We moved house back in July last year and we knew that one of the first things we wanted to do was knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and have a new kitchen diner. Luckily we managed to get the house for under the asking price and so that left us with enough money to get the work done fairly quickly. Most of the work was done in October and November last year but we only got the floor done just before Christmas, so we’ve been living with our new kitchen for nearly a year now.
So, without further ado…
Our kitchen is at the front of the house which is a bit unusual but our whole house is a bit unusual. It is built on a hill so from the front looks like a tiny bungalow but at the back there are three storeys. You come in the front door on the middle floor – the kitchen and dining room are at the front of the house, the living room at the back and then there are two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. You can see a full house tour here if you’re interested.
The old kitchen
These are a few pictures of what the kitchen and dining room looked like when we first moved in…
The units had fairly new doors but it wasn’t my style at all. There was also nowhere to put the massive fridge freezer we had bought, which actually had to live in the dining room until we got the new kitchen.
The door from the hall opened into the dining room and there was an archway into the kitchen. The wall in between was only a partition wall though so we knew there would be no problem knocking it down.
The new kitchen came from Howdens. We used their design service too, although I had some pretty clear ideas about what I wanted. They did a great job with my brief though and I didn’t have to make many changes from the original design.
During the building work
When work started the whole room was stripped and the wall knocked down. We then had a false ceiling installed. There were a few reasons for this – firstly the ceilings between the old kitchen and dining room were slightly different heights, the old ceiling in the dining room was horrible artex, and lastly it meant we could easily have spotlights fitted too.
The room was then plastered and the units started going in. In the end we were without a usable kitchen for three weeks, which wasn’t easy with two small kids! We managed OK with a microwave, a small electric oven and a double electric hotplate in the spare room, and washing up in the bathroom sink.
We kept the sink and the hob in the same places which minimised the need for any extra plumbing. We did get an outside tap fitted at the same time as the kitchen was been done though and we also added in quite a lot of extra electric sockets. The ones above the peninsula even have built in USB sockets so it’s easy to charge all our devices.
As is often the case with building and decorating work we got to the ‘almost finished’ stage quite quickly. Once the units were in I painted the whole room white before the finishing cornices, lights, plug sockets and so on were fitted.
The kitchen was in and usable by mid-November, about three weeks after work started. We had to do more painting after that, including the orange inside the window recesses. After umming and ahhing a bit we decided to go for Karndean vinyl flooring but we didn’t get that fitted until the week before Christmas. It was then January before the builder could come back and fit the kick boards under the units.
We had to wait until February for our new dining table to be delivered from Made.com – they have a lot of great stuff but because of the way the site works you can be in for a long wait when you order from them, 16 weeks in our case!
The last thing to go in was a sideboard in the dining area. We said we weren’t going to get any more IKEA furniture but unless we wanted to spend hundreds of pounds (which we don’t have) we couldn’t find what we wanted. So we got an IKEA Kallax but added legs and the cupboard doors on the bottom, and I think it looks a bit less IKEA now.
The finished kitchen diner
So here is our new kitchen diner in all its glory…
I wanted to make life as easy for myself as possible when it came to cleaning so we went for matt white, handle-less doors on the units. The wall cupboards go right up to the ceiling so I don’t have to clean on top of them. We squeezed in as much storage space as possible so I could find a place to put everything away and not have loads of stuff out on the worktops.
The worktops are solid oak – I used Osmo Wood Protector first and then Osmo Top Oil. I think I did two or three coats within the first couple of weeks and I have oiled them once more since then and so far they are holding up well.
The sink is undermounted and a few people warned me that the exposed grain around the sink would go manky really easily. We are quite fastidious about drying it after washing up or using the tap but so far it is looking as good as new. I had considered getting draining grooves put into the worktop but decided in the end that they would be too hard to keep clean and dry.
So in the end we left the worktop and I use a sealed draining rack that drains into the sink with a microfibre drying mat underneath. The tap is a Franke Wave from B&Q and has a lift off hose which is really handy.
In the original design there were pull out shelves and baskets in every cupboard but they are really expensive so we only kept too. There is a full height pull out larder next to the fridge freezer (which was from AO.com) and another smaller one in one of the base units which is the perfect size for cereal. The smaller one is great as it means even Gabe can manage to get the cereal boxes out without knocking things over and spilling rice crispies everywhere!
The only other bit of clever storage we went for was a drawer under the oven which is the perfect size for baking trays. We only have a single electric oven – I have always only had a single oven and find it plenty big enough. I managed to cook Christmas dinner for 8 people in there and if I can do that I can cope with anything.
The hob is gas as I prefer it and the gas fittings were already in place. We did go for a five burner hob though which is fab. It has a black glass top which is really easy to keep clean too. There are so many different options for splashbacks now from traditional tile to metal, perspex or glass. We went for clear glass in the end but we did look at some unusual laminated glass splashbacks too. The splashback is just screwed to the wall so it would be really easy if we wanted to change it to something more interesting in the future.
In an effort to keep the worktops as clear as possible we wanted to put the microwave on the wall. We looked at a proper integrated microwave but it was going to be over £300 so we just left the door off one of the units and got a much cheaper Swan microwave instead. We did decide on an integrated extractor fan – mostly because I think it looks better but also to give Barry more of a chance of not banging his head on it!
The towel rail is fitted under the end of the peninsula and is actually a curtain pole painted white. The towels are from Dunelm and I happened to find some oven gloves in matching colours in Aldi a couple of months ago.
I knew I wanted there to be lots of light in the kitchen (mostly so I could take blog photos and videos in winter!) so we have 14 daylight spots in the ceiling, which don’t actually get used that much as they are super-bright! There are then two pendant lights above the peninsula and two above the dining table. These came from a seller on Etsy called Knobs and Knockers. I absolutely love these lights but they weigh a ton so you have to be careful not to bump your head on them!
I think that’s about everything! Since taking these pictures we now have grey blinds at the windows. We weren’t going to put anything at the windows but have realised that if the sun is shining then it is right in someone’s eyes at every meal.
We still need to put some things in the sideboard too – it’s going to be home to Barry’s whisky collection and hopefully a fish tank too at some point.
And the very last thing is finding something to put on the big blank wall in the dining area. I can’t decide whether to go for a couple of large prints or lots of smaller ones. Or maybe a photo wall… If you have any suggestions please do let me know.
I know it’s not always easy to get a true feel for somewhere just from photographs so I’ve also filmed a little video tour of the kitchen diner too if you’d like more of a nosy.
We literally used all our money to get this kitchen but I love and I wouldn’t do it any different if I had to do it again. I hope you like it too. If you do why not Pin this post for later?
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