Open Shelving
Open Shelving
Ideas for creating a vintage, reclaimed style kitchen with open shelving
Ideas for creating a vintage, reclaimed style kitchen with chalkboard walls
Ideas for creating a vintage, reclaimed style kitchen with open shelving
Ideas for creating a vintage, reclaimed style kitchen with portable storage

Reader Request | Hannah’s Freestanding Kitchen

Author: Lauren Coleman

As we have watched our little Rock My Style community thrive and grow, one of things we are most proud about is the way you, our readers, are always so helpful and thoughtful in your comments. The suggestions you give both to the RMS team and the rest of the readers have proved invaluable (and also catastrophic to our bank balances….)
Today I hand over our Reader Request slot to my sister Hannah, as she has found herself in quite a quandary about her new kitchen.

{Hannah’s Request}

After an extremely long and emotional roller coaster of a ride my husband and I have now found our dream home. With our move in date drawing ever closer, it seems that I have now morphed into some kind of wide eyed interior fanatic. Pinterest has once again become the third person in our relationship and our weekends are now being spent drawing up plans, making plans and then re planning all over again.

Our new home is a Victorian restoration project and in order to make our house less of a terrifying building site and slightly more liveable, we are focusing on getting the kitchen nailed first and foremost. This it seems is where I am having a bit of a mare. Put simply we don’t want a fitted kitchen. We don’t want a flat pack, super shiny, just stepped out of the pages of a catalogue, sparkling kitchen. There is of course nothing wrong with this but it’s just not what we had envisaged in a house filled with 19th century features. In our dreams (and our pinterest boards) we are lusting for a free standing kitchen; a rustic, ‘thrown together but obviously not’ reclaimed kitchen, with a spattering of more conventional units for necessary storage and ample worktop space. We have loved trawling our local salvage yard in Sheffield for non-fixed industrial style furniture, but searching for those essential storage cupboards and worktops has left me stone cold. Where do you go when you don’t want super sleek? Is it possible to combine our vision of a mismatched kitchen with practical storage space? To date we have found absolutely nothing to inspire us when searching for said items, and quite frankly I’m horrified by the price of them. I wouldn’t spend £500 of my hard earned dollar on a fancy wardrobe, so I refuse to spend triple that on a miniature cupboard where we will effectively stash a load of chipped plates.

So we would love to know if anyone can offer any advice on this kitchen conundrum. Is there anywhere we can find wooden, or even metal, rustic style units? Are there any hidden gems in the north of England that may stock something a little less kitchen like and a lot more…well shabby like?! Do we actually need a fitted element to the kitchen at all?

So far we have a ceramic sink. Oh and some big old rusty taps. Put it this way, we wont be inviting Mary Berry and her pals over for tea at any point in the near future. If any readers out there could offer an alternative storage solution we promise to bake you a cake. Once we have something to actually bake it in. x

Has anyone else experienced a similar dilemma and wanted to break away from a more conventional kitchen? I’m looking forward to hearing your suggestions and sources and am also going to attempt to throw in some of my own advice below. The promise of cake has lured me in!

Image sources | Reclaimed shelving against subway tile with dark grout | Subway tile pantry | Blackboard wall with brass | Chalkboard over worktop | Butchers block with white tiles | White island and shelves | Unit on wheels | Free standing tall shelf unit

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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29 thoughts on “Reader Request | Hannah’s Freestanding Kitchen

  1. I love the look you’re going for and totally understand where you’re coming from:- something new a shiny just wouldn’t fit.
    Having just had a wee look…this website seems ok for inspiration –
    and it seems they rate Cox and Cox for bits and pieces.

    This also looks quite nice and not too dear –

    As you may have noticed from the above links I’m a fan of the wire shelf/box storage at the moment (check this link for a great looking free standing shelving unit –

    Sometimes House of Fraser has some great sales and they have nice bits and pieces, think they have a sale on at the moment!

    Good luck with the searching and the renovating 🙂

  2. Sounds fantastic! Having very nearly finished a 3 year mission to get my Victorian house in order I well understand your need to get the kitchen ship shape. Love the mismatched look but agree it can be a bit of a nightmare to find the right pieces at a reasonable price. How about a nice big dresser to hide all the clutter and have a few nice bits on display? They are always stupidly cheap on ebay or gumtree or even try freecycle. I know you don’t want brand spanking new but have a look at the ikea freestanding units. You could paint them in good old Annie Sloan paint in a variety of muted shades and bash them a bit to make them look older but nice and shiney new inside to keep your food, plates etc clean. Reclaimed handles and voila! They also have nice butchers blocks which have great storage underneath. I’ve got a really chunky one which looks a lot more expensive, painted it and pushed it up to an old pine table to create a big work station/eating area. Open shelving is perfect too. Have a look at Re in northumberland for fab decor etc Good luck x

    1. I’ve heard very good things about Ikea Charlotte and I really think there is something for everyone there as they can easily be ‘hacked’. They are very good for helping with designing too.
      Re is amazing. Funnily enough it’s just round the corner from where our family live in Northumberland 🙂

    2. This is a great idea! So many freestanding bits are expensive. I have a lovely big dresser in my garage. I had it in my flat but when I moved home there was no room. It’s pine though so I might paint it, but will I regret that when the pine look is back in. It’s a nice one, not yellow Argos pine 😂

  3. I would also recommend Ikea for a few basics. My Mum has some of their free standing units in her kitchen and they look pretty industrial. You just need to mess with them a bit!

