Kicking into kitchen gear

I guess spring has both Liam and I itching to tackle another challenge in our house – the kitchen. While I love a bit of DIY, I know when it’s time to call in the experts. And for us, the kitchen is one of those rooms where in the long run, both the end result and our low stress levels will be well worth the additional money we’ll spend.

Raring to go, we sketched up a few different layouts one night, then found ourselves a builder and decorator. Even though my sketches weren’t to scale and were rough, they were hugely helpful when it came time to talk through what we wanted to do. Luckily our builder and the designer from Howdens (they offer a free design service, which is SO helpful) liked our layout and made a few additional suggestions (cupboards that go all the way up to the ceiling? Yes please!). Two days later, we already have rough CAD designs to sign off. All properly measured. All pretty much ready to cost, order and go. So let’s show you around.

Right wall with hidden appliances
Right wall with hidden appliances

At the moment, our giant 6-range cooker and massive American-size fridge are taking up so much space that there’s only room for one tower of drawers and one cupboard. Plus our counter space is almost non-existant and I constantly find myself balancing plates, pots and pans on the two additional burners I never use. So our priority was to slim down our appliances and gain back some counter space. Going from left to right along the bottom, we have a skinny dishwasher, a washer-dryer, our built-in oven, fridge and freezer. We wanted everything tucked away behind cupboards to streamline it and make it a nice extension of the living room. We saved so much space swapping our appliances that there’s even room for a little built-in wine cubby before you hit our pantry (a 300 cm wide pull out one) and finally our giant cupboard where the hoover, cat food, mops, and other miscellaneous items will live. Along the top, we’ve built in our microwave and surrounded it with cupboards to make up for the storage we lost below, and even gain some space for things like nice china and glasses that we don’t use very often. On the lefthand side of the extractor hood, we were planning to put open shelving so that the window lets in as much light as possible. But now that we’ve seen it without anything there, we quite like the space. We’ll see what happens.

Left wall with built-in breakfast bar
Left wall with built-in breakfast bar

On the opposite wall, we’re upgrading our current make-do breakfast bar to a built-in one. It will be the same height as the worktop so everything is nice and level in the room. The lefthand side is a little wine fridge. And the right hand side we have a set of drawers; the bottom is deep enough to hold pots and pans, the middle one plates, and the top, cutlery. We were worried we might not have enough storage, so asked the team to include a set of small cabinets above the bar, however we are thinking about removing these to reduce the visual clutter. (You’ll see why in a minute). I can’t wait to be able to sit there with a glass of wine! Above the drawers, we are planning to create a little coffee station so this effectively is our drinks station for morning, noon and night.

Looking into the kitchen
Looking into the kitchen


Finally looking into the kitchen you can see the back wall. The lefthand cupboard houses our boiler, and we’ll be building in a spot for the cat litter directly below it, complete with cat flap. But we’ve managed to sneak in one more cabinet above our boiler, thanks to the high ceilings. The cupboard just to the left of the sink is a pull-out bin. And then we have a little corner cupboard under the sink that will house all our cleaning supplies.

The one thing we can’t decide is whether to keep the cupboards above the bar, or let them go. We think they will come in handy and would be a good additional selling point if we do decide to sell the flat down the road. However I could imagine some amazing art above the breakfast bar, which would be much more fun to look at while I sit and sip my wine. What do you think?

The countertops will be solid oak, which should match our floors. And we’ve decided to upgrade from Greenwich to the Glendevon units, which are not much more expensive but are much more robust as they’re not made out of thin particle board. If there’s one thing I need my kitchen to be it’s hard-wearing. All our handles will be slimline brushed steel hidden along the edges of the units. And we’re going to do a tiled backsplash roughly halfway up the right wall and the back wall around the sink. Colour is still to be determined but we’re leaning towards a silvery-blue-grey. A bit like this:

Photo on
Photo on

Final touches will be red Tolix stools to slide under the bar. I’m adoring these:

photo from
photo from

And of course, white walls to tie in with the living room so that it feels like one lovely open space.

So that’s it – sorry for the long post, but we’re super excited to get going and have been very impressed with our Howdens experience so far (thanks guys!). Our builder isn’t free until May, so we’ll have to wait a bit yet to get things going but it feels great to at least have a plan in motion.

Any suggestions? Anything you would change? It’s our first time doing a kitchen, so advice is always welcome!


3 thoughts on “Kicking into kitchen gear

  1. It is a lovely plan. I love the color of the stools, but would recommend a small back for support while you sit and relax. I wonder if you could move the cabinets above the bar up to the ceiling, and make them a little longer. You would gain that storage but still have enough space under the cabinets to hang artwork. Also the cabinets have lighting underneath which would be nice on the artwork and the counter. Also that lighting would be important if you use the bar countertop for additional workspace. You could hang glasses from underneath there also, for additional wine glass storage. I hope these ideas make sense and are helpful.

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