we are changing everything

We Are Changing Everything* (*Our Kitchen)

Happy Easter, everyone*!

(*Or those who celebrate it/have some time off, anyway.)

So, I wasn’t actually going to bother posting anything today, because it’s Easter Sunday, and I’m sure you all have much better things to do with your time than read my blog, when you could be eating chocolate eggs (Which is probably what I’LL be doing by the time you read this, funnily enough…), but then I realised that would mean leaving you all in suspense about the state of my oddly swollen eyelid, so let the record show that my eyelid is, indeed, back to normal:

Fashion and lifestyle blogger Amber McNaught / Forever Amber

Of course, by “normal” I’m obviously referring to the new “normal” in which my eyelashes are but stubby little shadows of their former selves (Thanks for all of your advice on that, by the way: I’ll let you know how I get on!), but hey – I can wear mascara again, so that’s the main thing, isn’t it?

Anyway, with that little update out of the way, the exciting news from this week (And by “exciting news,” I mean, “only to me and Terry,”- and, actually, I don’t think Terry’s all that excited, really, given that it’s going to be a whole lot of work for him…) is that WE HAVE ORDERED A NEW KITCHEN! OMG!

Yes, folks, after almost four years of patiently explaining to people that, no, I don’t think I actually WILL ever come to love our dark, gloomy kitchen, with its odd, “country farmhouse” style floor (Which would be totally fine, by the way, if we actually lived in, you know, a country farmhouse. Or if whoever laid that floor hadn’t smeared cement all over the top of it, thus ensuring that it would ALWAYS look dirty, even when it was squeaky clean.), we have finally – FINALLY – taken the first steps in replacing both it, and the flooring in the adjoining living room and hall. It’s… going to be a big job. A REALLY big job. Probably even bigger than that one time we decided to fit a new radiator in the bathroom of our old house, and it took five years, plus every last shred of my sanity. GOD.

Replacing the kitchen itself is probably going to be the easiest part of all of this, in that we’re not changing the layout, just the cabinets. This, in itself, however, is still going to be hella awkward, because it turns out our kitchen cabinets are a non-standard size, so we have to get the upper cabinets from one company (If you’re thinking it’s going to be IKEA, then I’m guessing you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, huh?), and the bottom cabinets (Or new doors for them, anyway: we’ll be keeping the actual cabinets…) from somewhere else. Oh, and because the bottom cabinets are ALSO a non-standard size, they’ll all have to be pulled out a few inches, in order to accommodate the new integrated appliances I decided I just couldn’t live without, thus casually adding another few hundred £££ onto the already-scary price-tag. We’re spending a lot of time repeating the words, “It’ll be totally worth it, though!” right now, needless to say.

That’s the easy bit, though.

The hard bit, meanwhile, is going to be replacing the kitchen floor, which first of all means taking up the existing kitchen floor… which is tile, cemented straight onto concrete. (No, we can’t just put the new flooring over it without having to raise the living room and hall floors, and replace all of the doors, including the two exterior ones…) Yeah. When we first bought this house, we actually had a tiler come round and give us a quote on doing that, and his main piece of advice was, “Don’t even think about it.” He then quoted us a price which would’ve allowed us to buy TWO new kitchens* (*No it wouldn’t. It was a lot, though.), which is why we’re going to be doing this ourselves, as you might have seen on my Instagram stories this week:

what could possibly go wrong?

Yeah, I lasted approximately 2 minutes before declaring that this was BORING and I was DONE, and hey, Ima go upstairs now, where it’s nice and clean and tidy, and there are no hammers and… other things. But at least I tried.

(Also, this is actually the most accurate photo I’ve managed to take of the kitchen floor. For some reason it always comes out looking much better in photos, but not this time, so, see how totally filthy it looks? That’s not actually dirt – no, seriously, I promise it’s not dirt! – it’s just the way the floor always looks, thanks to the spectacularly bad tiling job. I normally get a bit sentimental when we’re changing something in the house, even if it’s something I really WANT to change, but I hate this floor so much I got quite a kick out of smashing it up, even although it wasn’t nearly as easy or as satisfying as I thought it would be. Like, it turns out tiles are REALLY hard to remove (WHO KNEW?), whereas I thought it would be a bit like peeling off your Shellac polish, when you can’t be bothered soaking it off. Er, not that I would EVER do that, obviously. Ahem.)

breaking up the kitchen floorMAN BREAK THINGS.

Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that we should hopefully end up with a pretty cool kitchen AND downstairs flooring that doesn’t have to be cleaned every time I look at it. (You think I’m exaggerating about that. I only wish that were true.), but we will have to endure a whole world of pain to get to that point. In fact, by the time we take up the existing floor, replace it with a new one (er, FIND a new floor to replace it with…), and do all of the kitchen stuff, we’re probably looking at at least a couple of months of absolute chaos. AT LEAST. I mean, the last time we replaced a kitchen (Because, no, this is not our first rodeo, kids. WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?), it was:

a) A much smaller kitchen


b) A much less complicated job

…and it STILL took at least two months, if memory serves.

