The Kitchen


The kitchen is probably the room that has been transformed the most in the renovation (although it’s a close call with the bathroom) and was also the most major project. I knew as soon as we first viewed the cottage that I would have to take down the wall dividing the kitchen and the dining/living area. It’s a big place and I just didn’t see the point in having so much living space and yet such a pokey little kitchen. P wasn’t convinced originally as he was worried it would affect our ability to use the space as a living room if we needed an additional bedroom down the line and/or when we came to sell, but after some gentle persuasion he saw the light!

Once the wall was down and we had a better idea of how the space looked, we started planning the kitchen layout. We went to several shops and specialist companies, but despite trying various different layouts there was just no way of fitting everything in, in a way that we wanted, due to all of the windows. We’d already decided to block out a strange little window that was very low and looked a bit odd, but after a lot of deliberating we decided that one of the larger windows was also going to have to be blocked out in order to fit in the range cooker that we wanted. I would normally never consider anything as crazy as blocking out natural light, but it was our only real option, and we had another four large windows in the room so I wasn’t too worried about it being dark and dingey. Thankfully the risk paid off, and the room is still extremely light and airy.

As I said in an earlier post, we selected DIY kitchens in the end, which meant quite a lot more work on the measuring/designing/planning, but also saved us considerable money.

Overall we were pleased with the layout, and aside from a bigger built-in bin there is very little that we would change (which is quite surprising given that we were total design novices and had only had a tiny little galley kitchen previously).

If I were to design my current dream kitchen I probably would go dark with brass detail, but we thought that off-white would be more timeless and so decided to go for the ‘safer’ option.

We wanted open shelves rather than top cupboards as, despite my OCD, I like having all my nice crockery and copper pans out on display. We bought scaffold boards with a view to stain them to a slightly darker shade. We tried out various fancy stains, all of which ended up a duck poo green-y colour and looked terrible. Then my good old mum suggested using coffee – something that she had done in the past when staining floorboards. We were sceptical but gave it a go, and it worked a treat! So cheap and easy and gave a much better result than any of the stains that we had tried. We treated the shelves with the Osmo oil that we’d used on the worktops, and then bought some industrial looking iron brackets, which we sprayed black before mounting.

The finishing touches were quite minimal – I put an Ikea rail over the window to hang some pots of herbs from, bought a couple of foodie prints from Desenio, and then got some industrial bar stools from to go by the breakfast bar.

This is definitely our most used room and I really love it. It’s so nice to have a proper ‘grown up’ kitchen and a huge Rangemaster to cook on (even if I don’t know how to use half of it). The only slight gripe would be that the oak worktops are a bit of a nightmare to maintain, but we realised that when we chose them and are happy to deal with it as they look great!

The dining and snug/bar area of the room still need a bit of work, but once they’re done I think it will be the perfect entertaining space and can’t wait for all the dinner parties to come (as long as people keep red wine away from my worktops…)

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