Saturday 27 February 2016

Kitchen Renovation

It has been a long time coming, our kitchen renovation has taken a good 4 months to get to a place where we are pretty much happy for the time being. We started in November and made a big push to get the kitchen functional before we hosted Christmas, then had a month or so off getting other projects finished. Finally the shelves were put up and we are done for now.

Looking through the old photos I can't believe what a lick of paint and a slightly more modern style can do to a kitchen. Wanna know how much this update cost us? A little under $200. For reals. Well $200 and a tonne of time and skills from Dave. But still - it is possible!

Our whole focus for this reno was to work with what we had. We haven't got thousands of dollars to throw at a new kitchen, as nice as it would be, so we planned, and this is what we came up with!

The first thing Dave did was add a 'breakfast bar' overhang onto the island so that we can add seating in the future, and also increase bench space. He used some scrap wood and spent a long time glueing and clamping, then sanding and varnishing the benchtop to make it seamless. *trade secret - to disguise the join line, he added coffee grinds in with the glue to make the join darker but more wood-like. Genius!*

Dave then sanded, filled and painted the cabinets. He added fake wood panel lines on the cupboard doors to tie them in with the front of the bench and eventually we will replace the wooden handles with something brassy. He then went ahead and chopped off the paper towel rail on the edge of the island. It bought us a good 15cm of extra space which doesn't seem like much but really makes a difference opening the space up.

The tiling was the most costly part of the reno. We wanted subway style 100x300 tiles and to get them up to the height of the windowsill was three rows worth. I think we bought 1.6m2 and they came to around $60. Then we had to buy tile adhesive and grout and tile cutter, as well as the aluminium surround we put around the edges.

We had never tiled before, but with the help of YouTube, we figured it was definitely possible, we gathered together the necessary tools and got to it. Dave spent a while prepping the walls for this, they needed to be nice and flat and after we ripped off the previous wooden splashback, there was a lot of work to be done. Dave used a laser level to get the first row of tiles right, then we used little plastic markers between the tiles to keep the distance even. It was super easy and fun actually, I would happily tile another room. Then we put a bonus row of tiles around where the oven goes and let it dry. Then we removed the plastic bits and grouted. We bought premixed grout in light grey but next time we would mix our own up to save money. I was the grout queen and managed to get rid of the air bubbles and make it relatively even. If you are a professional tiler - please don't look too close!

Dave had bought a set of vintage taps from a demo yard for $15 and he had to install them while we were tiling. We had to take off the old taps, plug them up while we tiled, then put an extension on them so they stuck out far enough from the wall. We had to go without water in the kitchen for a couple of days but we managed!

Once the taps were in and the tiles were done, we did a couple of coats of paint on the walls and left it at that because family was about to arrive for Christmas!

The pot hanger above the breakfast bar was put up a wee while ago - Dave made that from some angle iron and some rebar when he was learning to weld and it looks awesome and I love having my pots and pans easily accessible.

The brackets holding up the breakfast bar and the shelving are designed and made by Dave, he has made a whole bunch of them so we can use them around the house to tie things together. He has plans to make bigger, more ornate versions for our mantlepiece.

Fast forward a month or so and Dave had made up some new shelving for the kitchen. Previously there was just an open shelf along the entire 2 walls up to the window. A year or so ago we added in a cupboard which is still there, although Dave cut it down so it doesn't stick out as far. We put a shelf back in the same place as before and added another shelf above it to maximize the wall space. We also had to remove some weird art deco timber corner features near the ceiling which needed patching up too. We still have the joys of another set in the lounge.

So the shelves went back up and more beautiful brackets were installed and Boom! Kitchen, sorted.

The other thing we did was downsize our hutch that was along the wall towards the lounge. It was slightly too big for the space and was big and bulky. It did have a lot of storage though! But we found a beautiful hutch that was half the size and Dave stripped back the benchtop to wood and varnished it, then painted the rest the same colour as our cupboards (Resene Haast). It fits a lot better in the space and also matches our kitchen perfectly. We have another inbuilt cupboard on another wall which we will do the same thing too but that is a story for another day!

Ideally, the things we will do next are: Eventually upgrade the oven and hob. Figure out what to do with the hot water cylinder cupboard in the right corner - for now we will just paint it. Figure out the best way to light the area. Build inbuilt cupboards around the fridge and have a real, proper pantry. Get new hardware for the cupboards and drawers. Dave wants to make new drawer faces and put in metal sliders too. But those are ongoing projects and we are happy with the kitchen as it is now.

So I hope you enjoy checking out the process of our kitchen makeover - I hope that we have inspired some of you to take the plunge and update your kitchens - it is do-able with a limited budget!!

xx Amy