Terry has informed me that this project is going to be AT LEAST 100X worse, so… does anyone have a spare bedroom I could borrow for the next few weeks? I promise to keep it really, really clean and tidy? Anyone?

we are changing everythingSo, that’s what’s been occupying our minds this week. Just to make sure things drag on for as long as possible, the first half of the new kitchen will be delivered this coming Thursday, and the second half won’t be arriving until a week later. Oh, and we haven’t even PICKED the flooring yet: we’ve been shopping for it, and we have some samples on the way as I write this, but we haven’t actually found something that we’re 100% happy with yet, so… it would probably have been a good idea to do that BEFORE deciding to rip the existing one up, huh?

Wow, that was a LOT of words about floors, wasn’t it? And to think that when I started this post, I’d actually intended it to be a roundup of the entire week, not just a slightly disturbing insight into the amount of time I spend thinking about flooring right now! Still, it’s probably just as well that you know what you’re in for, because from here on out, I’m willing to bet that this kitchen reno will figure prominently in my diary posts, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m sure it’ll all be worth it in the end, though. I mean, it will… right?

P.S. I write a weekly diary which goes out every Friday to my subscribers. Sign up below to get on the list...

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  • Brenda


    While all this is going on, why don’t you come to Canada for a visit? Spring is slowly starting and there is all kinds of things we could do! Banff, Lake Louise, shopping in Calgary, we could fly over to Vancouver Island for a weekend… wouldn’t that be fun? I am sincerely hoping that through this renovation you have some very good and dear friends who will take pity on you and invite you over for meals! Failing that, if you can keep your refrigerator working for as long as possible, set up a toaster oven and a BBQ, you should be ok. It might not take as long as you think! I also think that you guys have been through so much in the last few months that this will be a piece of cake!

    April 16, 2017
  • Myra Boyle


    Renovating a kitchen is a nightmare, especially when the water and electricity is turned off. And there is dust everywhere in the house! But it will all be worth it after the statutory three months and you will love it.

    April 16, 2017
  • Chiarina


    This reminds me there was something in your Instagram kitchen-floor-ripping-up story I REALLY wanted to comment about but since I couldn’t do it right there (is there a way to comment an Instagram story?) I left it for later… And I totally forgot what it was. I can’t believe my memory, nor what a waste of your time this comment is. Sorry. But I am sure the kitchen will be lovely in the end…

    April 16, 2017
  • Carys


    We have, quite literally, just finished doing all the things you have talked about here! We started on January 3rd – we’ve ripped out the old kitchen, had an extension put in, removed the floor (also disgusting tiles on concrete that were, apparently, welded down) fitted the kitchen (ourselves), laid the floor, painted everywhere and glossed all the new skirting and architrave. It was messy, dusty, made me cry at times but was it worth it? Yes, yes, one hundred times yes. I absolutely promise! I absolutely loooooooathe DIY, but thankfully my husband is an absolute genius and can do absolutely anything he puts his mind to – the new kitchen is at least 90% his work. Really though, if a grumpy DIY hater like me can survive it, I promise you can too! You will have exactly the kitchen you want at the end of it and you will (eventually) forget the weeks/months of dust and rubbish and screwdrivers and drilling and making dinner on a square metre of worktop. It will be lovely when it’s done!

    April 16, 2017
  • Miss Kitty


    This is really interesting to me right now, as we are looking at doing the same thing for my aged grandparents kitchen. They have a kitchen/dining/front entry floor in similar tiles to yours, except they are green. Who in their right mind installs green floor tiles?! My grandpa shuffles when he walks now, and because the tiles are rough, he tripped over them and has broken his kneecap. So the flooring needs to be replaced, probably with vinyl planking pr something easy to clean and maintain. But to save money the family have decided we will pull up the tiles and prep the floor ourselves. I’m dreading it to be honest, so I’m interested to see how you get on!

    April 16, 2017
  • Lori


    I cannot wait to hear all about the process of the new kitchen. We did a kitchen renovation almost two years ago. New everything floor to ceiling. I had one request – that all work be complete before I went back to school in August. Guess what? They started work August 2nd, my first day of school. There are no words to describe the complete and total havoc the brought on my life. Well, my husband’s life too but mainly mine?.

    April 17, 2017
  • Helen Love


    Looking forward to seeing the finished result! I love the before and after pics! It will be fab!!!! x

    April 17, 2017
  • I think this post has taught me I better come to love those slate grey tiles in my kitchen because I don’t think I could handle replacing them! Our house is pretty small though, so any kind of renovation and you’re probably pretty much going to have to live somewhere else for a while… Oh and on the subject of eyelashes I did just post my LiLash review – and want to add a correction to my previous comment on your blog because I didn’t mean they’d doubled in size, I meant they’d increased by half. Yeah, maths. I don’t do it for a living for a reason 😀

    April 17, 2017
  • We’re doing our kitchen soon and I can’t wait! It’s clean, tidy and functional, but we want something more glamorous and monochrome. After that it’s time to tackle the bathroom and, in a perfect world, the attic.

    April 17, 2017
  • Rachael Dickinson


    OMG! I definitely could not live with that mess – I’d be spare rooming it. It will be worth it in the end though when it is all finished. I want to do mine (it is beautiful at the minute) but I want a huge open space.

    Rachael xox

    April 18, 2017