New Tiles and Wenge Worktops {A brand new look for our old kitchen}

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that I have a love/hate relationship with our kitchen.

I loved the AGA and pretty much hated everything else about it.

When we moved to our current home, 6 years ago, the kitchen was top of the ‘things to change’ list. But a kitchen makeover is expensive — particularly after you’ve just spent all your money buying a house. So we agreed to live with it for a couple of years; then rip everything out and start again when we’d topped up our savings.

But sometimes life doesn’t go quite to plan.  And a couple of years later the kitchen was the last thing on our minds, as we were the proud parents of two baby boys.

Now babies are expensive. Two babies are doubly expensive — and time consuming.

And after all, who wants to be doing DIY when you can be snuggling up with two tiny newborns?

So the kitchen makeover was put on hold again. Albeit, there was never a room more deserving — and in need — of a bit of an overhaul.

So another four years on and we decided that we’re going finally to apply to have the kitchen extension that I mentioned last year.

But as planning will take forever to pass,  before we can even start any work, I reckon we’ll be looking at another two years at least.

Two years too long.

So we’ve finally bitten the bullet and given our kitchen a little spruce up.

Very un-bloggerlike of me, I didn’t take very many proper ‘before’ pictures (slapped wrist); particularly of the floor.

To be honest, I hated it all so much I didn’t want any lasting visual reminders. Both the floor-tiles and the revolting worktop will be etched in my mind for a long time to come!

But to give you an idea — here’s a little round up of the horrors we were facing.

New Tiles and Wenge Worktops {A brand new look for our old kitchen} by The Twinkle Diaries

The whole kitchen was in dire need of some TLC. Dark beams, stained and mismatched worktops and fagnolia walls. Yuk.

So what did we do?

We replaced the peeling, stained Marmoleum — in an ‘attractive’ shade of apricot —  with a fantastic vinyl carpet flooring. Not something that I would have chosen for my dream kitchen but I can’t recommend this stuff highly enough!

It was a bargainous £6.99 per M² and looks fabulous.

Kitchen Makeover

The old floor. After it had been ripped up, I hasten to add.

My new bargain floor; a master of disguise. Totally tricking the eye into thinking it’s vintage oak boards.

I painted the entire chimney breast — which also houses a cupboard where we store all our crockery — in blackboard paint.

It used to be an attractive shade of ‘fagnolia’ so the blackboard paint couldn’t have been a more dramatic change; and this is fast becoming the most popular feature of the kitchen. I write notes and lists on it, the boys like to draw and practice their words and numbers on it.

And all the workmen, it seems, like to sign their names on it too!

The chimney breast before…

New Tiles and Wenge Worktops {A brand new look for our old kitchen} by The Twinkle Diaries

…and after.

We painted the entire kitchen — including all the beams — with a couple of coats of white Valspar emulsion. I used this on my shed and it’s amazing stuff.

I left the beautiful big central oak beam in it’s natural wooden state but painted the smaller ones. This has lightened the kitchen dramatically and has also made the ceiling feel higher.

I also painted all the kitchen units with white cupboard makeover paint. No before and after images of this but it was exactly the same process that I used to paint the interior of Dolly.

I took great delight in donning my protective eyewear and ripping the old tiles off the wall and we replaced these with some Metro tiles that we had left over from another property.

The old tiles had certainly seen better days

Me — in attractive (protective) eyewear — taking great delight in removing the old tiles

New Tiles and Wenge Worktops {A brand new look for our old kitchen} by The Twinkle Diaries

After

New Tiles and Wenge Worktops {A brand new look for our old kitchen} by The Twinkle Diaries

All change

One of the most dramatic changes though was the worktops.

We inherited three different kinds of work-surface in our kitchen; a single unit’s worth of black granite (odd), some solid pine (which the larder unit sat on) and — my personal favourite — the stained, laminate worktop that you’ll see in the first picture below.

