I feel a bit like I have a whole new house*, rather than just a new kitchen and flooring.
(*Well, downstairs, anyway. Let’s not even THINK about what the rest of the place looks like right now…)
As I’ve mentioned, we’ve been doing work to most of the ground floor of our house for the past few weeks. I’m just going to stick to the kitchen in this post, though, in a bid to try and keep it to a semi-respectable kind of length, so here’s the finished room!
And here are some of the Before & Afters…
First up, here’s what the kitchen looked like when we moved in:
We hated how dark and gloomy it felt, and, although the room itself is much bigger than the kitchen in our old house, there wasn’t quite as much storage space in the cupboards, either, which was always an issue for us. We couldn’t afford to change it right away, though, so, in our first year, we settled for changing the worktops, hob and sink, adding some lighting (and a dishwasher, courtesy of some friends of ours who had an old one sitting in their garage!), and ended up with this…
… which was an improvement, but still not anywhere even close to being our taste. (Also, you might not think it, but those brown cabinets were so hard to keep clean, and would highlight every single fingerprint, making them the bane of my life for many years…) One of the things that had always bugged me was the way none of the appliances seemed to fit the space designed for them properly: they all bulged out into the room, which looked a little bit odd to me, and also allowed dirt and food crumbs, etc, to gather in the spaces above the washing machine and below the fridge, so one of the first things we did with our remodel was to get all of the appliances integrated:
The integrated appliances all have slightly smaller capacities than the ones they replaced, but so far we haven’t really found it to be an issue – there’s only two of us, after all, so it’s not like we really need a massive fridge/freezer or dishwasher. (With this said, this is another step towards me achieving my life goal of owning a Smeg fridge, which I would put at the other end of the kitchen, and fill purely with champagne. OK, and some other drinks, too, if you insist. Mostly champagne, though.)
Here’s the Before and After for this little corner:
As you can (possibly) see, we kept the worktop, sink, hob and extractor fan, and we also kept the bottom cabinets, choosing just to replace the doors, rather than the whole thing. We got the white gloss doors (No, they’re not hard to clean…) from B&Q, but couldn’t get the top ones from there, because we really wanted to replace the cabinets, too, and have them go all the way (or almost all the way) to the ceiling, rather than having that big gap above them, which just collects dust. We got the top cabinets from IKEA, after carefully comparing them to the bottom doors, to make sure they’d match: I’m really happy with them, and it’s surprising how much storage that extra shelf gives you – just that alone gave us so much extra room, and although we obviously can’t reach the highest shelves unless we stand on something, that’s where we store all of that random stuff that hardly ever gets used, or only comes out at Christmas/if we’re having people round or whatever, so it works out fine, and leaves the lower shelves for the things we use every day.
Speaking of storage…
I’d always particularly disliked this part of the kitchen: the three different heights of the cabinets/fridge; that weird shelf for the microwave; the fridge/freezer bulging out of the gap, as if it’s trying to make its escape, with a couple of trays awkwardly piled on top of it… So we replaced it with this:
The three tall cabinets are also from IKEA, as is the new microwave – the oven is the one that came with the kitchen. Again, these go almost to the ceiling, and have given us so much extra storage, so I absolutely love them. Also, all of the white allowed us to add pops of colour with the chairs (eBay), bins (c/o Brabantia) and the Marilyn Monroe canvas, which was from B&Q a couple of years ago. Also, can I just tell you again how much I love the new floor? This is QuickStep laminate in Desert Oak Light Natural, and so far it’s been the thing that people instantly comment on when they walk into the house: even all of the many (many, many…) delivery drivers, who’ve been visiting us even MORE often lately (And, for once, all of the parcels have been for Terry, rather than me, because he’s been ordering so much DIY stuff…), and who’ve been following our progress from building site to… well, THIS.
In real life, this floor looks even more like real wood than it does in these photos, and I’m relieved to say that so far it’s been really low-maintenance, too… It’s actually still pretty dusty right now, because of all of the work that’s been done: at one point last week if you rubbed a cloth on it it would come back filthy, but you wouldn’t have known to look at it, which is a big thing for me, because our last floor would look filthy ten minutes after I’d cleaned it, even when we WEREN’T doing DIY on it. So, yeah, I’m really, really pleased with it, and I love how light and airy it’s made the whole ground floor feel. As I said, we have the same floor in the living room and hall, which I’ll be showing you soon: for now, though, here’s what this view of the kitchen looked like when we moved in:
I’m mostly showing you this because of the wall at the back of the room, which, as you can see, isn’t there now: we opened it up a few months after moving in (I literally came downstairs one night to find Terry attacking the wall with a hammer…), so now the kitchen leads right into the living room. (Also, check out those cabinets, which were even MORE confused when we moved in!)
Here are some more details…
Until I get my SMEG fridge, I’m making do with this little guy, which I found on eBay for less than half the retail price: it was a customer return, but only had one tiny mark on it, which I can totally live with. Next up: the toaster. And then the fridge. Oh yes.
Finally, can I get a massive round of applause for Terry, who did all of this (plus the living room and hall) single-handed? Seriously, how amazing is that? It’s taken almost four weeks of work, and he’s barely stopped for breath (despite my repeated pleas to just take a freaking break, for goodness sake!), but he’s done such a fantastic job, and I honestly couldn’t be more proud of him. If we’d paid someone to do all of this for us, it would’ve literally doubled the price, and we couldn’t possibly have afforded it, so although I know it’s been a tough few weeks, and I don’t think he ever wants to see another kitchen cabinet in his life, it’s definitely been worth it. So thank you, Terry: and I promise I’ll wait a respectable amount of time before I start dropping hints about the next project…
P.S. If you’re particularly interested, you can see the rest of my house tour (or what I’ve done of it so far) here!