Planning and implementation complete, let us move to the kitchen finale.
We shall start our tour in the main ‘work-zone’. We replaced the induction hob (very modern, but can’t beat gas) with this nice 5 burner. Plenty of room for tea-pots with hand-made cornish-blue inspired tea-cosies. Behind it you can see the subway tiles and grey grout. Very fashionable. The cupboards are split in the middle by the hood, on one side housing all the crockery and the other, all food stuffs. These extra tall cupboards have 4 shelves, but if your a shortie like me that does pose a slight problem for access.
Enter the stool. My dad made this many years ago, and my mum painted it for our bedroom as children. I spied it at Tullyroan at Christmas in a shed and its now doing a great job in the new kitchen, giving just the right amount of extra height for top-shelf-reaching. Stretching for an item does usually result in it, and me, toppling over, hardly ideal for children but sentiment is worth more to me evidently.
I aim to keep a fairly clear worktop (not sure i have quite achieved it yet!) so have tried to keep the appliances to a minimum. As you can see there is a red theme going on. I got the Kitchenaid for my 30th birthday, and the Magimix was a wedding gift, I mention them both because despite the cost, i would say these are two frequently used and highly worthwhile appliances if you are in any way cooking- or baking-inclined.
The knobs are a mixture of oak, and brass cup handles, sourced on ebay. I wasn’t sure about mixing them up but it seems to work ok. We had a little extra space in the corner here so the joiner made the wine rack to fit.
To maximise storage, we looked into the possibility of plinth drawers under the units, but then realised that abandoning kick-boards and using baskets was much cheaper and more pleasing to the eye. The free-standing look keeps the whole style a bit more informal. We were pleased to find these lovely golden, if slightly woodwormed, pine boards under the old lino, which we had sanded, sealed and finished in a durable matt varnish.
Moving over to the washing-up zone. We sacrificed a full-size dishwasher to be able to fit this delightful double ceramic sink. Underneath is a very indulgent drawer with lots of bins for recycling and waste. But i guess it all has to go somewhere!? We were able to use the extra space underneath for a cubby hole for my plethora of trays, and one of those retracting towel rails that i’ve always fancied. All the sink paraphernalia is tucked away in the white buckets, for some reason i am intolerant of cloths and sponges etc lying around so this pleases me greatly.
The shelving above the sink is a personal favourite. This is the dish-rack i mentioned earlier, purchased in a charity shop, which is sandwiched between painted pine shelves. I then went all-out on the english theme here, with my Cornish Blue collection, and Queen Elizabeth coronation mugs, displayed on hooks to give the area a ‘dresser’ feel.
We had hoped to fit in a small seating area by the window, but when it came to putting all our stuff in, i realised we really would value as much ‘bench’ space and storage as possible. This oak unit was originally a shop fitting and is handmade. It fits perfectly under the window, and is a nice sturdy place for cookbooks. The Roman blinds were originally hangings i found in a charity shop, i then converted them into blinds although strictly speaking they are a bit narrow and possibly not quite horizontal either!
Behind the door, where the radiator is situated, i had these rails put in for pots and pans. This saves loads of cupboard space and utilises an area that is essentially a waste of space, plus leaving them readily accessible for grabbing mid-recipe. We had considered a central hanging unit for pans etc but with such a high celling it wasn’t really practicable.
Last but not least, the shelving. The brackets are from Ikea but painted white, and the timber is pine which i then stained oak-coloured using a brushing wax. Not a substance i am familiar with but highly reminiscent of the few times i have applied fake tan, the stuff that you lather on all messy and then wash off for a nice smooth finish. The theme here seems to be storage tins and more red again. I LOVE vintage tins, the more kitsch the better. I’ve mixed them up with modern vintage in the form of 5 Orla Keily cake tins and my most recent addition, a sugar bowl given to me this Christmas. Possibly my most favourite collection is the green french enamelled tins, all the way from the flea markets near Paris. They were a gift for doing some wedding pictures, the couple drove to france and filled the car from the markets for their honeymoon. How dreamy and romantic!
The total cost of all materials and workmanship came to a grand total of £6700. We also flogged the old appliances for another £400 so that knocks a bit more off the price. I know its not polite to talk about money but i have done so to highlight that it is possible to do a decent kitchen on a budget. The secret i think is mixing cheaper base products with extra details from elsewhere, avoiding an Ikea-mania visual outcome.
In summary, a little country in the city. A place for everything, and everything in its place!
People say the kitchen is the biggest renovation project of the home. And hence the most taxing. But i must confess that i have found our kitchen re-fit to be a thoroughly enjoyable 4-week experience. Our joiner, who did a very impressive job of putting up with all my pedantic requests, has officially signed off today. And so i bring you the two part story of how we did it.
Here was our starting point. Something reminiscent of an intergalactic space station. Blue walls, silver cabinets (a total of 2), garage shelves, grey linoleum. Need i say more. So we got to work dreaming and designing our ideal cookery nook after a few weeks of moving in, having tried but failed to make friends with the existing Nasa creation. Our budget wasn’t huge, so a complete rearrangement of the layout wasn’t really an option. Thus we worked with the existing structure, without having to move pipes or boilers, and focused on adding careful detail and functionality to suit our tastes.
Strangely enough, choosing the style was the easiest bit. I was hoping to create a country kitchen, so shaker-style cabinets, solid oak worktops, wooden floor, ceramic sink were all obvious choices. Our local swedish flat-pack store did all the above at considerably less cost than its competitors. And although there wasn’t much in the way of help with the design, we got a lot of ideas from their showroom, as well as my indulgent stack of Country Living magazines. Working out the layout was much more tricky, but Malkie got to grips with the measuring tape and formulated all our options. That engineering degree came in handy after all. Soon we were cabinet experts and taking about 92s like they were old friends. (Extra-tall height option, for the uninitiated).
