The kitchen renovation is complete!
A bit like the hallway makeover, it feels like this reveal has been a long time in the pipeline. From an idea that started to simmer away last summer, it began with a week long operation in September to move the boiler out of the kitchen and into the upstairs airing cupboard.
Somewhere in the middle, in amongst all the Holiday Season crazy, there was that issue (again) of finding someone reliable to design, supply and fit the kitchen. After a couple months of dilly-dallying about with one or two annoying mainstream suppliers, we finally got lucky with Weber Creative Interiors… or our Kitchen Ninjas as they were soon to be known.
A K I T C H E N R E N O V A T I O N ? S I M I L A R T O C H I L D B I R T H I S N ‘ T I T ?
And then all of a sudden, there we were, mid-January on a dark and cold rainy morning and off and running with a project that lasted two weeks from start to finish. Two weeks of being confined to living in the living room in amongst the January blues, seasonal cough and cold germs and general winter apathy. But oh my goodness it was all worth it come the day we could “move back in”!
Someone I was recently chatting to on Instagram likened the kitchen renovation process to childbirth… and I totally get this analogy.
At the point you’re in the painful thick of it, you wonder why on earth you decided it was such a good idea. But the minute you get the finished product handed into your care, you instantly forget all the messy painful details and fall head over heels in love.
So let’s wind back to the old kitchen – the one that was installed back in 2003 before we got married. At the time, we thought this kitchen was perfection… and it was compared to the one that was there before that.
Fast forward some fifteen years later and as well as things starting to fall apart and break, none of it was “us” anymore… and don’t get me started on the lack of light, counter space, storage and Er… too much colour!
The boiler cupboard behind the kitchen door with an ironing board that regularly clonked you on the head was probably the worst feature… and one that I cursed on so many occasions.
So in this case, it’s time to forget the past in an instant and move onto the now…
I can’t begin to tell you how many things there are that we love about the kitchen now. It’s almost three months ago that it was finished and I still can’t stop smiling every time I walk in there!
The light, airy feel is all down to the choice of white gloss cabinets and metro tiles paired with oak work surfaces. At the very beginning of the design process we knew this was the way to go as it’s essentially a pretty small space.
T H E B E A U T Y O F S I M P L I C I T Y
I think there was some kind of weird subconscious, interiors equation going on. Two man-made finishes (gloss cabinets and white metro tiles) needed two natural ones (oak work surface and slate floor tiles) to balance them out. Yin and Yang etc.
And therein lies the beauty of simplicity.
Beyond that, once we’d secured Jon Weber and his amazing team and ensured that we were making the most of the available storage space, we knew that the rest would fall into place.
Mr OS’s request was that we replace all the appliances with the same brand we’d had in the old kitchen and that had lasted for all time – Smeg. And I was in total agreement. Being Italian, the aesthetics were of course spot on but we’ve always found them to be extremely reliable too.
Under-cupboard lighting helped to complete the bright feel and so did the removal of the old kitchen door, just leaving an open entryway instead.
Then came the smaller finishing touches such as having the chalkboard on the blank wall and creating a small ledge shelf from left-over work surface material. Jon instantly liked this idea when I suggested it and christened it my “marvellous shelf” which has stuck ever since.
I fixated on the marvellous shelf all through the living in the living room, tripping over boxes, eating beige food hell!
As well as the metro tiles, the hose tap was another obsession of mine.. Pan drawers and the pull-out LeMans inner cupboard shelving were also design element obsessions for both of us.
Then came a couple of things that we purchased before Christmas, way before work had even begun. The Simplehuman portable dish drainer is just pure genius and we found it by chance whilst wandering through John Lewis. Don’t wan’t it there? Simply remove out of site!
And last but by no means least was some new china… it had to be pristine and white.
On completion of the kitchen, The White Company kindly gifted us a few beautiful homeware pieces – this for me was the icing on the cake!
