It’s a really exciting week over here right now. We’re moving towards getting water tight on the extension and being able to knock through the kitchen and dining room. To prepare for knocking through we had to rip out our old kitchen over the weekend. It is an understatement to say that I was pleased to get that kitchen out. If you have followed along for a while, you’ll probably know that I HATED this kitchen. Whilst ripping it out, I said to Jack ‘had I known that we would have to live with this kitchen for so long, I don’t think that I would have bought the house’. That is how much I hated this kitchen. We bought the house in June 2019, and original plans were to start the kitchen extension in spring 2020. For obvious reasons, the work didn’t start and we had to postpone starting the building work until June 2021. That means that we had this kitchen in for 25 months!
This is going to sound really over dramatic, but I remember the day that we realised that we were going to have to postpone the work for another year. When the realisation settled in, I did have a little cry. The kitchen for us (and for lots of you I bet) is the most important room in the house. It’s where (ideally) we would spend most of our time. The pictures of the kitchen don’t do it justice. It was so grubby, the cupboards were rickety and there was no cooker. When we moved in we had bought a Tefal induction hob (this one), but hadn’t really considered that we might be using it for two years.
I’m sure those of you with a similar reno kitchen will understand. I just didn’t want to have people around the house and in our kitchen. I didn’t want to be in there. So, after a few tears we decided to do a low budget, temporary tidy up to make the next year feel so much better.
I thought that since we have just said goodbye to the kitchen, and we had it for a year I’d talk you through what small changes we made, and how well they lasted.
Years ago, whilst we were renting, my Pintrest was full of navy kitchens with marble/quartz countertops. We knew that this isn’t what we were going to go for in our new kitchen, so thought that it would be a good opportunity to have that kitchen look in our temporary one. A really budget friendly and easy way to update laminate counter tops like the ones that we had is to use a vinyl wrap. We found this marble DC Fix wrap (here) came well recommended and was super easy to use. Just take the backing off and smooth out with something with an edge (I used a bank card). If it isn’t in exactly the right place, you can just lift it off, reposition and start again.
The tricky bit was the sink. It took a little bit of faffing but all I did was measure up the sink and draw a template on the vinyl and use scissors to cut it out. I then lay it over the counter and sink and used a scalpel to tidy up the edges. To make it look nice at the edges we re-siliconed between the counter and the wall.
The other problem was that a section of the worktop was missing where the cooker would have originally been. The previous owners had balanced a new bit of worktop over the gap (below). We decided to make the top look like it had a big wooden chopping block on the top (I actually got a few questions asking where we’d found such a big chopping block!). We cut the white extra worktop down to size and used offcuts to fill in the gap along the front between the two bits of work top. We then wrapped all of this in the marble DC fix. To hide the gap, we used the cut down worktop wrapped in a wood effect dc fix (here) and screwed it into place. I think it covered the gap really well!
So how did it hold up? I had read quite a lot online warning that this vinyl isn’t heat resistant (obviously). We we’re really careful not to put hot pans/trays directly onto the top. I bought a couple of cork trivets from ikea (here) and made sure that we used them. After a year, we didn’t notice any heat damage, or any water damage (probably helped by the silicone). One thing that we did notice was a stain where we had spilt curry sauce and didn’t clean it up straight away so be careful of that. Overall, I think that this is a great way to refresh your counters if you’re after a less permanent fix!
Now, these grey floral tiles are going to be to someones taste but they definitely weren’t to mine. They really dated the kitchen. Luckily, there is a really quick fix to this. Loads of brands now do a tile paint and it was easy enough to use. We used this one here but I’m sure lots of them will do the job. Two coats completely covered the pattern and it looked much more modern being plain white. I also used a grout pen in between to freshen that up (here). The paint lasted really well, and there were no chips. I will say that it was slightly harder to clean than just the plain tiles, but nothing a bit of scrubbing couldn’t handle.
What I will say is that if we were going to keep the temporary kitchen for longer, or if I had wanted to spend a little bit more money, I would have went for some of the fabulous self adhesive tiles that are on the market, I think that this would have had a much nicer finish. Something like this would have been perfect.
For the cabinets, we knew that we wanted a dark navy, and settled on the Valspar colour Victorian Dusk in their interior wood and metal finish. We painted sanded and primed the cabinets and it took 3 coats of paint to get a nice even finish with a roller. Painting the cabinets definitely made the biggest difference and is such an easy fix if you are bored of your current kitchen cabinets. In terms of longevity, I didn’t notice any chips on the actual cabinets after a year of use. We did have some chips on the shelving where we were regularly moving things around. I think a yearly touch up would have kept it looking fresh.
If I was going to keep the cabinets for a bit longer, I would have definitely used a mineral based paint, like on from Frenchic for bette longevity.
By far the easiest change and the one which really modernised the feel of the whole kitchen was replacing the old handles. We went for some really cheap and cheerful handles (here) to get us through the next year. I think these brass bar handles tie the whole thing together perfectly and it felt much better having brand new clean handles to use. We originally had little wooden knob handles and the holes for these weren’t quite in the right place but we just filled the old holes and drilled new ones for the new handles.
All in all, if you’re living in a renovation, with new kitchen in sight i would definitely recommend giving some of these ideas a try. It made the kitchen feel much more ours, more modern and much cleaner. I didn’t mind AS MUCH when people came around. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect, and won’t act as a substitute for a completely new kitchen, but it did the job and lasted much better than I had expected it to.
I’m now so excited about our new kitchen, and if anyone would like any advice about living in a renovation without a kitchen drop me a message on Instagram!
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