Well hello, new kitchen

When we moved into the house almost three years ago, the kitchen was always “the big project”. It was the one we’d think about once we’d tidied everything else up and paid for practical but annoyingly less exciting things like composite doors…

I wrote about it just after the foundation work had started – here – and now, endless dust and clock watching later, we are officially finished. Oh, and we got married somewhere in between, too! It’s taken four months and around £30k, but we now have a much bigger, more open space that gives us an extra living area and will hugely improve our lifestyle.

The builders started on the foundations in late December, and the shell was airtight by mid-March. We were SO excited when we arrived home to see that the bi-folding doors had been fitted. And again when, three days before the wedding, we came home to working taps and dishwasher. It was almost the best thing in the world when you’ve been washing up in the bath for several weeks. After that, it was a bit of a waiting game, as various workmen came along to fit the flooring, then the skirting boards, and then to fix the final snags.

Here’s a reminder of where we were and where we are so happy to be now:

When we moved in…

kitchen diner

When work started…

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The worst bit… (see that plank of wood behind the insulation? That’s what separated us from the Beast from the East)

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Now…

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So we’re now pretty much back to normal – PHEW – having painted everything white (for now), hoovered up the dust and somehow kept the cat sane.

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We’ve moved an armchair into the corner, for post-work chill time, and our mackerel and mussel paintings have joined it to create the start of a washed out blue theme which so far gets the thumbs up:

There’s still plenty more to do, but it’s cosmetic and can be done with a little less urgency and a little more time for saving. On our list:
– Wall tiles – most likely white metro or hexagonal tiles with dark grey grout;
– A feature wall. Controversial, this one. We don’t often go for wallpaper (AKA HASSLE), but with plain white units and white walls, we need a subtle point of interest. The AMAZING pineapple wallpapers I fell madly in love with don’t really fit the subtle brief, sadly, and they will most likely look dated by next year. There’s still the option of papering, but it will be something far more simple that can fade effortlessly into the background;
– A new table. I love ours, but with the wood effect flooring and cement worktops, it feels like a clash of textures. It will also be a chance to go slightly larger or extendable, so we can have more guests round. Or just serve ourselves more food 🙂
– Statement side plates. As a certified dessert girl, the idea of whipping out some extravagant plates to serve up a big fat cake just feels right. The animal plates below are top of my list, and would team up perfectly with the gorgeous elephant teapot that is already waiting for them by the kettle!

kitchen accs

Lovely items from: Luna table, animal side plates (set of four) and elephant teapot, all from John Lewis; Dom plant from Ikea; Wallpaper from wallpaperdirect.com.

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Big project alert: The extension

Here’s a clever thing to do…

Start a house extension that’s due to complete the second before you walk down the aisle 😉

A mere seven weeks before getting married, we are bang in the middle of an extension. From the front of the house, everything looks normal. From the back, we have full-on scaffolding, torrents of mud, breeze blocks, and half a new kitchen diner.

The timing isn’t amazing, but it’s taken months to get drawings completed, planning approved and builder time allocated, so here we are. It’s something we’ve needed to do since we moved in, and it’s really exciting to finally see the bricks going up and to be able to visualise the end result. It will mean that we can replace the perfectly functional but very ’90s kitchen, and wave goodbye to having narrow rooms – a kitchen and a dining room – that make entertaining more than two house guests a game of musical chairs.

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Here’s the current state of play, in its full unfiltered glory….

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Isn’t it stunning?

Over the next few weeks, the builders will pop on a roof with roof lights, knock the existing external and dividing walls down, rip the kitchen out and create a lovely open plan kitchen diner. There will also be a couple of days when we won’t have any kitchen, so HELLO TAKEAWAYS.

Kitchen-wise, we’ve gone for very simple white gloss units by Wren. We’ve heard good and bad things about them, but heard the same about Howdens. And B&Q came out much more expensive for what is a kitchen and house that we will probably move from within five years. Wren gave a great side-by-side demonstration of their unit build and quality next to brands like Howdens and John Lewis, and the service so far has been great.

The units will be topped with an Italian concrete laminate worktop (we LOVED the granite tops but they added about £1.5k onto the kitchen cost) and a black range cooker. With the units staying to the left hand side of the room, we’re hoping the rest of the space can be dedicated to dining, with a long dining table, and chilling out. Here’s what we’re thinking:

Kitchen diner

Quick-Step vinyl flooring, Carpetright; J-Pull kitchen units, Wren; Geo cream and gold wallpaper, Graham & Brown; Pineapple cushion, Dunelm; Blue and white print cushion cover, Maisons du monde; Rug, Next; Two-seater fabric sofa in denim blue, and fabric sofa in romario denim, Made.com; Mini potted plants, Dunelm;

An extension and serious building work is completely new to us, so if you have any tips or helpful stories to share, let me know!