    For flooring and wall tiles we used the imaginatively titled They have those awesome brick like wall tiles that are pretty reasonable. And we got grey slate floor tiles and grey grout from here for £100 for our last kitchen. Granted, it was a small galley kitchen, but it was still a bargain!

    Other than that, I’d suggest going to some auctions. We have a good one here in Nottingham on a Saturday morning and they often have old kitchen units or cupboards I’ve thought would look good in a kitchen for not much money at all!

  4. Hi all! Thanks for your great tips and advice so far! I am definitely feeling more inspired:) Charlotte we love the idea of having a dresser but I’m worried about space. We had wondered about using a dresser as an actual work top to double up on counter tops. However when the husband re enacted a chopping action on said piece of furniture in a local antique shop he said ‘it doesn’t feel very sturdy and I might chop my arm off.’ A slight exaggeration me thinks. I am going to see if I can find a little dresser though. Would be great for storage.
    We had put off going to IKEA Jennifer so thank you for that tip. They do always tend to get it right don’t they and you are so right about having to ‘mess things up’ to get it right. We have an auction to go to in the next few weeks so I shall keep my peepers out for some bargains.
    Ellie and Annie, brilliant websites for storage and general industrial loveliness. If I buy loads of stuff from the cox and cox website can I be a little white liar and tell my husband I thought I was buying a bag of apples. Will that work? Xxxx

  5. Annie I’ve just looked at the Amazon link for the wire shelving unit. 37 quid! It’s half the cost of a weekly grocery shop. I’m having it! Xxx

  6. We are doing a similar thing and have researched for over a year. We decided to get quite a small number of blank canvas white (matte… not shiny!) fitted kitchen cupboards and use open shelving and subway tiles on top (so no cupboards on wall just on the floor). Plus if you mix and match kitchen handles (like in your third image) then it can look a bit less shiny put together kitchen and more rustic homely kitchen. Then we will get something like this
    Our kitchen is being installed begnning of September so if you really want to see how it will look I have started putting images up of my own Victorian restoration project here! It is a real labour of love… but really fun and lovely too

  7. That’s great Sam and such a good idea. I think we too are thinking not to have any cupboards above the work top and I’m obsessed with subway tiles. As daft as it sounds I actually think it is the handles on the cupboards which puts me off them all, but like you say, they can be easily changed:) I’m off now to check out your pics. Thanks so much Sam! Xx

  8. Love this vision you’ve got going on! Have you looked at It has some great industrial/rustic pieces and is a little cheaper than other places x

  9. Sorry about above!

    Re a dresser being too large, my parents have a half dresser in their kitchen, basically the top only so it’s attached to the wall. So you have the shelving and the look without using precious floor space. They painted it messily with an off white paint and distressed it a bit and looks fab.

    A friend has a sturdy table as a worktop, it was found in the local paper and was a basic style but painted it looks fab. Underneath are 2 metal vegetable trollies bought in a cheap indoor market.

  10. Nothing to contribute re ideas I’m afraid but I know you will make it the kitchen of all kitchens and I can’t wait to come round and christen it by dancing on the kitchen table (reclaimed of course) xxxx

  11. I have just made my first purchase from Maison du Monde. Although their stuff is brand spanking new pieces their range is huge and very reasonable.
    Always a good idea to make friends with the antique/savage/vintage shops so that can keep an eye out for any potential beauties. Do I get cake now?

  12. I’ve just been in Martha’s Heritage today (picking up some Annie Sloan in fact) in Millhouses, Sheffield and they always seem to be working on a few interesting kitchen pieces in their paint shop. The other place thats always worth a look is the The Beech House on Abbeydale Rd – they have some amazing one off pieces if you look in on a good day but when I was looking for a kitchen table they sounded as though they’d be up for custom making something for me out of the bits and pieces they could get their hands on. Love the ideas above – I’ve just pained over our 8m wide blackboard wall in the kitchen and ‘moved it’ to a smaller wall in the hallway and really regret it – they are such a useful and beautiful feature in a kitchen.

  13. These days most auctions houses have their sales online (something about joining the 21st Century). Try They all use this. Just be wary that bidding prices don’t include buyers premium so you should add on 12 – 20 % depending on the auction house. We’ve picked up some great pieces through auction (helps that OH works as an auctioneer) and you wouldn’t believe the prices!! x

    1. That’s fantastic advice Clare. I am sensing this kitchen is now going to come together far quicker than I envisaged. RMS readers are bloody brilliant! X

  14. I’m big into interiors and have been doing our 60’s house up for 2 years now so religiously read many of the interiors mags. In this months Style at Home there is a feature including a freestanding kitchen bought from Rustic Warehouse. I haven’t used this company myself but thought it might be worth a mention.
    I hope you’ll come back and show us pics of the finished kitchen?!? Xxx

  15. I am crazy about the interiors section of RMS….the fab advice on paint shades, the dreamy home tours…swoon!! I would LOVE to see something on how to decorate large hallways & living rooms. Hubby and I are in the early stages of a self build and we have loads of ideas for each room except the hallway (which is a large square with staircase up the middle) and our loving room which is a long rectangular room with the fireplace on the middle left hand side and a large bay window on the opposite wall. We would love some advice on layout & colour schemes and thought the RMS team and readers might be able to help? Thanks guys xx

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