I decided a while ago that I wanted white units and dark worktops and initially I was looking at granite; which we had in our old house. Then I stumbled across Primewood Worktops, who were selling the most gorgeous alternative.

A dark brown – almost black – wood called Wenge.

Weirdly, it’s often described as a timber version of granite. It’s even more dense than oak and is extremely hardwearing.

So as well as looking incredible, Wenge worktops are also immensely durable.

Oh dear. A vision in Fagnolia. I literally don’t have anything positive to say about this picture

New Tiles and Wenge Worktops {A brand new look for our old kitchen} by The Twinkle Diaries

Whilst this is a vision of beauty! Our beautiful Wenge worktops with matching chopping board (made by our lovely carpenter).

New Tiles and Wenge Worktops {A brand new look for our old kitchen} by The Twinkle Diaries

Such an amazing colour

All Primewood Worktops worksurfaces are sustainably sourced by trusted suppliers in Europe, so from an ethical perspective they are a winner too.

Plus they’re pre-oiled, so we didn’t have to faff about with treating them.

To say they’ve totally transformed the kitchen would be an understatement. They’re so beautiful and look amazing against the white painted units and fresh white walls.

We replaced the old fashioned sink and tap with lovely new ones from Franke.

A little more expensive than your average but you really get what you pay for. They’re lovely quality and the black sink goes beautifully with the new worktops.

An Old Favourite

It took a few weekends of hard graft but it was so worth it.

Although a new kitchen extension is on the horizon at some point in the future, I really couldn’t have lived with the old kitchen for another two years (or maybe even longer).

But, in the meantime, our old, inherited kitchen has swiftly gone from being my most hated room in the house, to my absolute favourite.

Instead of not wanting to spend any more time in there than strictly necessary, I’m now so happy to sit and relax with my cuppa, whilst the boys draw on the big blackboard.

But the thing I like the very best is the view from the dining room.

And instead of closing the door — to mask the room beyond — I’m now so happy to keep it open to see my lovely new, old kitchen.

Thank you so much to Primewood Worktops for working with us on our kitchen makeover for the purposes of this review. The Wenge Worktops are an absolute triumph and have taken our kitchen to another level!

Pop and have a look at their website or call them on 020 3588 8600 for more info.

This is a collaborative post but all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

Find me on: Twitter | Facebook

28 Comments

  1. 17th August 2017 / 5:55 pm

    Caro you star!

    However where is your builder’s bum? You look so ladylike banging away at the tiles, I’m betting you had ya lippy on too?

    Stunning result, so glad you feel better about it all it looks fabulous

    I hated our old kitchen soo much that one day I pulled all the cupboards off the wall and chucked them on the driveway…such fun.

    bestest
    Aley x

    • 17th August 2017 / 6:23 pm

      Hahaha!! One of my best friends says my backside is the size of a tectonic plate, so I think my builder’s bum would obliterate the kitchen, haha!!! No-one wants to see that!!!!

      And YES! This is precisely what happened here. I started pulling the tiles off the wall before Richard could protest!!! xx

  2. 17th August 2017 / 6:01 pm

    It looks absolutely beautiful, definitely a job well done 😍 x

  3. 17th August 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Ooh Caro I just love it, it looks fabulous, we have wooden work tops and I would never have anything else they are so versatile. Ours are a little light I love your darker ones. But I really think they are such a great option for a family kitchen, I cook and bake loads as you know and they are so easy to maintain and always look great. You must be so thrilled with the new look I LOVE it x

    • 22nd August 2017 / 11:06 am

      Thanks lovely!! I’m so, so pleased. We’ve always gone for stone in our past kitchens so wood is a new thing for me. I love them though — they’re so beautiful and I love the fact that they’re a natural material. It’s made the world of difference to the whole feel of the kitchen They’re such an unusual colour :) xx

  4. 18th August 2017 / 7:47 am

    Oh wow. Nice job Caro. Aren’t blackboard walls a brilliant thing? We love ours too.

