I recently had my kitchen renovated. Well, it was a couple of months ago now but I’m still tweaking and styling, and a little bit traumatised by the whole experience.
The spiritual and practical HQ of our household, I don’t think I was truly prepared for the disruption it would cause. I thought I’d planned well but what I hadn’t planned on was the food and food storage situation spiraling out of control as a result of frustration and a little bit of laziness. I had the content of my larder laid out on the dining room table and chairs and surrounds of the conservatory in some kind of order, and we had bits and cupboard contents stuffed in boxes and on every available surface in the living room. It started off fine, but as the days went on, I came to appreciate more and more the value of having everything in its right place. As there was no proper home for the toaster anymore, it got moved about and placed in different places each day, and the same went for things like pasta, keys, scissors and biscuits, crisps, nuts and baking dishes. I was thankful we had the fridge to keep the fresh food in order, safe in the knowledge that it would be in the same place it was yesterday.
Preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the family became increasingly difficult as different parts of the kitchen were rendered out of bounds due to tiling and lose worktops. One night we couldn’t use the sink. It could have been worse. My builder was very understanding about the needs of family life and made sure I had the use of it for all but one night. And while I’m here I’ll give a shout-out to the dynamic duo who made it happen, Graham and Damian of G. Edwards Plumbing. They took on my verbally-communicated instruction and played kitchen tetris, never really certain of the vision I had in mind. But they nailed it and once I found the right tiles for the splashback, everything fell into place. It took me while to figure out where everything should go for maximum efficiency and aesthetic value. We’re all getting used to putting the dishes away in their new homes and sometimes I’ll glaze over trying to remember where I put the baking powder or the colander.
There’s load of information out there about how to make a small room bigger, but no one tells you how to make a cavernous space appear inviting with its charm and character. Having such a huge space to renovate, meant I had to make smart choices about materials and the commitment to retain the old oak cupboards proved to be a difficult, but rewarding decision. Not easy to colour match the new kickboards. Not easy to know which tiles or benchtop would complement a style of kitchen cabinetary that went out of fashion over 20 years ago, but fortune favours the brave.
Here’s before ….