Beautiful antique brass taps set against F&B Down Pipe Pin Image

Kitchen Planning and Pondering

Author: Lisa Soeno

Thank goodness interior design updates to your own home don’t come with deadlines, because if that was the case I would’ve been sacked by now. Project Kitchen Makeover in the Soeno household may be the slowest project of all time.

Just to recap. We’re going to paint the kitchen cupboards rather than shell out for a whole new kitchen to be fitted. The money we save on this we can put towards new quartz worktops. I’m going to pop the amtico floor tiles on eBay and replace with oak amtico in a herringbone pattern. The larder is going to be ripped out to make room for a much-needed, big-ass, family dining table. The colour scheme is going to be off-white and oak with a few hints of black, and perhaps a flash of metallic.

The reasons WHY I’m procrastinating when it comes to updating the kitchen are as follows.

1. Jenson’s favourite thing to do of late is to toddle around the kitchen pulling cutlery out of drawers and emptying the lower cupboards of their contents. I’ve had to pop one of those child safety locks on the drawer full of the Best Ceramic Knives to keep them safe from chubby grabby toddler hands. My plan is to paint the kitchen but I’m not sure how well painted cupboards and adhesive child locks will mix: when I eventually take the locks off, will a chunk of paint peel off too?

2. I’d like to switch the bar handles on the kitchen cupboards for smaller, sleeker knob handles and cup pull handles. This means that the current holes for hardware are in the wrong place. I’m HOPING that a squeeze of woodfiller and a lick of paint will do the job at filling in the existing holes, then I can just drill some new ones. However will the ‘old’ holes still be slightly visible and will I be devo about this?

3. I’m still umming and ahhing over kitchen hardware and taps. I love the look of matt black taps and hardware but are these going to look too modern in what is essentially a shaker style kitchen?

Or should I stick to something classic like antique brass or cast iron or oil rubbed bronze?

Do I want to go matchy-matchy with the taps and hardware, or should I mix it up and have aged metal cupboard handles and a contrasting black tap? Is this the most questions ever asked in one Rock My blog post and should I just stop wittering on and start ripping up floors and ordering worktops and worry about the finer details at the end?!

Which do you prefer, modern fixtures and fittings, or classic and timeless aged metal pieces? Check out modern kitchen renovation at

Anyone else spend far too much time thinking and not enough time doing when it comes to updating their home?!

Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
Follow Lisa on instagram @lisa.soeno
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28 thoughts on “Kitchen Planning and Pondering

  1. Surely you could get the taps and place them in situ to see what you think, and then take back if you’re not keen? And if you’re painting, does it matter if the kiddy safety things affect it? Keep some paint back and touch it up? Sounds like you’re tormenting yourself, and will feel a lot better if you start trying stuff out.

  2. We are currently renovating our 1970s house from top to bottom. I am overwhelmed with choice and the only solution I can find is to limit what I look at and just make decisions! If I don’t like things, they can be changed. Yes that could be more expensive but I don’t have the time to worry about a million different types of kitchen cupboard handles or amtico vs Karndean vs own brand LVT. If we find something we like, we just go for it! Builder says we need to choose a door for the utility by the following day…..get on Howdens website, choose door I like and tell him. That’s about my thought process. I’m staying off Pinterest and Instagram and they are a rabbit warren of design choices. Yes it’s our “forever home” but at the end of the day a kitchen is a kitchen, I want a space I like and that works for us, but we are so fortunate to own our large spacious home in a nice area that even if we had to live with the 1980s kitchen forever I would still love the house! I suppose what I’m saying is, chill out a bit, step away from Pinterest, buy things you like and don’t sweat the small stuff.

    1. Lol-ing at ‘Step away from Pinterest’! But google is also so overwhelming!

      Good luck with your renovation x

  3. I spent ages deciding on my kitchen before re-doing it last year particularly the fixtures and the little details so it’s nice to see I’m not alone with questions like these! If it makes you feel any better it did mean once work started pretty much 95-98% of all questions the fitter had regarding grout and silicone colours etc. had already been chosen so fitting was really quick and there weren’t any delays.

