As soon as we moved into our ‘forever house’ the first thing I knew I wanted, scrap that, needed to change was the kitchen, this wasn’t just a case of not suiting my style, it was basically only using up a fraction of the space, and it felt really small and old-fashioned. While the house might be old, I’d always wanted a large kitchen, where I could bake without feeling cramp, and that would be the heart of the home, I wanted the kitchen to be more than just somewhere to cook, I actually wanted to create a room I wanted to spend time in, and I’m so happy to say that’s what we’ve achieved.
It is strange looking back on the before pictures, I really don’t recognise that space, everything from the colour of the cabinets to the cream walls made it look dirty and tired, and it didn’t really highlight the amazing old features of the house, the gorgeous light that comes in from the garden or take full advantage of the large space available.
When it came to the design of the kitchen I had a fairly good idea what I was after, I knew that I wanted blue cabinets, white tops and copper accents, but I definitely felt like I needed help on the layout and specifications, as all I knew for sure is that I wanted an island, larder cupboards, as well as big drawers for my plates and pans, and a gorgeous big ceramic sink. When it came to the rest I certainly needed a little expert kitchen design help and the team at Magnet in Canterbury were amazing, the lovely Lyn came out to the house, she measured up, sat down with me and discussed what I would be using the kitchen for, what I liked about the current kitchen, which was basically nothing except the Aga, and my dream features I’d love to see in my new kitchen. She also brought samples of the doors and worktop that I had expressed interest in, so I could actually see them in my kitchen, against the red tiles which were keeping, as well as with the beams, the light and the Aga, which actually inspired the colour of the kitchen units.
The home visit really helped me make a lot of decisions, I went for a different cabinet design than I thought, as they were a near perfect colour match with the Aga, they looked better against the red tiles, and I just felt that the barely-there shaker style just really worked with the farmhouse touches of the kitchen, while the colour and light worktops added the contemporary feel that I was looking for.
The design process was easy, I didn’t really have to do much except chat about what I wanted, while Lyn went away and put together the plan using all my ideas, as well as her expert knowledge on the practicalities on where things could actually go, as we had a few challenges such as low ceilings, beams, extra doors and windows, the well, yep I have a well in my kitchen, as well as the fact we weren’t able to move the water supply, that all had to be considered in the design plan.
The turn around was quick, we went in to see Lyn at the Magnet Canterbury showroom a week later, she showed us our plan on the computer as well as point out the finer details on the display kitchens, such as the size of the island, the drawer options, the handles, and the larder set up, and we also had to pick out the sink, taps, and worktops that we wanted. You know the fun bits.
My Magnet Kitchen
Magnet wasn’t the only place we looked, we went everywhere, but when it comes to designing a kitchen you have to go with who looks after you the best, offers the right products for your kitchen, and who can do it within your budget, and for us, that was definitely Magnet, and I’m so pleased with how my Dunham Sky kitchen came together.
The major aspect of my kitchen has to be the island, which is the centrepiece for the main room. Not only does it offer a ton of storage, we have three cupboards, six drawers and a bookcase, it also houses our new induction hob to complement the Aga, and our Zanussi oven, which I’m obsessed with as it has a pyrolytic cleaning, which basically translates into never having to clean the oven again, and I love it. I know we have the Aga, which is great for cooking meat and baking cakes, but when you just want to throw in a pizza this beauty is amazing, it heats up really quickly and even has a pizza setting for a delicious crispy base.
I also love that we were able to make the island big enough to have a breakfast bar at the end, as this is basically where we hang out, eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between, as well as somewhere for me to work outside of my office, as well as shoot a flatlay or two.
As the island is pretty large a major chunk of our budget went on the worktop as I wanted white marble quartz to add a contemporary touch against the brickwork, tiles and beams, as well as create a statement as it’s the first thing you see when you enter the room. I’m not going to lie, this is where most of the budget went, but just look at it, so gorgeous, and really allows the blue cabinets to shine. We also placed the quartz around the Aga, which was a major undertaking for the installers, as there are three pieces around the Aga and it wasn’t an easy job to fit with the Aga fitted in place and the uneven brickwork around it, but they did an excellent job as you can’t even really see the joins.
