I have mentioned our kitchen a few times over the last couple of months, so I thought it was about time I actually got around to writing a proper blog post about it.
We moved into our house just over a year ago, it was actually the first house we had viewed when we started house hunting a year before but dismissed it as the kitchen and dining room wasn’t at all what we were looking for, it was two separate rooms without even a door to link the two. Our house hunt was
a wild goose chase a very long one and after viewing over 30 houses we finally realised that the house that ticked all the boxes just didn’t exist (well, not within our price range anyway) and worse than that, as time ticked by house prices in our preferred areas were climbing. We realised that ‘compromise’ was going to be required (Kirstie and Phil would have been proud of us!) We viewed that first house again, and realised actually the only thing wrong with it was the kitchen and dining room, everything else was actually pretty great. So we knew when we bought it that we were going to have to do something with it as it didn’t really work for us, and despite being tempted to do something straight away (Mr T was keen to start bashing doorways through before we moved in!) I really wanted to live in the house first to decide exactly what to do to make the best of it. It’s difficult to get a true feel of the separate rooms from these photos, but it gives you a rough idea.
Last summer we had plans drawn up for an extension, to double the existing kitchen and dining space and make my dream living/kitchen/dining space. The pictures from the architect looked beautiful but sadly when the building quotes came in we realised that the cost would probably outweigh the value it added so extension plans were shelved (
still bitter very reluctantly!)
So after a lot of deliberating, we decided we would knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and block up the existing kitchen door to hopefully make a more workable space which could accommodate the huge family dinners that we often host (between 12 and 15 for dinner at least every three weeks or so) not to the mention the fact that there is 7 of us on a daily basis anyway.
The next stage was the planning, we visited a couple of well-known kitchen places before deciding on Wickes. The price wasn’t the cheapest, but their design was definitely the best and the quality of the kitchen was really good. Mr T is brilliant at haggling and somehow managed to negotiate quite a substantial discount, so if you are planning a new kitchen, I’d definitely recommend giving haggling a go (disclaimer – like almost everyone else in the world, Wickes have no idea about this blog, so this is definitely not a sponsored post!) There were a few visits to our local Wickes to meet with the kitchen planner (which often comprised one of us running around the showroom after the girls while the other one sorted out details, not ideal but we got there!) Even though it was already October, they could start work at the end of November and have it done for Christmas, which to be honest we weren’t really expecting, but was great for us as we were really keen to get on with it as soon as possible.
The week before the kitchen fitters started, Mr T, his brother and my dad set about knocking the wall down, and removing the kitchen and flooring. To our surprise this all went very smoothly and work was completed in a day! I took Tinker to a birthday party that afternoon, when I left the wall was in tact, and an hour later Mr T sent me a picture of our new kitchen/diner space! By the time I got home, most of the floor was up and it was official – we had absolutely no kitchen facilities whatsoever.
Our solution was to move Totsy’s cot into Tinker’s room and use her temporarily vacated room as a makeshift kitchen. I use my slow cooker loads anyway but it got even more use (casserole and microwave rice became our staple diet!) we had a microwave, a fridge and had bought plastic storage boxes for all our food. It wasn’t ideal, washing up in the bathroom was probably my absolute least favourite thing about it, but it got us through.
When work finally started, it was slow progress the first week. This was just because we had to have plastering, spotlights, wiring etc installed due to our wall removal and our new kitchen design being quite different in layout than the last. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you there were days when I
wanted to scream was a bit fed up of it all, the mess (which extended into our living room with kitchen units and appliances stacked up) was extensive due to the level of work we needed, keeping the girls out of harms way was bloody impossible tricky at times and the days without electricity and heating were probably the least fun, but we knew the end result was going to be so worth it and the days and weeks went by it was really exciting to see it starting to take shape, to come home from work and see the progress.
To be fair, it all went pretty smoothly. There was the odd mild disaster like at the end of week 3 when we were really excited to have the oven installed, only for it to develop an unrepairable fault after only 20 minutes of use, and then it was another week before we could get a replacement. We had a Nest Learning Thermostat installed to control our heating and hot water, and there were a few small problems with the installation which meant 24 hours without heating or hot water (in December) but overall it was a smooth process, our Wickes kitchen fitter (Jon from Dr Property) was totally brilliant throughout, really helpful, cheerful and took everything in his stride and most importantly has done a fantastic job, I honestly can’t recommend him enough.
Finally, exactly one week before Christmas it was all finished. And we absolutely love it. I have to say there is nothing I would change, the design is perfect to make the best of the space, I just love the fact that it’s all open plan now and just feels so spacious. My absolute favourite thing is the breakfast bar, now when I’m cooking there is always someone sitting up there chatting away. It really has transformed the house and everyone spends so much more time in there now, it’s just what I hoped for and I can’t believe it’s all ours!
I feel a little that my poor photography skills don’t quite do it justice (especially as these are all iPhone photos without any filters – let’s face it, I’m never going to be an interiors photographer am I??) It really didn’t help that I ended up taking the final shots on a grey drizzly day that really didn’t have the best light (due to having to seize the moment when the kitchen was tidy enough for pictures!)
If you were really paying attention you might even have spotted what our next project is going to be……