    • 22nd August 2017 / 11:05 am

      Thanks lovely!! And YES! The blackboard chimney breast looks a gazillion dollars — so much better than a boring old white wall!

  5. 18th August 2017 / 10:15 am

    Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE it Caro!
    The chalkboard wall is such a great idea, practical and fun and something I wish we could incorporate into our home somewhere. xx

    • 22nd August 2017 / 11:04 am

      Thanks so much chickie!! I’m so thrilled with it all. It was SO nasty and we’ve been living with it like that for too long. So happy with all the changes — especially the blackboard!! ;)

  6. 18th August 2017 / 10:29 am

    Good grief, the change is amazing. You must be so chuffed, it looks gorgeous x

    • 22nd August 2017 / 11:01 am

      Aaah Lisa!! I am SO chuffed!!! It was my most hated room — I couldn’t stand being in there for any longer than I had to, so the change is amazing. The new floor and worktops have totally changed the whole space :)

  7. 25th August 2017 / 6:40 am

    Caro its a room of beauty, it is amazing how some simple adjustments that as you say don’t cost the earth have made it a totally new room.
    I love everything, the floor is awesome and so child friendly.
    The blackboard was is a thing of beauty and those worktops, wow I love them, they are so tactile and beautiful xxx

    • 3rd October 2017 / 10:55 am

      Thanks so much Kara — I’m so thrilled with it. It was HORRIBLE before. Amazing how a few little changes have totally lifted the space. So pleased :)

  8. 30th August 2017 / 9:34 am

    Wow what a transformation! I bet you wish you’d done it years ago now! It looks great, we went for vinyl in our new kitchen as we couldn’t afford anything else and I’m so pleased with it. Those worktops really are fabulous too and really make such a difference. Love that that are pre-oiled too! Gorgeous xx #homeetc

    • 3rd October 2017 / 10:54 am

      It’s SUCH a transformation and YES!! I really, really do wish we hadn’t waited. I’m so pleased with it :)

  9. 1st September 2017 / 9:34 pm

    Caro it looks AMAZING!! I’m with you on the whole kitchen thing – I really don’t like ours but as it’s going to take forever to save for an extension to build a new one I keep wondering if we should just bite the bullet, paint the cupboards and replace the worksurfaces. Giving a mini-makeover to our bathroom has made the most amazing difference. I love your vinyl and those surfaces look so great Xx

    • 3rd October 2017 / 10:53 am

      Thanks Lins — I’m over the moon with it!! I hated it SO much and really, really couldn’t have waited for another two years and lived with it, as it was. It’s made the world of difference. Just giving it a facelift — rather than a full overhaul makes it feel not so wasteful either. DO IT!!! ;)

  10. 5th September 2017 / 12:41 pm

    well im very much in love with your kitchen and the new tiles look perfect!

  11. 9th September 2017 / 9:50 pm

    This is completely stunning! I love the red aga and the oak effect floor! You’ve done so well, it’s a lovely space!

  12. 11th September 2017 / 9:23 pm

    Beware of the lady with a hammer and a chisel – and a lovely made over kitchen :)

    • 3rd October 2017 / 10:48 am

      Beware indeed! My poor husband — he really, really didn’t want to do the kitchen… but he had no choice once I’d pulled the tiles off the wall!! ;)

  13. 14th September 2017 / 5:34 pm

    Wow what a transformation! It looks like the real heart of your home. I particularly like the dark work top and the floor too – and it’s not real oak?! Beautiful. Your hard work has paid off. x

    • 15th September 2017 / 5:23 pm

      Thanks so much lovely!! No!!!! The floor is carpet vinyl!!!!! Who knew?! I’ve totally changed my mind about vinyl; I’ve always been quite rude about it!! This stuff was the cheapest of the cheap as well. I’ve no idea what a more expensive version would look like!! Just amazing!! :) And thank you xx

  14. 26th September 2017 / 6:25 am

    Thank you for linking up to #bloggershomes. I love your transformation!

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