One thing to note when opting for quartz you will have to wait a week at least for it to be installed as the quartz is all made to measure, someone comes out to measure up and do a template and then they go away to cut it before returning to install, and in my case cut it down slightly to fit it in because getting behind the Aga was a little tricky. But I can’t recommend the quartz worktop enough from Magnet the quality is amazing, the installation was immaculate and it really just adds something extra special to the kitchen.
My Kitchen: Magnet – Dunham Sky with Square Copper Handles // White Marble Quartz Worktop // White Marble Laminate Worktop // Zanussi – Induction Hob // Zanussi – Pyrolytic Electric Oven // Franke Modena Ceramic Sink // Franke Eiger Silk Steel Tap //
Now if money was no object I’d say always opt for quartz everywhere, this stuff is tough and a dream to clean, however, with the extra building work we needed to do to get the dream kitchen we decided to do something complementary in the scullery with this gorgeous marble-effect premium laminate, which when the quartz installers came back thought was the real-deal, and save a little money, and you know what I don’t regret it as I love that the scullery has a contrast to the main room.
Another thing you have to consider when getting laminate is that you can’t have all sinks, so a Belfast sink isn’t going to work as they use the quartz or wood top to create a draining board and that’s not possible on laminate, however, I had my heart set on this white Franke Modena 1.5 bowl ceramic sink, I just love its rounded edges so it didn’t matter. But do note that with most ceramic sinks they do take up more of the cupboard below so if you need all your storage you might want to choose a different sink.
I also moved the sink slightly more into the centre of the scullery, to take full advantage of the window, which looks stunning now we’ve had the shutters installed from Thomas Sanderson, and meant that I could get my dishwasher and washing machine either side of it to allow room for an extra larder cupboard at the end.
I was worried that by not having wall units I wouldn’t have enough storage, but I kept forgetting the island, so the scullery is nice and minimal in its design with two larder cupboards either end for food, a corner unit, and a slim cupboard, as well as the unit under the sink. It doesn’t sound a lot but the corner unit really can fit a lot in it as that’s where I keep all my appliances that I didn’t want sitting on the top like my food processor, coffee machine, blender and Nutribullet, as well as pans, Tupperware and all my baking supplies.
The major change to this space was also the reopening of the door and well as the discovery of a small window behind one of the wall units, which has really helped to open up the tiny room and I think, along with the white paint, the simple marble-effect splashback and the copper fisherman pendant lights from Iconic Lights it has made this room look really smart and contemporary – I think the only thing left to do in here is to add a few corner shelves to place more of my crockery on display, as I have a lot of it!!!
My Kitchen Details: Iconic Lights – Copper Fisherman Wall Lights & Pendants (c/o) // Tefal – Kettle & Toaster (c/o) // Desenio – Wall Art (c/o) // Cult Furniture – Hairpin Stools with Copper Legs (c/o) // Dulux – Timeless White Paint // Cath Kidston – Disney Cups // Cambridge Satchel Company – Cambridge Candle (c/o) // Ikea – Glass Vases // Le Creuset – Kettle & Storage // Orla Kiely – Storage Jars // Thomas Sanderson – Shutters //
There were three things that survived the kitchen refurb – the floor tiles, not only are they are amazing I think I cried when I heard how much it would cost to replace them, the Aga, another beauty that just needed a little love and a professional clean and service, and these wall tiles from the 1950s that the previous owner had installed.
I’m kind of obsessed with tiles and I did consider getting tiles for the scullery, I decided against as I didn’t want it to look cluttered, so instead I decided to keep these vintage beauties and make a feature of them by framing them with two reclaimed oak floating shelves to display my pretty things on, namely gorgeous tea sets, my favourite plants and candles. We also made the area into a spot for Falcon as well by placing his dog bed underneath and he loves it as he is right in the middle of all the action, near the scullery, close to the Aga for the warmth and can see what’s going on at the island.
What do you think of my new kitchen?
You can probably tell I’m a little happy with how the kitchen has turned out, it really is everything I wanted and more, and it’s already become the focal point of the house. There are so many other things I want to share about the kitchen, like all the copper details from my Tefal toaster and kettle to the Iconic Lights, the vintage dresser, my love of plants, as well as tips on what to consider when you are planning your kitchen, but that will all come in future posts with more pictures from the kitchen, as I was feeling like this post was getting a little long.
Would love to hear what you think of the kitchen from before to now – leave me a comment below or get in touch on social, either on Twitter @FashionNBarbie or on my Instagram @FashionistaBarbie.