    Regarding your kitchen so long as your cabinets are wood (and not other materials that might show up marks more) and it’s done carefully you should be able to fill the old handle holes so that you can’t see them. Having done it on an old wooden dresser it can be done!
    For taps and handles I too stressed over whether matt black would look too modern. Ultimately I decided against them in favour of a different style but that was more due to the room being a small open-plan kitchen/living/dining room rather than the fact they wouldn’t work with the style. Personally I think the style and shape of the tap would have far more bearing on the overall look so nothing too squared off or sleek (more a swan neck style or wall mounted to keep the style in keeping) and with the handles I love the look of the brass handles with the black tap in your top picture (right-hand most one with the wooden stools). So long as the handles are aged so they have a black cast to them they’ll go wonderfully with the black.

    Ultimately though its all your choice and I’m positive that it’ll be absolutely stunning when its finished and all the time spent asking questions like this will feel so well spent when you’re all sitting round that big-ass family dining table.

    1. Hayley thank you for such a useful and lovely comment! (Particularly the taps bit – SO useful and just nice to hear someone else’s point of view). And it’s good to hear I’m not the only ditherer 😂 Our kitchen cabinets are laminate, I hope the filling-in-holes truck is still going to work?! X

  4. I think whatever you choose it’s going to look stunning, and I understand the agony of decision making. When it came to our kitchen, as others have said above, we deliberately limited our choices, which made it easier for the pair of us to find something we both liked. I think had money been no object, and had it been just me I had to think about, some of my design choices would have been bolder – and I possibly could have lived with them for less time. And whilst there may be some small things I wish we’d been able to push the boat out on a bit more (like the sink/tap) overall I’m pretty happy with what we have.

    When it comes to the rest of the house though, one day we might finally get round to painting over those paint swatches in the living room, and I might actually choose a wall paper I like… it’s not that I fear making the wrong choice, so much as I’m just a great procrastinator, that can’t settle on one project at a time.

    1. Thank you Rebecca K 😘😘😘
      Interesting that you would’ve gone for something bolder but possibly lived with it for less time had it just been you making the decisions.
      What are your wallpaper choices? Have you narrowed them down? (I’m procrastinating again 😂) x

  5. Ahh Lisa I feel your pain, I currently have floor samples coming out of my ears! This is proving the most troublesome choice for us. I’m still no closer to deciding. Keep going lovely, you’ll nail it in the end xxx

  6. If anyone is thinking of vinyl style flooring (we can’t have wood in our very uneven floor, it’s like walking up a hill) I highly recommend Karndean flooring. My husband was completely against it, until we visited their main showroom in Evesham, Worcester, lots of room settings to see them in. Well worth the trip,if you are undecided and aren’t far away, lots of visitors have mistaken ours for real wood.

    1. I recently viewed a house with Karndean flooring and really loved it. The owner had to point out it wasn’t real wood. Also, there was no visible wear and tear near the patio door, despite there being two young kids in the house. I’m definitely considering Karndean in the house I hope to buy.

      Don’t worry about the hardwear – Instagram and Pinterest have a lot to answer for! I won’t be bankrupting myself for a tap or handles, no matter how pretty they are. Once everything is in place it will all look great and you will wonder why you got so worked up about a tap.

      1. This is why I’m a fan of Amtico…so practical and warm yet looks like wood.

        You’re so right Claire B. I look forward to that day 😊

  7. We are nearing the end of our kitchen renovation (over five months!) I devour over images instagram (and rockmystyle) but found making my own decisions so difficult. In the end i’ve realised you can’t plan everything in advance and i’ve changed my mind as i’ve gone along. I initially put too much pressure on myself but nothing is irreversible and whatever you do go for you will love because you chose it (and no one else). Try not to have a complete picture of what it will look like at the start.

    1. Our gorgeous home tours have a lot to answer for! Ha ha.

      ‘Nothing is irreversible’…need to remember this mantra. And your last sentence.

