project: kitchen

25 February 2018

Ever since we moved into our house (in 2013) we have wanted to do something with our kitchen.
It was newly installed by the previous owner, although a bit cheap quality, it wasn't particularly offensive, but it wasn't our cup of tea.
It had cream cupboards and the wood worktop had a thick orangey varnish, and curved ends with a breakfast bar (which faced the wall and was a bit of a waste of space to us).

The cost to have a new kitchen put in was a bit pricey considering it was quite new. Unfortunately the dimensions of the cupboards meant that choice of replacement doors was quite limited and also, was very costly when added up. So Nao came up with the idea to fix plywood on top of the doors, and then paint the visible sides of the units white.
I was a bit dubious at first that this would actually work, but he was quite positive that he could do it, so hey ho!

I thought that we'd have to replace the work top, but Nao managed to sand off the varnish, he also cut off the curved ends and made the edge of the counter more square for a cleaner look. He also removed the wooden strip around the wall and took of the moulding that went around the bottom of the wall cabinets as we thought it a bit naff.

He bought the wood at a local timber merchant and he made use of the free cutting service there too.
He painted the back of the plywood so that the wouldn't absorb any moisture that might happen to get between the ply and the doors.
He used strong adhesive before screwing the fronts to the doors. He then sealed around the edges with clear silicone.
There was a door missing where the previous owner had a tumble dryer, we keep our recycling there, so Nao had to make a whole new door to match the widths for that gap too.

He managed to prise off the travertine tile splash back that was there originally although we had to repair the wall a bit.
I really really wanted to have a tiled kitchen, but the thought of having to find and pay for a tradesperson to do it felt a bit out of my depth. I happen to watch a B&Q youtube video of how to tile a kitchen, and at the end the chirpy B&Q man said 'go on, give it a try!' and I thought 'alrighty then!'

We found some nice tiles from Topps Tiles. They are thick terracotta glazed in a very pale grey, almost off white. They are sort of wobbly in texture, not the most easiest type of tile to cut I have to admit!
I bought some cheap tools off amazon, such as this tile cutter (below), some tile nippers, tile saw, file, adhesive and grout etc...
We had a few boxes of tiles left over in the end and Topps Tiles kindly refunded them for me, very impressed with their service.

I was a tad nervous I must admit I thought maybe I'd bitten off more than I could chew. But once I got the knack of cutting around plug sockets (there were quite a few snapped tiles) I wasn't actually that difficult.
(But I never want to do it again 😂)
The tile spacers were a waste of time, so I did it by eye instead. I'm not sure I did everything correctly like a real tiler, but it looks okay to me.


Tahhh dahhhh!....

Nao used a clear sealant top coat for the plywood and the worktop (by Rust-Oleum) and we found some nice copper handles.
We used little ones for the bottom units, and bigger handles for the fridge and freezer doors. For the top cupboard we just left them without handles because we like the minimal look and it stops our kids from easily accessing the snack cupboard.
We also replaced the brushed steel cooker hood with a new white one, just for aesthetics really, as it looks much better with the more modern cupboards.

We found a little round 1970s table for £15 and I painted the top (it was brown formica) and now we have made a small cake eating place that previously housed our glass cabinet.

I found this nice tap (nothing wrong with the original one, just wanted something a bit more modern) for £25 and Nao fitted it after quite a lot of expletives.
We also got these floating shelves cheaply from B&Q, but they were a bit of a naff texture so I painted them with the same Diamond Hard paint as the sides of the kitchen units. They also needed some brackets as extra support...basically you get what you pay for.
I'm very happy with them though!
I should say that I did silicone seal all around the sink, and where the worktop meets the tiles on both sides of the kitchen. This is the job of satan, in fact it took me nearly as long as the tiling itself.

The ends of the units had these kind of pointless little shelves that I guess are meant to store wine bottles. We don't store wine, we drink it. So they were pretty much redundant and too small to put anything in. Until we took out two of the shelves and suddenly we had book shelves!

Over the years we've collected many vintage things for our kitchen that we have used to death. So I had a clear out and refined our things that are useful or nice to look at. Everything else has gone.
I love the look of old wood and pottery against the tiles and plywood.

I'm also going to start using more environmentally healthy cleaning products and cloths and washable sponges etc...and they also look and feel nicer to use too.

To free up some space in our cupboards, I ruthlessly culled all those out of date tins and spices and things we don't use. I now keep them in plain jars so I can easily see what we have (I found three pots of ground cinnamon all out of date, simply because they get wedged right at the back and I forget we had it then bought it again). Such a waste! Also I think seeing ingredients clearly like this, inspires me to do more adventurous and creative cooking.

A few years ago, we bought this cupboard, I straight away painted it grey (it was a brown stain before) and left it dark brown inside. So, to go with our new kitchen, I painted it again in white and also the inside. What a blimmin' job that was! But I absolutely love it now. We moved it to where the breakfast bar thing used to be. I keep all my most treasured treasures in there.

I found a nice fabric cable light bulb fitting on Ebay, and this amazing bulb was from Hema.
It hangs over our little round table, and has a dimmer switch so it can be just like a candle glow.

So, I think thats it! Well done if you've reached this far.
I will add a total of the amount we spent and what we spent it on, if you are thinking to do something with your own kitchen, it might be of some help? or it might put you off 😂


8mm Exterior Hardwood Plywood - £100
Weather-shield undercoat and primer - £30
Dulux trade Diamond Hard eggshell - £30
Rust-Oleum clear sealer - £30
Evo-Stik adhesive - £25
Tiles from Topps Tiles (these were half price at the time) - £165
Tap (from amazon) £25
Tile adhesive/grout, tile cutter and various other tools for tiling - £70
Pendant light fitting (from ebay) - £30
Handles from The Handle Studio - £55
Cooker hood (from Amazon) - £55
Wooden batons to hide strip light fittings - £7
Vintage round table - £15

Total - £637

1 comment

  1. So inspirational! And I absolutely love the outcome :)


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