I’ve been searching for decent Wenge worktops and new tiles recently because — yes, it’s time folks — we’re finally updating our 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.
A Little Kitchen Makeover
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.
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.
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!
So What Did We Do?
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.
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.
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.