      Hooray that yours is nearly finished! Five months is a long time. I should probably get a wriggle on if we’re going to have Christmas dinner at ours…x

  8. I’ve been planning our kitchen for YEARS and it’s still not fully finished, having started in May. It is at least useable now. I know exactly how you feel with all of the decisions and questions, as I had so many about mixing metals and cupboard styles. We’ve gone for some of the same things that you have and it all looks gorgeous so far. It sounds a bit like you are procrastinating and putting it off out of fear. You’ve already decided that you’re going to paint the cupboards, so the only other options are to change the cupboards all for the sake of handles and child locks or keep them as they are. And you clearly don’t like them as they are or you wouldn’t be changing them! It’s your only option so you should just go for it without any guilt if it doesn’t come off perfectly.

    I went on the houzz discussion boards to ask advice on things like mixing metals. I really struggled to find pictures which illustrated what I wanted and see how it worked, because they werent typically categorised with those keywords. I’m not always great at imagining how things will look. The pictures were out there but I couldn’t find them. A few posters on houzz managed to find photos showing the things I wanted to look at. Thought it was worth mentioning in case you are also having that issue!

    1. I am totally putting it off out of fear! It’s the room where we spend the most time so I want to get it right 😊

      V useful point re the Houzz forums – thank you xx

  9. Hi Lisa, personally I think antique brass hardware would be beautiful to break up the black and white, and give it a gorge timeless feel to offset the modernity of the monochrome walls and units. I think if you went for the matt black hardware on black units they wouldn’t be that noticeable, which would be a shame considering how much care you’ve been putting into planning out the kitchen (not to mention £ spent on the hardware!). We’ve used dark colours not in our kitchen (that’s another project for a few years’ time!) but on quite a bit of furniture in our house (Stiffkey Blue and Downpipe for example) and have always used antique brass fittings with them and I think they really make those dark moody tones sing. I totally empathise with your planning-procrastination woes though- I’m the same and I have to say sometimes you just have to start and adjust as you go as sometimes you just don’t end up feeling the things you’ve planned to the nth degree on paper! And also some of my favourite projects in my house have been the ones where I’ve just jumped straight in and trusted my gut without over planning in advance (Downpiped my living room with no tester or consulting hubby but I bloody love it! 🙋🏻‍♀️🙈) Hope this helps and good luck with your project!

    1. This is such a good point – matt black hardware may just look a bit meh whereas antique brass is a feature in itself.

      Love your courage in downpiping your living room with not even a paint tester! You’re a braver person than me!!

  10. Lisa, I so feel your pain. We are considering redoing our kitchen – which makes me cry slightly as it’s only four years old (it’s a new build) but the building company scrimped on the kitchen and also gave it an awkward shape that breaks up the room. I want to rip it all out and put in a big island but omg price and also omg where to even start. It’s horrifying. I love all your ideas by the way and I also think start with the most out-there option and work your way back into ‘conservative’, haha.

    Also not sure if anyone else has mentioned but I got these pretty cool child lock things which go inside the kitchen units and then you use a magnet to open them – this would avoid you having to worry about the whole ‘messing up the new paint job’ thing. These aren’t the exact ones I bought but same idea:

    1. Sooo similar to our situation. Our kitchen will be four years old at Christmas and the placement of the larder really upsets me!

      Those child locks! GENIUS. Thank you! x

  11. Hi Lisa,
    Wow – you are so like me! It’s actually refreshing to read 🙂 In 3 weeks time we are going to say goodbye to our Victorian terrace and move a few streets away to a 1930’s semi…eeekkk! Thought we don’t have the money now- eventually we will knock through the dining room/tiny kitchen and do a big kitchen extension where my dream will come true! HAH! The problem is I’ve already started considering what units/handles/taps etc i’ll have…when in reality we are due our 2nd baby in FIVE weeks! I haven’t even packed my bloody hospital bag and there i am thinking about what tiles and flooring i’ll want when ever we can afford it! I know- i’m ridiculous. Still…exciting to think about and i’ll be doing an interior decor course next year as well as documenting my renovations on Inst.
    You have great taste Lisa so whatever you pick will look amazing! Even if it does take you an age to decide 🙂 xx

    1. Wow Lou you are going to be busy in the very near future!

      How lovely that you have the scope to do a big kitchen extension…I would be EXACTLY the same.

      Good luck with the move and the baby…get packing those nappies and coming-home-outfits! x

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