THE KITCHEN: my five tips to remember when renovating your kitchen
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Let's talk kitchens. Yeah, I agree its a tough one but it's the most important and frequently used room in the house, not to mention the most expensive, so let's give it a bit of thought. Here's five key points that I used when designing our kitchen.
* My top tip: Choose your "must have" appliances that you're not willing to compromise on. Our wall space was limited, so we prioritised a full height fridge and freezer over eye level double ovens.
When choosing your layout, remember to use 'working triangle' - if you don't have your 6th year Home Economics book to hand, the working triangle is the triangle that's made between the hob, fridge and sink. Our old kitchen's layout worked reasonable well, but the back wall was very busy and housed too many appliances and units. By removing the ovens and overhead cupboards from this wall, the countertop in the new kitchen can continue to the left to next window, adding valuable worktop space, letting more light in and allowing the wall to become more decorative, with the use of shelves. A kitchen has to be functional, but pretty too! We made use of the space between the two windows on the adjacent wall - losing the kids' art gallery - to house our fridge, freezer and larder, making use of the full height available. I couldn't fault the location of the sink and the hob!
TWO: Storage & Work Space
* My top tip when it comes to storage: anything that is below counter height should be a drawer or pull-out cupboard, regular cupboards are just dark holes that swallow up your stuff!
An issue in the old kitchen was that we had a massive room but a really small amount of storage and work space. The patio doors were probably my least favourite part of the house - ok, I'm being polite, I wanted to take a sledge hammer to them from day one! Mainly because everyone used them as the main entrance to the house (I'm eyeballing you Supervalu delivery man). So, early on in the design process I decided that these lads had to go (don't worry, they went to a good home for reuse, as did most of what we removed) and be replaced with a window to match the others. This key change allowed the counter top continue along the full length of the back wall - and has created a space for nappies to live, for now!! THREE: Lighting
* My top tip: Plan your lighting layout early on. Areas such as the sink and hob need spot lights above them to light up these areas in the winter evenings. Have all spot lights on dimmers - it makes evening cooking much more relaxing when the kitchen isn't flood lit!
Building the bulkhead over the island was something that came to me soon after we moved into the house, but it was 18 months before I got to see it come to life! I always felt that the kitchen had a lot of different spaces or zones (to get all interior-wankery about it) going on, and the ceiling lighting plan looked like the lights were just thrown up at random (which they weren't I might add). By creating the bulkhead over the island, it also allowed the pendants to be framed, giving them and the island some distinction.
* Create a scrapbook or a "kitchens board" on Pinterest and cut out/pin as much as you can that appeals to you. Eventually you'll see a pattern of the same stuff coming up again and again.
This is where Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.ie/houseofgoosestudio/boards/) and kitchen magazines are your friend - be careful it's a rabbit hole. Arm yourself with inspiration of what you like as this will save you a lot of time when you enter that seductive kitchen showroom and help you narrow down your style. But keep it brief, selecting five or six images. You can use a collage app or, as I did, use Photoshop to lay them out, print and bring with you to the kitchen showrooms. This will help you to define your style and articulate that to the kitchen designer.
FIVE: Finishes & Colours
* Try to stick to lighter colours for heavy use doors such as fridges and larders; they won't show up the greasy finger marks as much!
When I say finishes I'm talking about flooring, counter tops, door finishes - handleless doors or pull handles, knobs, backsplashes... I could go on for days here (but I won't!). This kitchen has to contend with daily attacks from tractors, trains, aeroplanes, slime, poster paint, glue and glitter, so it needed to be super functional and wipeable. The doors are painted, which is really durable - if we ever get a scratch, we can tip it up with a bit of paint. The marble, is actually pretty kid friendly - they now have an embarrassing habit of pointing out marble counters whenever we're out and say things like "we have marble in our house too!" to the guy making the coffee behind the counter - yes we've ruined them! We kept it relatively simple when it came to the handles, keeping all the lower units handless, and opted for the ping of brass on the tall units instead. The floor is limestone. It's tumbled finish means it hides dirt like you wouldn't believe!!
So there you have it, my first EVER blog... I had tried to keep it snappy but it ended up being longer than my dissertation - but a bit more interesting hopefully! I have listed all suppliers and paint colours below.
I hope you've enjoyed it.
Kitchen Supplier: Noel Dempsey Kitchens
Worktops: Miller Brothers Stone
Handles: Buster & Punch
Floor: Tile Style
Pendants: Tom Dixon
Low level units: Calm Interlude by Colour Trend
Tall units: Loft White by Little Green Paints