Our kitchen is the real heart of our home. We are lucky that Mr T works office hours so can share most meals with us, and even comes home for dinner at lunchtime. We spend so much time in the kitchen, making drinks, cooking, watching the children play in the garden or just escaping from Paw Patrol in the living room for a few minutes. Saturday night is games night, where we all sit around the kitchen table playing games and the children make the most of a later bedtime.
We have lived in our little home for almost 10 years now, and in that time we have married and brought home 4 children, this house holds so many happy memories for us. At the same time I’m not very proud our little home. We have done the bare minimum to maintain/paint it, just because we were working so hard to become debt free. Since we cleared all out debt in 2015 its been hard to let go, and we have still been really careful with money with the aim of overpaying our mortgage to become financially free. I know this sounds really silly but spending money still makes me quite anxious, and I’m always thinking of the ‘what-ifs’.
After a lot of thought, we would like this house to be our forever-home. It’s not anything special, but it is very special to us, and it deserves some TLC. I am really looking forward to putting our mark on it, and really make it ours. We haven’t forgotten our ‘mortgage free by 40 goal’, and that’s still our aim; but in the short term, it will be nice to fall back in love with our little house.
A new kitchen table
A few months ago we decided to replace our kitchen table, and it sparked our initial chat about designing a new kitchen. Tables have been the one furniture item that we haven’t had much luck with and we must have had 5 tables in 10 years. All our previous dining tables have been either purchased second-hand or passed on from family, and although we were more than happy with each one (especially when we were struggling financially) they weren’t really our personal style.
We decided to splash out and buy this white gloss table from Habitat. In my life before children, I worked for Habitat as an operations manager. It was so easy to fall in love with their gorgeous products. I lusted over this oak table for years when I worked there, but I wasn’t brave enough to buy an oak table with 4 young children!
Our new shiny white gloss table made our kitchen feel just a little bit grubby, and so we decided that renovating the kitchen was definitely on the cards, but that we would wait a few more years first, until Ava was older.
Struggling with an electric cooker
A few months later Mr Ts grandma sadly died, and his parents asked if we wanted her electric cooker as our cooker has always been a bit odd. That in itself was a bit sentimental; our current gas cooker belonged to my grandma, and we were given it 6 years ago when she died, and I remember feeling really sad that history was almost repeating itself.
When I say our gas cooker was odd, it has a mind of its own and getting anything perfectly cooked was a fine art! The middle of the oven was always the hottest and nothing on the top shelf cooked We didnt replace our ‘odd’ cooker because it was a 50cm slimline model, and I didn’t want to buy another small cooker for our family of six, so I knew replacing it would always involve a kitchen renovation or rejig. But when we were offered Simons Grandma’s cooker, we said a big Yes please!
The only problem we had is Mr Ts grandmas cooker was electric, and I had forgotten how much I just can’t cook with electric cookers. After a few burnt meals, I started to avoid the electric hob at all costs.
And then electric problems.
At a similar time we were having problems with the electrics in our kitchen. We couldn’t use our drier with any other appliance or it would trip a fuse in the plug and often leave the plug badly scorched. It didn’t trip at the consumer unit, and we knew there must something wrong.
Our electric consumer unit was also over 20 years old, so we decided that it would be safer to replace it at the same time as checking our wiring is safe.
Then this happened…
We wanted to move the consumer unit upwards so it would be hidden when we did decide to renovate. Removing the cupboard didn’t go to plan and it had to be broken off the wall, and couldn’t be rebuilt afterwards. And so the decision was made, and the kitchen plans started.
Our current kitchen
These photos were taken after we had removed cupboards and the first part of the electrical work had begun. They are very messy, and lived- in!
Two of our main issues with our kitchen are the staircase slant (above, top left) and the little wall between the door and the fridge. Our house was built in the 1940s and the kitchen would have originally been in the space to the left of the photo (with no need for appliances then!). The space to the right would have been the dining room.
This section of the kitchen was added by us about 6 years ago on a tight budget. It doesn’t match the other side of the kitchen but it was the closest we could find and gave us the storage space we needed as our family grew. It doesn’t leave us much space for the table, and if anyone is sat down its impossible to open the cupboards.
Our biggest wants for our new kitchen were better lighting (including spotlights and pendants), integrated appliances and better storage.
We have decided to go for an Ikea kitchen, mainly because of the value for money, but also the flexible organization options. In the interests of saving money, we wanted to design and fit our kitchen ourselves (with help!). We are huge fans of the Ikea brand because of their values, especially their commitment to having a positive impact on the planet.
The only non-ikea part of the kitchen plan is the oak worktop. Ikea standard worktops measure a maximum of 246cm, which would mean we would need 2 joints in our longest length. We found worktop express online and were really impressed with their reviews, prices and commitment to sustainability.
Work on our kitchen is now well underway, and I can’t wait to share the finished result!
What would you add to your dream kitchen?