If you’ve been reading my blog for the last few weeks you’ll know that we’re going through a few home improvements right now – have I mentioned that enough yet?! I’m keeping a little renovation diary on my Instagram stories because we’ve been planning this for about a year and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to document this process! To get you up to speed, in a nutshell, we’re taking out two walls to create one big kitchen and putting a bathroom in upstairs. And changing from electric to oil. In a Grade II listed house. Yep. While I block out talk of soil stack issues (gross) and ceiling problems, I’m focusing on all the important bits, like how to find your kitchen style!
Our kitchen, like the rest of the house, is unique. It’s not square, or even rectangle, it’s more of a zig-zag shape, which means we need to be really creative with how to utilise the space. I’ve been compiling Pinterest boards for the better part of a year and not one image is suitable for the kitchen we actually have! The overall aim of the renovation is to update and modernise a very old house. A house that’s bursting with character which we very much want to keep.
Finding your kitchen style is difficult, overwhelming and, well, a general head f*** to be completely honest. I’ll be keeping you all updated with our renovation progress but, to save your eyes and my lovely new site from images of rubble, I thought I’d fill your head with beautiful inspiration in the hope that, like me, you can find your kitchen style.
THINK ABOUT THE HOUSE AS A WHOLE
One thing I was really conscious of when looking for a new kitchen is how old the house is. As much as I love simple lines, minimal spaces and a stylish use of concrete, those big contemporary spaces just would not sit right in a house full of wooden beams and low ceilings. That being said, there’s no reason you have to fill it with antiques and retro fittings (unless that’s your jam!). It takes a bigger thought process but by respecting the origins of the house with the big stuff, we can be a bit more contemporary with the accessories and marry the two together.
BE CLEVER WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
If you’re not blessed with vaulted ceilings and space for islands and bookshelves, I feel your pain. Although we will have a good size kitchen after the renovations, the shape means we have to be really clever with creating space. As the most social room of the house, I wanted to create an area where everyone could hang out and drink and chat while we (ahem, Toff) cooks. This would mean a clean and tidy room sans clutter to give it a bigger feel.
So, we’ve incorporated sneaky cupboards to hide worktop clutter and quite literally given everything a home. Bills, bits of paper and my magazines are constantly lying around the house with nowhere to go and unless you have a pretty nifty filing system, somewhere to stow these away is a must to find your kitchen style.
GET NERDY ABOUT THE DETAILS
Ahh details are my favourite part. While it’s so easy to get bogged down in the kitchen cabinets and worktops, it’s the details that can completely transform a space. Changing door handles, adding in floating shelves and styling up the space is what makes a house a home, not a Wren catalogue. We’ve had to compromise a lot (more on that later) on what we really wanted but while I would stare at 37 different lookbooks every evening, driving myself mad, I would remind myself that those pictures aren’t my kitchen or my house and as long as you get the bare bones of the units finalised, all the rest can be styled as and when.
Hanging herbs, a shelf full of gorgeous cookbooks and beautiful coloured vases can all make a space look more expensive without trying and it’s where your creativity really comes into play.
There it is – the one word I hate when it comes to renovations and décor. But, alas, it is a must because very rarely do things go to plan. In my mind, my kitchen was going to have thick white marble worktops with copper accessories. In reality, marble is really bloody expensive and doesn’t come in the thickness I wanted, and those copper accessories looked orange and tacky so it was back to the drawing board for a few weeks. There are definitely things that have gone out the window after hours of internet research – antique radiators, real wooden flooring, a bespoke window seat, a rose gold fridge (still haven’t got over that one!). But, it’ll all come together in the end.
Yes, it’s disappointing but there will always be another option, maybe even a better one and with so much choice now, I guarantee that you’ll find something that will fit your style.
STYLE IT UP
I always think of interior styling a bit like fashion styling – piecing everything together to make one main look. Granted, it’s a bigger space and it’s a bit more overwhelming so I always suggest picking the big pieces in the same colour, such as emerald green and adding in different prints, textures and tones in the accessories. If you’re not very confident at putting things together at first, stick to neutral hues such as glossy white tiles, add in a little tone like some rustic wooden chairs, throw in a print such as a beige and grey rug, a bit of life like a big green plant and accessorise with some vases, frames and mirrors. With that, you already have the basis of a beautiful and elegant space.
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