My Kitchen: is now the time to spend?

We moved into our cottage about 6 years ago, and at that time I thought that a replacement kitchen was going to be at the top of our priority list. Very quickly it became apparent that a new boiler, removing pretty foul carpets, a new oil tank (we are pretty “off-grid”), etc etc would all trump the apparent luxury of a new kitchen. The one that we have lived with all that time is not bad, I suppose, at a push… someone, about 20 years ago, has lovingly handcrafted the whole thing from pine, with all of the units and worktop custom-fitted and finished. It is just very old-fashioned rather dark and frankly feels a bit too unhygienic for my liking! That is the problem with all wood – not just the cupboard doors, but the cupboard carcasses, shelves, drawers – everything. And wood is not the easiest thing to clean on a regular basis. At the time I called in the man from B&Q for a quote, thinking that would be one of the cheapest and easiest options around. I have to say that I was not terribly impressed though. He did not so much offer me ideas and suggestions as take down everything I said that I might possibly like and plug it into his “quote engine”. Apparently my dream kitchen would cost £15k! Far too much for my appetite– Um – it is only 3m by 3.5m!

How it looked before:

old kitchen

So, a year or so after moving in we undertook “project kitchen spruce-up”. We removed all of the doors, (I) sanded the slightly sticky dark varnish off every one (tedious as the old varnish kept gumming up the sand paper and so I had to replace that far too regularly), then lovingly coated each with three coats of yacht varnish and finished off with new knobs. We also sanded the wooden worktop to within an inch of its life and gave it a good dose of oil. A few new tiles behind the Aga were a bargain and made a huge difference in themselves. Those changes helped to make them all look a lot brighter, cleaner, easier to wipe down etc and it was enough to dampen my hunger to replace it entirely. At least until now!

I cook a lot – I love to cook – and doing it in a drab, slightly yucky environment puts a bit of a dampener on the process. Going back to work soon and with a nanny starting to cook for my boys, I feel slightly too embarrassed by not only the kitchen itself, but also the carnage of the cupboards  due to the lack of practical and useable space. So I have called in another man. Not being sexist here – but so far I have found that most kitchen designers and fitters are men – there is some sort of irony there, but I will not tackle that gender stereotyping discussion today…

This time I have gone for a local, independent company – recommended by neighbours and with a flexible approach that should result in a more cost-effective solution, rather than being tied to one product. There are a few options on how to use the space – fitted fridge, separate freezer, worktop finish… but we have left it with him to design what he would see as the “ideal”. Once we have that price we can scale it back from there!

As my boys start to show an interest in watching and dare-I-say-it even help with baking and cooking, I am looking forward to being able to do that in a modern, bright and clean environment! Watch this space…

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