New World, New Kitchen
Last year we redid the bathroom. And throughout the process of doing it, I kept saying “kitchen” instead of “bathroom” in conversations.
Maybe it was some subconscious desire to redo the kitchen, I thought at the time.
The kitchen did need doing though. It was clearly rather cheap crap when it was installed in the 1980s, and now it was really falling apart.
Worse still, the whole design was just poor. The cupboards were just plonked in without rhyme or reason, and there weren’t enough of them meaning that some items (like the food processor) had to live perpetually on the worktops. The cooker was a standalone model with huge gaps on either side which meant food could fall on the floor. The space wasn’t utilised at all well. It wasn’t clean – indeed it seemed to attract dirt and muck like you wouldn’t believe. I’d never managed to actually get the cooker free of grime.
Things were falling apart. The lights were half broken, and I was convinced the cooker would break at any time. Then at Christmas the taps stopped working properly. I attempted to replace the tap heads but the confounded things had rusted and it was near impossible. We ended up having to use pliers in order to actually get any water.
In short, it was time for a new kitchen. And hopefully you’ll agree it’s a huge improvement!
With a small kitchen like ours, the design is everything. One of our requests was to increase storage space as much as possible, so the new layout saw the sink move under the window.
Additional cupboards were mounted on the wall either side of the cooker – including a corner cupboard which is, alas, slightly tight to get into thanks to the new extractor fan, but do-able. There’s also now a cupboard above the freezer. Moving the sink also meant we now have a nice long worktop right next to the cooker rather than having to chop under the window then carry it to the other side of the kitchen.
Catherine and myself really liked the glossy white effect for the cupboards, so we mixed that with a wood effect worktop. The glossy white reflects light well in the small space.
The design is quite tight in some respect and our new broom cupboard is narrower than the old one – a bit too narrow as I now have to disassemble our Dyson slightly in order to store it away. However the flip side is I’ve got a full set of proper drawers for the first time.
Which all the white, I was keen on a bold colour for the tiles. Originally I suggested having three different tile colours all mixed up which I’ve seen elsewhere and works really well. However we just couldn’t find any tiles that we liked. However we then found some nice “Metro” tiles – they’re the rectangular ones that you put together in a kind of brick effect. They were available in about a hundred different colours so we found a nice green and went with it.
Half way through the building work, we found out the style had been discontinued. This was annoying, but we went for a 10x10cm square in the same colour and it works really well. Our builder offered us the choice of normal grout or one with a tint of green.
Having to make a snap decision, I picked the green. I thought it would be more of a grassy green but it turned out to be a bluey-green. Looking at it for the first time, I have to say I thought we might end up having to get it all regrouted, but it’s really grown on me and the hint of blue complements the soft green quite nicely, and means the grout doesn’t stand out hugely.
One of the biggest challenges was appliances – mainly because there’s just so much choice. I’d had a few suggestions from people that black hobs would show up the muck less and be easier to keep clean. That left me scouring websites wondering what the difference was between the 60 odd black gas hobs was. In the end I went for a Hotpoint.
I wanted a good double oven, and scouring Which?’s online reviews, Bosch seemed to come out very well so I opted for one of theirs. It’s an electric fan oven and does seem slightly slower to cook things than my old gas oven however the dial on the old oven had worn off years before and I was never quite sure what temperature I was cooking at! I’d probably been overdoing food for years!
The extractor fan is a Baumatic – no, I’ve never heard of them either – but it has nice and curvy glass. Which will probably get really mucky. Ho hum. The fridge freezer and washing machine were our old models.
Getting it all sorted was a pain in the neck, however it looks lovely now, despite there being more cupboards, seems to feel bigger too.
Alas there was one unintended consequence. It’s became clear that we had a small colony of mice living in our house who had no doubt been feasting off crumbs and stuff from behind the old cooker, and from the bag of birdseed which I’d had on a shelf in the hall. I’d once seen one climb the outside wall and enter the loft area, but never seen any evidence of them in the house, but clearly they must have been visiting.
The new kitchen meant everything could be stashed away and can be kept substantially cleaner, which has clearly disrupted their previous feeding patterns. So much was this apparent that one morning I’d found that they’d resorted to munching on my cork heat-proof mats, whilst a few nights later we found one in the bedroom.
Whilst I’d like to hope they’ll eventually get the “lack of food” message and just leave, I’m not that niave, so we’ve a trap waiting for them loaded with peanut butter (which they apparently like) with the hope that we can catch them and release them somewhere else. They may find a new home in the park down the road…