The journey of a kitchen renovation part I
Standing once again in the mess of what comes with renovating, I had flashbacks to when we renovated the kitchen, reflecting on how much the renovation process can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. Yet, despite all stress and craziness that comes with renovation and DIYing, I remember seeing the kitchen coming together and the joy it brought. The initial drawings, planning and deliberation all coming to life, which made all the initial stress and hard work so worth it.
Today I want to take you on a little journey, sharing my top tips on what to think about when renovating a kitchen and the process behind it.
When we first moved into the house, we sat down and made a ‘wish list’ outlining what we wanted the space to look like and what purpose it should serve. This is a good starting point as it gives you a chance to pinpoint the style, colour and design preferences you’ve been longing for. Some points:
1 Pinterest boards for colour inspiration, material etc are great! – It became clear for me that after gathering my inspiration that I was drawn to to mix old and new, French styled type of kitchens with a big Belfast sink, a mix of wood and a neutral colour palette with a splash of colour on the kitchen doors. So that’s what we went for! for me it was important to combing modern and traditional styles with a few fantastic pieces of vintage furniture that elevated the design to something really special.
2 Establish what you want the space to do for you – do you want more storage, more worktop space, an island? Remember, that cramming in too many cupboards can make the space too overbearing – and I would always recommend scaling back, getting a beautifully simple, practical and cohesive design that works for you.
3 Budget! The best way to make sure you’re not spending too much (which is easy to do!) is to determine a budget before you begin, what do you want to splash out on and where do you want to save?
4 If you are DIYing, draw out your vision. Even if it is just a basic scribble on a scrap of paper. There is no better way of getting an idea of how you want your kitchen to look and feel than actually seeing it on paper. After you’ve decided on all the inns and outs – draw it out properly, measure everything up, in this way it will make the design process easier!
And now to the fun stuff, a couple of aspects of the kitchen that I belive are crucial for the overall feel and layout.
Worktops are always a tricky decision! Do you want something that will change with age, such as wood or a non-hassle surface? I would definitely suggest spending a bit of time deciding on the worktop. It is a huge part of a kitchen, you will see and use it every single day so think about it.
I remember when we bought the wooden worktop for our kitchen that the lady in the shop asked me 5 times (I am not kidding!) if I was SURE that I wanted natural wood. I know that it is not everyone’s cup of tea (as the Brits would say!) but I just love the naturalness and rusticness of wood – a workspace that changes with age. A tip if you are going for natural wood is to treat it with wood oil at least 4 times before installing it, sanding between each application. This will create a protection against water, spillage etc. Treat your worktop at least once a year after that.
Colour is probably the hardest thing to decide on. In some way I love colourful kitchens, in other ways, I am subconsciously drawn to the understated look of pale design. That’s why I decided to opt for a splash of colour on the cupboards (green) combined with a contemporary natural palette on the walls paired with antique pictures. My favourite paint colours are School House White by Farrow & Ball for the walls combined with the darker shade of Drop Cloth on the woodwork and radiators. It is all brought together by vintage white brackets, open shelves and a copper tap. The perfect combination of material and colours!
LIGHTING IS KEY
This is something that I cannot emphasise enough! The worst thing is having to light all your bright lights during a dinner party because you can’t see when cooking! If you don’t want your kitchen to be too dark, consider different types of lighting – wall lighting on the side, overhanging lighting etc. You will need ambient lighting for all the dinner parties and creating a mysig feeling, as well as task lighting, so that you can focus on a range of cooking tasks.
THE LITTLE EXTRA
Think vintage & finishing touches!
The feel and love of a kitchen is definitely affected by how it has been styled. In my opinion, the best and most inspiring kitchens are those with simple cabinets and worktops paired with the odd vintage items. Perhaps it’s a few chairs picked up at a loppis, lights found at different markets, or an incredible table that has been passed down through generations. Facebook marketplace, etsy, ebay, blocket and traders is a great resource to find those gems!
And, a last bit of advice – never, ever, ever, throw away or get rid of things with style and memories, an old and beautiful serving dish, a basket from a holiday in Provence or an old chair from your grandma, these are what take ordinary to special in your new kitchen.