Planning a kitchen makeover

If you saw my last post you might have got a sneak peak about our plans for the kitchen.

Regular readers will know we plan the house in ‘thirds’. The first third was our extension (living room, master bedroom and ensuite). We’re currently working on the ‘middle third’ (snug, hall, stairs and landing, Ewan’s new room and the office). The plan is to finish this third over winter and by spring Move to Binswitch our focus to outside for the next year or two. We’re hoping that by 2021 we’ll be focusing on the final third again (kitchen, bathroom, spare room and Nursery).

This means that we’ll have been in the house around 6 years before we start to think about getting the kitchen we want. Neither of us particularly enjoy cooking, and it’s absolutely the first thing we do without when in the middle of DIY – swapping for ready meals, takeaways or skipping meals. It’s so easy done – but the problem is we’re four years in now, and we were very concerned that we were going to be passing some very unhealthy habits onto the kids.

We made a massive effort, and took on Whole 30 (it’s an elimination diet, where you essentially eat VERY clean for 30 days with nothing processed). We found it life changing. Lots of things we felt we couldn’t live without were easy to give up. The amount of fruit and veg we were eating massively increased. We saved a fortune as we couldn’t just pick up food to snack as we were going. And really importantly we started cooking more.

We quickly realised that if we wanted to stay in good habits we couldn’t just keep telling ourselves how much we ‘hated’ being in the kitchen. We needed to embrace it’s good points and enjoy spending time there making food.

We love a good challenge, so we decided any ‘spare’ money at the end of the month we’d put into a pot for a kitchen makeover and from this we’d try and make this a nicer space for the next couple of years.

I rarely share photos of the kitchen on this blog (it was that bad!) so I’ve got the ‘before’ ones to show what we were living with:

This part of the house is right next to the back door. When we first moved in there wasn’t enough kitchen space so friends gave us their old cupboards when they upgraded theirs. Because of where the beams and doors were the top cupboards didn’t align to the bottom cupboards. We also had a radiator on this wall that was no longer connected, so we removed it to move it into the new snug (which had lost it’s radiator a couple of years earlier to the living room! We just keep moving them around!)

We’d run pipes for the plumbing the length of this room which involved pulling the ceiling down so there were holes everywhere:

The main part of the kitchen was a mess too. Mismatched tiles (missing down the left of the dishwasher) with a random dated pattern on a few of them, missing kickboards and generally too much stuff with not enough worktop space to sore everything:

We’ve got a fire ready to be installed in this chimney breast, but obviously it’s not big on the priority list, so for the time being it’s sat just taking up space in the middle of the kitchen:

The chimney breast it’s covering is full of problems:

The paint is peeling, the old fire place surround has left a scar in the plaster and the hole itself it just boarded up with a piece of plywood.

Those weird alcoves above the fire (which aren’t level!) are also odd…

There’s just a hollow recess behind them which needs bricking up properly at some point.

The other side of the kitchen has more issues:

Under the dust sheet you can see the surround on top of the new doorway opening. It’s an absolute mess – exposed brickwork and not flat edge. To the left of the radiator is another hole and there are two more in the ceiling at this point too – all for more pipes for the plumbing.

So the goal is to fix all of the above, and get a space which is actually a nice place to be. The budget we managed to save is a measly £160 to try and transform the room. Watch this space!