The stoneware vases and earthenware planter look completely at home against the tiles and on the windowsill and the Fresh Grapefruit candle is the perfect, post-cooking candle to light for a fresh, invigorating scent.
They also sent us a set of Belgravia Tumblers and some of their beautiful Symons Bone China pieces… I could already envisage this in our new sleek cabinets long before the kitchen was built! And we use it everyday – I’ve never been one to have good china and everyday china. Just really great china… everyday.
Once we knew we were going ahead with the build I also bought some of their storage jars in both glass and stoneware and even our past season White Company pieces such as the marble and wooden chopping boards fit in perfectly.
A couple of oldie but goody appliances stayed – our Dualit kettle and toaster have been going for years – same with the Brabantia bin! And the wine rack came from my old apartment when I moved in – it’s so old I forget where I acquired it from but it fits right in.
And proving that its the little things that count, two of our new favourites are these really cool Eddingtons egg poachers (so cool in fact that Mr OS gives them a special mention in the video!) and the Simplehuman tension arm kitchen towel dispenser. I’m beginning to think we should have applied for shares in John Lewis before furnishing this kitchen!
If you see anything here you like the look of, you can scroll though the shoppable products under each set of images or at the end of post.
And… there’s a video! The clip below features some before, during and after footage so you can see how it all progressed and get a look at a few of realities of living in amongst a kitchen refurb. Capturing the footage in amongst all the mess was actually quite helpful in keeping me focused on the end game!
My kitchen renovation tips
If you’re going for a slate floor, it’s worth shelling out for an underfloor heating mat to go underneath to see you through the colder months. There’s nothing like the feeling of stepping barefoot onto that warm floor in winter!
Be sure to leave enough time for packing up your old kitchen contents and use the opportunity to have a really good sort out. We gave a lot of stuff to the village charity shop and threw out the really old, unusable items.
Beg, borrow or steal a slow-cooker and camping stove if you can for when you have no oven and have some batch cooked meals in the freezer ready to eat. My sister in law is currently going through her kitchen refurb and is doing this – such a good idea! We had the camping stove but no slow cooker.
Maximise corner cupboard space with some sort of pull out storage – no more ferreting around in dark corners looking for things I didn’t know I had! Also taking the cabinets to ceiling height gave extra shelf storage.
A well known builder’s merchant who originally came to quote dismissed this out of hand but Jon was able to find a way to provide the extra height. Sometimes it pays not to take no for an answer when it comes to getting the design features that you really want.
Once you’ve nailed your main design, think about smaller, more personalised features and chat them through with your designer/builder. I would have been gutted if the “marvellous shelf” had been an afterthought and there was no left over oak work top to use for it.
Jon also suggested bringing the metro tiles across to the oven on the other side of the door and replacing the architrave around the doorframe with some new so that everything looked finished. A good builder/fitter will be willing to talk it all the way through to the finish with you… and from what I hear since speaking to others who’ve been through the process, they’re pretty hard to find!
We opted for untreated oak work surfaces as opposed to the pre-treated variety, the reason being that most of the pre-treated versions we saw were too orange. But this means you have to be really careful not to leave standing water on them – especially around the sink area.
Ours were sanded back and given four to five coats of a protective oil and we’ll have to do this at least twice a year ourselves to prevent permanent water damage. It was still a worthwhile option to obtain the finish we wanted.
If you’re planning on a kitchen refurb of your own, know that you’re in for a messy, noisy few weeks but it is SO worth the upheaval, bad microwave meals and endless trips upstairs to wash up all your crockery in the bath!
What do you think of the before and after comparison and have you got any tips of your own for surviving the renovations?
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D E T A I L S : All kitchen units and work surfaces sourced by Weber Creative Interiors | Metro and slate floor tiles – Topps Tiles | Caple Tap and Sink both sourced by Weber Creative Interiors | HEKTAR Pendant Lamp – IKEA | My Stripe Oxford Shirt – Arket | Watch – Timex