This week marks exactly three years since we moved into our very first home. It’s the fourth house we’ve lived in as a couple, the third we’ve lived in as a family, the second we’ve lived in in Devon but the first – the very first – that we’ve actually owned. This house is special, in all sorts of ways. However, despite the love we have for the house, there’s one thing we’ve always hated: the kitchen. We didn’t have the cash to splash on a completely new kitchen, ripping out the old units and replacing the worktops with sleek new ones. So instead we had to get a bit creative and do a major DIY kitchen makeover ourselves.
Here are the results…
The kitchen we have dates back to around 1993. The units were covered in a scratched blue laminate, with glass fronted cabinets meaning everything was on show. This forced us to keep our food in the larder, which meant everything else – plates, microwave, glasses etc – were crammed into the cupboards. Practically speaking, it didn’t work. The cupboards didn’t shut properly, there was barely any worktop space, and I was forever having to empty out full cupboards to find exactly the saucepan or bowl I needed.
The only window into the room is overlooked by the side of the house next door (we live in a terraced house), so there’s barely any light in the kitchen. At some point, a former owner had put in an interior window along one wall, but the glass was covered in fake faux Tudor style fretwork which looked dated and kept the kitchen feeling completely cut-off from the rest of the open-plan downstairs. I hated it.
Taking out pane of glass in that space instantly opened it up, gave us more light into the room and made it feel a whole lot more sociable. My dad came over for the weekend while my mum looked after the girls, and we smashed the glass (a strangely satisfying yet incredibly messy job) because it had been glued in and refused to budge. The NLM and my dad then built a breakfast bar on the other side and put new wood panelling around the inside edge of the window.
The new breakfast bar instantly makes the kitchen feel a part of the rest of the downstairs space, and the kids love eating their breakfast there in the mornings. It’s a lovely space to sit and chat to whoever’s cooking, with or without a large G&T. (See the product listings below for details of the chairs – a steal at £40 each.)
While they were busy with the breakfast bar and window, I got to work painting the walls in Ronseal’s anti-mould paint in white matt. It’s a one-coat paint but I did two just to be on the safe side (and also because we had a rather gross old red wine stain up one side of the wall which proved to be stubborn to cover).
I also painted the cupboards with Ronseal cupboard paint. We’d already stripped off the laminate plastic (top tip: iron the cupboards first to melt the glue, then the plastic simply peels off in seconds) and swapped out the glass fronts for sheets of MDF. Later, Dad and the NLM put new handles on them – ones I picked out from Homebase.
I also painted the dark blue, yellow and red tiles in the white tile paint by Ronseal. This is a one-coat paint, but I ended up using three coats because the old tiles were so dark and the black grout proved to be a bugger to cover. We had a party at the weekend and no one could believe the tiles were painted – everyone assumed we’d ripped out the old ones and put in new ones (a job we didn’t have the time or energy for!) so I reckon the effect is pretty successful.
Once we were done with the painting, we hung a large piece of driftwood which we’d found at the beach, along the top of the window. This is where we used to have a sticky old rollerblind – which was long since broken! With a few hooks from IKEA, the driftwood made the perfect place to hang a couple of hanging planters (Macrame Ceramic Hanging Planter Set – Green) along with space for three saucepans. This gives us a bit of privacy without blocking the light AND provides extra storage – triple win.
We’re a colour-loving family and I was keen for the kitchen to feel like a cohesive part of the rest of the downstairs, where we have yellow feature walls with bright pops of colour scattered throughout (turquoise and pink feature heavily) along with eclectic accessories. Luckily the new kitchen gave us the perfect blank canvas to play with, and with a few additions there’s plenty of colour in there now.
I love the new kitchen and the fact that the whole makeover cost us less than £330. It’s made the room feel a part of the rest of our home and is now so much more of a practical and sociable a space.
Ronseal one coat tile paint, brilliant white, satin (covers 8m² per litre), £21.99 for 750ml tin | Ronseal anti mould paint for walls and ceilings, white, matt (covers 12m² per litre), £19.99 for 750ml tin |Ronseal one coat cupboard and melamine paint, brilliant white, satin (covers 8m² per litre), £21.99
MDF for cupboards (B&Q), £15 | Wood for breakfast bar (B&Q), £20 | Strips of wood for interior window (B&Q), £10
Butcher’s block, Gumtree, £30 | Bar chairs, Premier Housewares on Amazon, £40 – currently sold out but Eiffel Style Designer Bar Stool Dining Chair- Black are similar, as are the SoBuy® White ABS Plastic Bar Stool, Kitchen Breakfast Barstool with Wooden Legs, FST34-W.
Natalie Lea Owen teatowel, Roost shop, £12.99 (buy directly from the shoppable edit at the bottom of this post here). | Macrame ceramic hanging planter by Temerity Jones at Amazon, £26.95 (turquoise is sold out but still available in Macrame Ceramic Hanging Planter Set – Green. | Storage tins, Cooksmart Seville Storage Tins, Set of 3, £9.99 | Flour tins, Trago Mills, £3.50 each. | Turquoise saucepans, Trago Mills, £14.99 for set of three. | Banana leaf, banana and grapefruit posters (30 x 40cm), Desenio, £9.99 each. | Chalkboard, Home Bargains, 99p (stuck with white sugru mouldable glue, £6.99).
TOTAL SPEND: £328.84
Thanks to Ronseal for working with me on this post. Also contains some affiliate links. For more details of how I work with brands, check out my Work With Me page.