The project for 2018 in the Soeno household is a big ‘un: the kitchen. As our house is a new build, when we moved in the kitchen was brand new (the dream), however it wasn’t one that we would have chosen (nightmare. Okay, so maybe not a nightmare but still far from ideal for a perfectionist like me. First world problems and all that). After having lived with it for over three years we have decided to bite the bullet and change it so it’s a bit more to our taste. Stay tuned for a kitchen inspiration post in the next few weeks.

The only problem is, Rich and I are at loggerheads about Every. Single. Detail of Project Kitchen Update. Thank Goodness it’s not a huge space so we don’t have to tussle over layout – that’s just gotta stay as is.

Which brings me to one of the main kitchen features that we are debating: the worktops. We currently have laminate which is so practical but the murky brown colour is just not my bag. I’ve had my heart set on oak worktops since day dot. I love the warmth and texture they bring to a space, and the fact that they’re timeless and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Rich, on the other hand, is taken by the sleek elegance of quartz.

The Requirements

– The worktops have got to be child friendly. You will often find Lyra sitting atop the current worktops, ‘helping’ to bake cupcakes. Baby Jenson is also a worktop-sitter. When he was diddy I would pop him in his Bumbo at the back of the worktops whilst making dinner, and now he’s weaning (OMG THE MESS), I like to lie him face down on a tea towel so his arms and hands dangle into a sink full of soapy water: much easier and more fun than wrestling with him to get his mitts clean with a wet wipe.

– They need to fit in with the aesthetic of the other end of the room which is very light and bright, with lots of white and wooden elements.

– They’ve got to be relatively easy to upkeep.

The Stuff I’ve Learnt

I’ve done my research and I’m still none the wiser about whether oak worktops will be worth the hassle: it seems that fifty percent of the internet swears blind that oak worktops are easy-peasy to upkeep, and the other fifty percent rue the day they ever chose to go for oak. The general consensus is that you need to wipe away any splash marks pretty promptly, and that you can’t put hot pans directly down onto oak worktops unless you don’t mind a rustic, lived-in look. Other tips which I will be bearing in mind if I do manage to sway Rich are as follows:

– Oiling: I’ve read rave reviews about the Ikea oil. Apparently several coats of super thin layers are needed when the worktops are first installed and then every few months thereafter is key.
– Sanding: I actually quite like the thought of having to sand out any scratches from the worktops. (However this may be akin to the way I used to look forward to revising for exams and when it came down to it, it really wasn’t all that enjoyable)…
– Filling: Any chips, cracks or holes that appear can be filled with oak-coloured wood fillers.
– Boards: I’ve already racked up quite a collection of chopping boards as when they’re propped up upon the worktops they make our decidedly un-pretty kitchen just that touch prettier. These should do the job of protecting from heat marks when whacking down those hot pans.

What are your words of wisdom on the matter? Do you have oak worktops and do you think they’re worth the hassle?

Is there such thing as a laminate that has all the appearance of oak but all the practicality of a laminate?!

  • H&M Tea Towel
  • John Lewis Butchers Trolley
  • Wilko Chopping Board
  • Wilko Chopping Board