The grapevine had reliably informed us that it was advisable to avoid certain Ikea things, in particular anything with moving parts eg internal carousels. And the taps, which leak. And the appliances. We had our hearts set on a larder cupboard, and an eye-level double oven. But then we remembered that our mothers had told us you can’t have everything, so we settled for the basics but made sure we carefully planned a range of storage solutions to accomodate my vast collection of superfluous vintage kitchenalia.
The kitchen shape, being classically edinburgh-ian, wasn’t square, in fact not even close to square. So this flummoxed us for a while, especially as i relentlessly tried to integrate all sorts of odd-ball fixtures collected over the years, eg a wonky plate rack, and add in lots of shelves everywhere to display all my ‘trumphry’, as my granny would say. At least this was a step down from my original vision, which was to fit a basic, possibly free-standing kitchen, and add in welsh dressers and the like around it in a haphazard and completely impractical fashion. But then I realised that would have zero re-sale value, and so i compromised by throwing in plenty of hand-made bits for good measure to compliment the standard cabinetry on offer in the aforementioned local swedish flat-pack store.
However, our troubles with our parallelogram kitchen was nothing compared to the consternation and sheer puzzlement we were met with when arriving at Ikea with…..wait for it…..drawings!! I mean, drawings!! Ikea rely on some sort of unworkable on-line kitchen planner, into which you input your cabinets by the proverbial drag-and-drop. Fine for the kitchens that are geometrically inclined, but not ours. We were then officially excluded from the office while Brian (I still remember you dear Brian) attempted to input our carefully worked drawings into the computer by his own sheer guesswork and interpretive surmise. After a series of begrudging adjustments to our order, delivered with a healthy disdain, we walked away with our £2500 worth of merchandise.
On December 4th we moved out and the joiner moved in. The Hewitts and the Heenans put us up/put up with us for 2 weeks whilst the bulk of the re-fit was undertaken. After several drafts, i came up with these rather pleasing yet sadly pedantic drawings.
So here we are mid-way. How i rejoiced to see that old kitchen sitting disconsolately in the rain outside our flat. However I hope it will be happy doing its duty in its new home in the shed at Blackridge.
We moved back in just before departing for Christmas in The Province, leaving the painters to apply my risque ‘brushed clay’ paint choice and classic subway tiles with grey grout. Its all the rage, if you’re on Pinterest. Or even if you’re not.
Part 2: the finished result, en route to you shortly….. (when i have edited the photos to make them look 10 times better than the originals. Have you ever noticed that’s what all these fancy ‘before-and-after’ websites do?)
Well hello Blogosphere. It’s been too long. But thats ok. My new years resolution is to be thankful for the things that distract us. Because they are probably worthwhile. Getting frustrated over not having time to read ‘The Week’ or ‘Style’ magazine is even less productive!
You need to share in the revolution of paper snowflakes. It started with a little festive gathering of friends and turned into Crafty craic. There were doubters. There were those who feared the shame and denied their inner crafter. But all were overcome when the admiration came rolling in, as these free and floaty paper creations hung in their festive foray.
When Jamie Oliver presented his Christmas show beneath a swathe of paper snowflakes i vowed i would find a way to cook my christmas dinner in similar snow capped surroundings..
I managed to kick things off by finding some large paper snowflakes online, and stumbling across this spectacular online shop in the process called ‘RE’. Says it all really. Probably one of the best virtual shopping experiences you’ll have. Beautifully laid out, user friendly, experiential website. The snowflakes are in ‘gREetings’, and I think I’ll carry on the paper fad all year with the star light shades in ‘REcycle’.
So armed with mull and gossip, we used this tutorial http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-3D-Paper-Snowflake. The only point you can go wrong is when you make the cuts. Always follow the diagonal line. You’ll only do it wrong once!
Plenty of snacks..
I personally really like this version hanging in a window..
Just how I imagined it. Other people making my Christmas lunch in the snow studio.
And a happy new year to you all!
With the flat in turmoil owing to the kitchen refit during december, the elements weren’t conducive to a handmade christmas. So it was that for the first year in a long time, we had no tree, no wreath, no mark of christmas cheer in the flat. In fact, we were lucky to get a cup of tea at home for about 3 weeks. However it wouldn’t quite be christmas for me without a few crafty presents for family. Following the success of my recent hot water bottle covers, i couldn’t resist doing the same for the wider Calvert hot-water-bottle appreciation team. Helen and my mother-in-law were the recipients of these two new designs.
This one was a welcome opportunity to use some of my Liberty fabric, which is in short supply but getting a bit sad being as yet un-used in any project thus far. Its too good! The mustard velvet was picked up in a charity shop in York, which i then quilted. The labels are parcel tags printed with stampers from one of my favourite stationery companies, Cavalllini & Co. This one I gave to my mother-in-law. The fabric is from John Lewis, and finished off with a vintage button.
My niece (and namesake) Lucia loves to bake. I came up with this ridiculously easy apron design, involving the corner of a vintage embroidered tablecloth. Fast track to making one look amazing at embroidery, yet having no idea how to, or indeed inclination to, actually embroider.
I did do the text in freehand embroidery on the machine. Easy when you have the special attachment.
Pity Lucia left her apron at home on New year’s eve when we made homemade pizzas. She had to make do with mummy’s geniously improvised Tesco bag. I guess the ‘danger of suffocation’ issue was not so much of a problem with holes for little girl’s heads!