You know what crazy thing I did this year? I decided to pull out the original 1970’s kitchen in my house and install a new kitchen. And I decided to do the whole things myself though I had never done anything like that before!
It felt sort of like having a baby, making the decision is one thing. Going through with it and getting it all done, is another thing altogether. I had no idea what I was in for and how much work it would be!
BEFORE: The Original 1970’s kitchen
See, can you tell why I would think about replacing this? Very dated, very little bench space, the oven didn’t work at all. Hence, the temporary electric oven sitting on the bench top.
Some of the tiles had cracked and had come off the wall. The taps had to be turned off so tight the kids couldn’t turn them on themselves. Oh and lovely crumbly chipboard cupboards that the cockroaches loved.
I had lived with this kitchen since we moved in, about 10 years ago. I hadn’t ever had the budget or the time to get a new kitchen.
As a temporarily solution, we had pulled out the cupboards on the opposite side and I had put in a standing pantry I got for $25. I also used a second hand, large pine dresser for extra storage, which I had painted white and grey.
White subway tiles in a brick pattern was the one of the most affordable and STYLISH options available. Also for a newbie DIY tiler like myself, it was a fairly straightforward way to tile a kitchen splashback. And I must say I still love it!!
I also chose to use subway tiles from the floor to almost the ceiling. Previous experience had taught me that cleaning grease off tiles is a lot easier than painted walls.
The other reason was that I think tiling higher makes the kitchen look more expensive than it is. For a few hundred dollars, subway tiles have a huge visual impact in the room and help create a cohesive, vintage type look.
Tiling Tip: Don’t do what I did and lay wall tiles by sight. I didn’t use spacers and I didn’t know to use a level to make sure my row of tiles was level on the wall. Amazingly they turned out ok for all my inexperience.
Kitchen Bench Top
I had a fairly tight budget so I chose a laminate bench top instead of stone. The price difference between stone and laminate, $1800 to $500. This is the Crackle Crash laminate from Bunnings. It had a flecky, stone look with warm tones which ties in with the existing pink floor tiles.
Four Outlet Power Point
Who else gets excited about power points? I think it really helped that I had lived with the original kitchen for almost 10 years and I knew what really frustrated me about it. Yes, having one power point and have to attach multiple double adapters to use it.
Also having to plug in appliances and take them out all the time. Waiting for the toast to finish so I could use the kettle. Yes frustrating alright!
The solution, replace the original single power point with a four outlet power point (electrician did the work!). I am appreciating the convenience!
I decided to add jarrah open shelves to an awkward spot above the bench top rather than have a bulky wall cabinet there. It also works to disguise the landline phone connection and the air conditioning wall controls.
Bonus, the shelves draw attention away from my less than perfect tiling job. You can’t even tell that the tiles are sloping to one side here! Hopefully in the years to come the plants will grow big enough to trail down over the shelves too.
After living with bare bulbs in almost every room in the house since moving in, having ceiling light covers is wonderful! These are from Ikea (totally budget friendly!)
What surprises me the most about the pendant lights too, seeing I went with the largest size, is that they do not make the kitchen feel small. That’s important especially when I do have a small kitchen! I also love how they give the room so much character too!
I got lucky with these lights because the top of the pendant is plastic. I only found out I needed plastic lights when the electrician came to install them. Then he informed me that the house has no earth wiring and he was not allowed to install my metal chandelier I had purchased for the bedroom.
AFTER: Here’s what the kitchen looks like now!
After two and a half months of work, costing approximately $6000 (AUD) and I love it!! I learnt so many new skills, and grew in confidence simply from having a go and pushing myself out my comfort zone.
But I don’t think I will doing another kitchen for a long time! It was such a lot of work!! I was really over doing dishes in the bath tub after the first week.