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Seeing as we’re in lockdown and we’re all seeing a lot more of our houses, and also because LottyEarns told me to, I’m going to reveal my kitchen transformation. 

We’re pretty lucky, because despite moving into a relatively ramshackle Victorian terrace, it actually had a brand new-ish kitchen! Unfortunately, it wasn’t my style at all. I think you can see from my Instagram, and even the design of my site – I love colour. 

The existing kitchen was white walls, white cabinets, white fridge, grey worktop, grey floor and black tiles. So inoffensive, but like aggressively dull. 

As far as our budget goes, I’d say this was a medium-expensive project. It wasn’t an almost freebie like our bathroom.

We didn’t need to buy any cabinets or do anything electrical or plumbing-y. However, you really should think twice before trying to DIY your flooring or fitting kitchen worktops. I think in total we may have spent just over £1,200 on our kitchen, not including appliances.

Here are some quick before and afters for your amusement:

Kitchen renovation
Kitchen shelving makeover
Kitchen clock

Construction

Unfortunately, although the kitchen wasn’t very old, there were issues with it. The upper cupboards in this photo were full of mould because of a leak on the roof. So we ripped them off the wall. 

I think you might be able to see the damp in this photo above the cupboards.

It did lose a lot of storage space, but we really didn’t have a choice. The wall needed to breathe, so down it came. 

Anyway, it gave me room to put up this beautiful soviet propaganda poster.

Kitchen makeover

Worktops

The most expensive part of this job was replacing the worktops. We went from plastic granite to IKEA Barkaboda herringbone wood veneer. They look great but are the world’s most delicate surface. 18 months on mine are covered in dents and scratches and I always use a chopping board. If you were considering getting these, think again, I promise. 

Also, the IKEA delivery people were awful and smashed my ceiling with the worktops when they delivered them. Then they said they weren’t responsible for the delivery people? Anyway, I couldn’t recommend IKEA any less. 

I hired an independent kitchen fitter to put them in and they did it in a day. Here are some pictures of the worktops just after fitting:

IKEA barkaboda worktop

Tiles

We managed to cheap out on tiles for our backsplash. Although we bought them from Topps Tiles (who can sometimes be a bit pricey), the tiles we chose were pretty bargainous. The main perk of choosing Topps, is that it’s a 2 minute drive from our house and all the staff are extra nice and helpful!

Kitchen makeover tiles
Dish rack from Joseph Joseph

My mum and aunt came to help us fit them ourselves, and I think they look fab. Everyone hated the idea when I first said I wanted yellow tiles, but now look at me.

A top tip for you: applying plastic sealant is really fiddly. Just get a professional to do it for you and get a perfect finish, hiring the mastik man was the best £30 we spent!

Flooring

I’ve moaned on Twitter ~a lot~ about how hard it is to buy flooring. 

In the end we went for Luvanto LVT (luxury vinyl tile), it’s a bit like Karndean or Amtico but a cheaper brand. It’s warm underfoot, hard-wearing, cleans easily. In my dream world I would have found a type of shiny, not marbled chequered floor, but when I say it doesn’t exist… it really doesn’t exist. 

Kitchen flooring black and white

Before the floor was uneven, fake plastic slate that looked dirty all the time. 

Paint

My number one tip for buying kitchen or bathroom paint is to get it mixed. Mine is the colour Dairy Belle from Valspar at B&Q. You can get any colour you like, mine is just off-white, but it was nice to be able to have a choice rather than buying off the shelf. 

Lighting

My lovely brass hammered shade was from Biba at House of Fraser before it was bought by Mike Ashley. 

Kitchen lighting

Something I found weird about this kitchen was that despite only having one pendant light in the room, there was no under counter lighting. I rectified that by getting these stick up LED strips.

Staub pumpkin cocotte
Pumpkin casserole dish and mini cocotte – Staub

They’re genius, you just plug them in the wall and now I can cook at night with full visibility. You can’t see them in the picture above but I promise they’re there.

Handles

Something my kitchen fitter found weird was that we added handles to a handle-less kitchen. My boyfriend and I were both desperate to have them: him because he couldn’t remember which side each cupboard opened from, and me because… have you tried opening cupboards like this with long nails? Plus, they collect dirt like nothing else. 

I bought the handles second hand on eBay, they were a £10 bargain. Even the cheapest, not nice new handles would have cost us £80+ for the number we’d have needed. 

kitchen makeover handles

Shelving

I think it might be obvious that I’m a maximalist. I love kitchen knick-knacks especially, so I was desperate to get some kitchen shelving to display my collection. 

Toaster and kettle – Dualit Architect

You can buy kitchen shelves off the peg, and for long ones like these you should expect to pay over £100. I got mine at a local timber yard, and we stained them ourselves. £15, job done! The brackets are fancy ones from Anthropologie

I think that’s it! You can read more about my lime green Smeg fridge in its own post. 

Now, here are a load more artsy close-ups of all my junk. 

What did you think of my kitchen makeover? It’s a bit different to most kitchens out there, but I love it. I hope you can learn from my mistakes and save some money on building the Pinterest kitchen of your dreams.

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kitchen makeover

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