my insistence on keeping the hob in the middle (despite one kitchen fitter saying that it was dangerous) means that I can be cooking and not have to have my back to our guests at the table. I’m chuffed with it. And the whole lot (purchased over several months) came to under £5,000. We’ve still got to replace the horrible orangey floor, but still, it’s a great start, and I can’t wait to get cooking again!