In collaboration with Amara
Well here’s a post I never thought I’d be writing! It’s been a year in the planning and months in the making but our new kitchen is finished! Well, almost finished. 85% finished. And I’m more than OK with that.
When Toff and I bought our wonky Grade II listed house, we knew it needed a little refresh but we had no idea just how much work needed doing (you can see the beginning HERE). The type of work that requires you to pack your bags and move in with family in the depths of winter for five months. The type of work that makes you dread going there to pick up your mail because your once lovely, warm home is a depressing and kind of creepy alternative with dust sheets on your sofa and muddy footprints on your once-white carpet.
I could write you an exceptionally long list of what we need to do to our house to make the Pinterest-worthy home we envision but we always knew we’d start with the kitchen. A modern country kitchen that would be the social hubbub of the ground floor. Well, that was the brief we put to our architect when he tried to battle with uneven floors and walls so wonky you couldn’t look at them after a few G&T’s. It was the beginning of a major project that would probably take years and all of our money but would be a labour of love from start to finish.
So, if you’re thinking of ripping your house apart or just want a bit of a nosey on what we did, let’s get into it!…
Although our pad is around 400 years old, the décor hadn’t been updated since the seventies (ish). Think brown floral tiles, ripped lino flooring and odd wiring at the windows (don’t ask. We just…we don’t know!). In terms of square metres, the space was there but it wasn’t used in the best way. There was a main kitchen area with a low ceiling and brown cabinets that led through into a tiny utility space which was closed in with more boxy cupboards and the biggest boiler you’ll ever see. We called it The Tardis and we’re pretty sure it powered most of the village.
The door then led out into a corridor which led to the back door and our bathroom. You still with me? In short, lots of walls. Not a lot of space. But bags of potential! Once we decided that we wanted a gorgeous new kitchen with simple, minimal décor and a homely atmosphere, it all started to fall into place. But opening out the space meant taking down two walls, getting rid of The Tardis, changing from electric to oil, lifting the ceiling and being seriously savvy with our storage options…that’s all!
While my Pinterest boards started to fill up with stunning vaulted ceilings, glass walls and dark cabinets, it wasn’t long before I realised that everything I wanted wouldn’t go in a Grade II listed house. As much as I craved contemporary cool, the compromise had to be figuring out how to update such a historic building in a way that respected and highlighted its past.
Amara’s Home Inspiration feature was my go-to for all major inspiration decisions – from colour schemes to design features and everything in between, it’s shoppable mood boards meant that we didn’t have to lust over an image we could never achieve. Although I love Pinterest as much as the next renovator, it drives me crazy that I fall in love with an image and can’t buy or find anything in it so am back to square one! But with Amara’s Home Inspiration you can bring ideas to life at the click of a button. And the best bit? You can have a nosey around loads of interior influencer homes and borrow ideas from their seriously chic abodes. Check it out HERE.
Although country kitchens tend to be light colours with lots of wood and traditional fittings, I wanted to find a way to bring more dark, moody tones into a small space without it closing in. Navy is a colour obsession of mine in terms of décor and we went back and forth to 3 or 4 different suppliers to find the right hue and texture that didn’t make it look plastic or fake. Because we went for dark fittings, choosing a light worktop and flooring kept things light and airy. To give it a bigger feel, we raised the ceiling slightly to expose those beautiful old beams that have been hidden all these years (love!).
With the main colour scheme sorted, I wanted to bring in industrial elements which are super modern but also give a nod to the originality of the house. Mixing metals in a space is one of my favourite ways to make colours pop and give the space some real personality. With brass taps and handles, rose gold accents and a chrome cooker, it gives the space a sleeker feel instantly.
To make sure it’s not too modern, we added natural, earthy tones back into the kitchen with these incredible statement wooden light fittings from Amara (shop them below), traditional artwork and real oak flooring. I love how these tones bring it back to feeling really homely and familiar without being fuddy duddy!
After a lot of blood, sweat and tears (the latter mostly mine!), we’re in! There’s still a plate rack to be hung, plastering to be finished, a bench to be made and fitted and skirting boards to fit and paint but gradually we’re getting there. I can’t believe our new kitchen became a reality and I love it more every day. From the first roast we cooked to the first time we had friends round and we talked at the kitchen table until the early hours.
As we already have a big formal table in the dining room, I wanted something rustic and informal to sit in the big corner near the back door. Somewhere we could sit in the morning and look out over the garden with the sun on our face, drinking tea and start the day in complete calm. We always have friends and family over for dinner so I wanted a table that we could all sit around while we cook and chat with drinks. I saw this table by 7Magok on Etsy and fell in love with it instantly. With a worn oak top and metal hairpin legs, it combined both traditional and modern in a simple, minimalistic design. They have a choice of different tops and metals making it completely bespoke to what you want which I think is so important for furniture.
So there we go, a little look into what we’ve been doing the last few months. I won’t say it’s been easy (or cheap!), it’s been stressful and frustrating but it’s worth it all to have a kitchen that we absolutely love wholeheartedly. Now on to the bathroom!…
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