5 Things We Learnt During Our Kitchen Renovation

HOME RENOVATION, Kitchen Project

The kitchen renovation is 99.9% complete. I say that because I can not choose a fabric for a window blind and this is the last thing we need to fully finish this room. Apart from that I am totally happy with how it looks and the work – including family and tradespeople help – that has gone into it. With the project this far complete I have put together a list of a few things we have learnt along the way. We started the kitchen renovation in 2016 and proceeded with little progress steps since then ( I can hardly believe but that time has gone quick) got married half way through and we can now just enjoy being in the space. 

  1. There will always be something we have forgotten or need to go back to the store for. No matter how much we try and plan a project down to the very last nail we always end up back at B & Q for a last minute piece of equipment or a forgotten item. 
  2. It can cost more than initially planned. Because of the previously mentioned ‘extra’ shopping trips there always tend to be a bigger bill at the end of a project. If we end up spending £10-£20 each time we go to the DIY store this can quickly add up. It also takes time. Figuring out what you are missing then heading to the store can take just over an hour out of the day. The only way to overcome this is to plan and plan again. This goes for points 1 & 2 – Go around the room, think about the tasks and write a list of everything that is needed before shopping. With everything online we can even price up the ENTIRE project before we go ahead with it and see if anything needs to come down or if another store has the same thing but cheaper. 
  3. Sometimes we can’t do it all. Occasionally it is best to leave some areas of renovation to the experts and we did outsource what we wanted/needed to. One of these circumstances was that we decided that we would have the kitchen professionally decorated. Even though painting is well within our capabilities I still believe that it was a good decision to outsource it. One evening after the fresh plaster had fully dried I made a start on preparing the wall. I had been informed that I needed to do a half water/ half paint mix but as I layered paint on the wall I got more and more worked up about whether I was doing it right and just the fact that there was A LOT of wall to cover as we had no cabinets up at this point. It would also have taken me way longer than was actually worth so we hired a decorator who completed the work in two days. 
  4. Don’t buy anything until 100% certain. When we first moved in I saw some taps on offer. They were to match the shaker style units I was having and the Belfast sink. A couple of weeks before we bought the kitchen I had designed two styles of kitchen. One completely based on country chic and the other glossy and modern. I could not decide between the two and left it to my husband. He chose modern and the taps I had previously bought, along with tea towels and vases, did not match. Now I tend not to buy into certain pieces or styles until the room is coming together. Luckily I was able to sell the taps, which were unopened and give the vases to my friend who is definitely going for the country cottage style kitchen. I can’t even say that this is the only time I have done this as we have prints that will never see the light of day in our house. 
  5. I am capable of more than I think I am. Recently we tiled our kitchen (you can see the video of it here) and it was one of the things I didn’t know we were going to be able to complete. My Dad has helped with a lot of the kitchen in terms of laying the floor and fixing the cabinets in place and I thought this help would be needed again, however during lockdown this wasn’t possible. With advice via a few video calls to Mum and Dad, myself and Bren tiled, grouted and completed the kitchen. 

I love our new look kitchen and couldn’t be more proud of the kitchen renovation from what it was to now. It should also be mentioned that the project was done on a budget. We didn’t exactly have a final figure in mind but we have saved where possible and do not have a pot of renovation money – I can only dream! Different stages also took longer while we were saving up for the next step as we couldn’t to do everything at once and many of our family and friends reiterated that ‘these things take time’ over the years. Having said this our kitchen is also the hub of the house (and my favourite room) so we wanted it to look good. It may have taken 4 years but if it hadn’t I might have already redecorated by now *renovation obsessed friends where you at?*

If you would like to see more I have put more photos of what it was like before on my Instagram highlights so go check them out and stay tuned for our next room renovation project!

Ways I’m Bringing Travel Into Our Home

Kitchen Project

We try to go away, visit somewhere new or take a weekend trip to a familiar place a few time throughout the year. This depends on what budget we have at the time and what holidays we have available with work and so on. Of course, when we aren’t away we spend a lot of our time at home. We have lived in our house for around 5 years now and I don’t think I will ever stop decorating or finding some kind of DIY job and because of this we will never be finished. Even though we are at home I enjoy bringing little bits or places we have been to inside. They can either spark memories of things we have seen and done or inspire more trips. I decided to put this little list together with some of the items we have brought in to our house and a few that I would love to include one day.

Prints

We have quite a few of these in our house. Our Kitchen has developed a Lake District print theme and we purchased these on a trip a couple of years back. We have visited both of the places they represent and they go perfectly with our blue chairs, win win. In this genre we also have a drawing of the Arc De Triomphe which I love in our living room. This was a car boot purchase for 20p(!) so a very cost effective way of bringing the travel memories home. Last but not least is our Venice print from Pretty in Prints. We had recently returned from our Venice holiday when I saw this on their Instagram page.

Decorative Items 

Our Bakewell Pudding Mini Crate and Paris tray sit nicely in this idea. These mini crates were very popular at one point but I hadn’t seen a Bakewell one until we visited Belper one day (I know not quite the right place!) We love the Derbyshire town so I had to make the purchase.

The wooden painted Paris tray was a gift. I’m pretty sure again this was in the wrong location as it was bought from a shop in Switzerland I believe. It is two of my favourite colours and its a bit beaten now (I even dug it out of a bag once as my husband had tried throwing it away) but I love the design and images reminding me of places we’ve been.

Holiday Photos

This is probably the most expensive way to get travel items in your home because you need to actually go on the holiday to get the photo. Photoshop not allowed for this one I’m afraid. You can’t risk a new friend popping over and asking you all about your trip to Japan because she caught sight of you in a photo in the hallway. These can certainly bring back memories of trips and experiences remembering being in that exact spot.   

I also have an idea on my wishlist and of course it had to be food and drink related. I love trying to recreate a meal at home that we loved whilst we were away somewhere. An Italian inspired risotto or an attempt at chimney cake from Budapest just binging meal inspiration home. I must admit cooking is not my strong suit so I am sticking with a beverage idea instead. We visited The Lakes Gin Distillery a while back and I would love to order a couple of bottles to remind us of that time and the location.

Have you got any travel inspired pieces in your home? What would you add?