Friday, December 14, 2012

My kitchen

The kitchen is the last thing we have done in terms of renovating our gorgeous little cottage. I should probably start with earlier projects but this was really exciting and the outcome is great. I'm just so happy with it.

Originally we thought we'd do a cheap IKEA kitchen. For about $4000 we could get a new kitchen and we'd intended to put it in ourselves. Our kitchen has a sloping roof and soon we realised that the new IKEA kitchen wouldn't particularly fit all that well. The original kitchen (c 1970's I think?) has been professionally built in so there wouldn't be weird dark hidey holes on top of the cupboards if we stuck with them. Hmmm... what to do?

The kitchen also had a gorgeous vintage dresser (you can see in the photo above left with the wooden benchtop), which although is really lovely, was too big for the space and meant it was hard to open fridge doors in the middle of the tiny thoroughfare. But the worst for me, and yes I have lived in many old houses with kitchens MUCH worse than this, was just the darkness of the kitchen. The avacado green benchtops and dark wood veneer made it very dark and you needed a light on even during the day.

We did cut the trees outside back to provide us with more light as this faces north and is the most important aspect to any house in Australia, especially high up in the cold Mountains. So straight away we had a lot more light. I thought I'd be able to live with our sad old kitchen but soon realised it didn't offer a lot of space to cook in, was dark, dirty and depressing, and I really didn't feel inspired to cook or be in there!

Since hubby is a tiler, we had decided we might be able to do this renovation pretty cheaply. We were considering IKEA cupboards and we'd tile the benchtop ourselves (a look we love but not many choose to do it. Definitely more popular in Europe and USA). But not having a properly 'fitted' kitchen and still needing a builder to get the IKEA kitchen ship-shape, we decided we'd just update what we had.

I took off all the doors and the frame was still really good. Just got cracking on painting everything I could which involved laminate paint. Laminate paint. Gah! Not for the faint hearted. Not for small kids and sharp objects. Definitely not for us. I did soooo many coats, sanded and watched this stuff cure. Only to have someone scrape a door trying to get a fork or something and bang, it would be scratched. So we then got a local builder to make new doors in ply which I got stuck into painting again. I'm crazy about duck egg blue so chose a vintage greeny blue colour called 'Meadow Lane' (half) for the doors and one wall. The rest is just 'Whisper White' (all by Dulux too) and chose antique white 300 x 100 tiles for the walls, a black strip to give the kitchen a more old fashioned finish and all my gorgeous vintage bits and pieces looked great in place. We got some cheap grey floor tiles at Bunnings ($27 pm I think?), gorgeous dirty bronze looking door handles from Hartley and Geoff tiled the benchtop in square 35mm tiles (again from Bunnings dirt cheap) in cream and black with dark grey grout.

With the heavy old dresser (I think it was originally a 1920's shop counter) out of the way, we could see just how much space we had and didn't want the old piece back in. I had also cleaned it up, painted it a rough/pared back white underneath the timber benchtop and put in a curtain to hide stuff - which looked lovely - but realised it shouldn't go in (have other plans for it!).

So we got the builder to make us a small corner counter which means we have space to prepare food but also keep the openness of the kitchen.

So all up how much did it cost?

$1000 approx. That's it. Of course, if you didn't have a tiler it would cost more. Or you could have a go at doing it yourself. The kitchen is so light, spacious, airy and easy to use. We finished it by permantely removing some doors on the cupboards, reusing the wicker baskets that were in the old dresser (see below), new lights from IKEA, and made a cute vintage inspired curtain over the window, and added other small pieces.

I also managed to score a beautiful rag rug (or 'braided rug') from ebay somewhere up near Noosa for $60 including delivery. I will have to buy more from her!

I couldn't be happier with my kitchen. It is totally my style and just want I wanted. We don't have a big house so it couldn't have been extended or made any bigger. And the $1000 tag on it means that if the kids do scrape or wreck it in some way, it's not the end of the world! I have to admit it was hard. With two very small children, I was often painting with them both sitting crying on my lap demanding attention. But we did it!


  1. Hello!

    I am a friend of Christina O'Sullivan Howes!
    I blog too and today when I was having a coffee with her, she mentioned you and your blog.
    Small world!
    I love your new kitchen...I am hoping to tackle mine this year and you have given me some great ideas!
    Here are my before pictures...hopefully I will have some after pictures to show off soon!

    Caitlin from Mother Down Under

  2. Your kitchen is awesome and has great potential! I am a pinterest addict (I still say 'pin-interest') to find out what I liked. Initially I looked at lots of IKEA kitchens and thought that would be a cheap fix but am really happy with what we did. You could do a bit of mix of the old and new with yours which would look great???