Back in May I asked the Rock My Style community for advice regarding choosing a kitchen worktop which would add the finishing touch to our victorian terrace galley kitchen renovation. You responded with tonnes of great advice and suggestions and today I am proud to reveal the new kitchen, complete with before and after photographs.
For the record, neither Lizzie or I thought our old kitchen needed ripping out when we first saw it. I mentioned in my previous kitchen post that upon taking on #thecheltenhamhouse renovation project (As it has now become know as on my Instagram account) the kitchen was the only room we decided didn't require major work. However, as we started to renovate other rooms in the house the kitchen became a weak link in the aesthetic chain... Add to this a distinct lack of storage (and a lack of dishwasher) and the argument for a layout rethink started to gather momentum.
Do It Right
What began with a kitchen layout redesign soon escalated into a major room renovation. Once we had chosen our contemporary white handless kitchen we realised that the clean lines of the units were probably going to show up our victorian wonky walls and ceiling. So, the ceiling came down and the walls were stripped back to bare brick. We toyed with the idea of leaving one wall exposed but the brickwork was in such poor condition (check out the evidence here) that we decided to re-plaster. The red brick flooring also had to go, it was an original feature so it was a shame to rip it out but it had been so extensively damaged (And repaired with red painted concrete!) over the years that I didn't feel too bad about giving it the old heave-ho. To finish the job properly the room was re-wired and all previously exposed pipework and wiring was hidden away.
All of this preliminary dirty work added considerably to the total job cost but I feel it was the right thing to do. Not only do we have a new kitchen, we have what feels like a completely new room.
Space & Light
The biggest change in the new kitchen is the layout. we moved from a Galley kitchen layout to a C shaped layout. Although this meant losing floor space it increased storage and usable space. The kitchen feels larger due to the light, bright colour scheme and when standing in the room now it actually feels like a different shape. The old kitchen felt narrow like a thin rectangle; it surprised me when drawing up plans right back at the start of the project that the room is near enough square... I had to go back and check my measurements! With the new C shape layout the room feels spacious. One small decision that really opened the room up was to not have any wall units on the right hand wall. In the old layout a wall cupboard closed the room off blocking all important light from the rooms single window.
The new layout has given us enough space to add a slimline dishwasher to the immediate right of the oven and we have also gained storage space by opting for a full height slide out pantry which sits next to the full height integrated fridge-freezer. Of course full height units mean less work surface but we've added worktop across the back wall and so retain as much usable work surface space as we had previously.
All of the tiles were sourced from Tile Mountain, I found their range and price to be excellent and although I was sceptical about shopping for tiles online, they make it really easy with free samples with next day delivery. The bonus of being sent samples is that you can judge them side by side in situ. For the floor we went for Doblo matt grey porcelain and the walls were treated to white metro tiles, in both cases we used a mid grey grout.
The big decision in which the RMS community helped enormously which material to choose for the worktop. Laminate, Solid Wood, Composite, Concrete or Solid Stone? We dearly wanted the industrial edge that concrete would have provided but the budget said no. In the end we chose a light grey quartz that looks enough like polished concrete. The slim 30mm profile is modern and works really well with the handleless cupboard design, the colour is also a near perfect match to the floor. The worktops were purchased from, and expertly fitted by, Hatherley Worktops a local company who deserve a massive shout out because they were incredibly helpful, did a fantastic job and were unbeatable on price. The thing I really like about the worktop is that as it is made to measure it extends into the windowsill area without a join. This makes me far more happy than it realistically should.
Finally, the colour scheme - we wanted to keep everything as light and bright as possible to maximise the space and I think we've achieved this. We did discuss adding a really strong accent colour to either the units, the worktops or the tiles but in the end we decided that as #thecheltenhamhouse is not our forever home that in the interest of renting or selling down the line it would be best to keep the structural fixings neutral. Instead we've added a flash of sunshine yellow to the non permanent pieces. Some were purchased in that hue, others - like the Philippe Starke lemon squeezer, were painted by yours truly.
The Kitchen Renovation Cost
For those interested in the project costs I've broken them down roughly as follows:
Kitchen units & appliances £5000.00
Plastering, carpentry, electrical and prep work £2000.00
Kitchen installation, flooring and wall tiling £3500.00
If you have any questions regarding the renovation, the logistics or indeed anything else that I have mentioned please do get in touch via the comments section below. You can see some images from the renovation "in-progress" over on my instagram account @adamcrohill.
Photography by Adam Crohill