The Long Awaited Kitchen Reveal: Before & After

If there is one blog post that is long overdue, this is it.

And let me warn you in advance, there will be a lot of pictures.

*Takes a deep breathe*

Here we go…

For a very long time, I didn’t have much to talk about on this blog except our kitchen. These days we’re getting to a really amazing stage in the progress of our home where we can properly think about what quirky ornaments we like, what wallpaper styles may fit the theme of a room, and what weird and wonderful colour combinations we might want to try out through throws and cushions and lamps, and all those decorative things which, quite frankly, couldn’t have been justified a year ago with so much building work to be done.

One year ago, a few short months after getting married and a honeymoon to Cuba, we felt relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to really make this pile of rubble into a family home.

We made the decision to extend at the back of the house. There was a single-bricked outhouse in this space with an asbestos roof and it was always the plan to remove it, so we figured, well why not replace it with extra room? We wouldn’t lose any of our lovely large garden, and we’d create extra space, not just for the sake of having more worktops, but for a dining area where we could invite over friends, family, and one day sit our children down to do their homework.

The building work took a while. Longer than expected in fact.

We had delays, as with so many construction projects and instead of the estimated 12 weeks, the building stage and then the installation of the kitchen took around 6 months.

We endured holes in the house over Winter, and I cooked on a single-hobbed cooker, for the most part wearing gloves and hat. Glamorous, it was not. But an adventure I’ll never forget, absolutely.

If anything, it tested me and Joe. And if we could laugh our way through the kitchen flooding, the extended delays, the temporary collapse of our finances, and the task of actually picking a kitchen when we’re both appalling at making decisions, then we can make it through anything.

To cut a long story short – or shorter – one year on, after the construction began, here I sit in our kitchen diner, just as I said I would in this post.

Here are some before pictures. I hope you’ll forgive the shoddy images. At the time our life was in boxes so they were all taken on a pretty naf camera phone.

Kitchen progress

Kitchen progress

And for anyone who follows me on Instagram, you may remember this picture, which is what the kitchen looked like over Christmas when we were in the height of construction mode.

Pretty sexy am I right? Want to see what it looks like now? One more minute…

If you’re interested in how we got to this finished stage, look through the Kitchen part of this blog. I posted regular updates, some of which were minimal things like, another wall going up. I tracked all of it, even if it sounds dull, because each little change was a huge triumph for us in every day living. The kitchen itself we got from Howdens in Greenwich Shaker Grey and it is absolutely beautiful.

I’m having a bit of a love affair with the colour grey as it’s so versatile and to me, it’s classy and simplistic. The worktops are a grey rustic oak, also from Howdens. The kitchen range is all FSC certified, and I always have this niggling guilt that we’ve done so much environmental damage during our renovations that if I can make a better choice with things like the interiors, then I will.

So let’s take a tour!

kitchen reveal 07
kitchen reveal 02

kitchen reveal 01
kitchen reveal 03

I love that you can see the blue hints around the room, and even though there is only one blue wall around the corner, all the kitchen items around this side of the room really bring it together.

It’s nice that on this unit we had an integrated fridge and freezer. All the convenience but hidden away in these gorgeous units.

We’ve also been able to unpack our selection of matching glasses and put them on display, which we’d had in boxes for almost 2 years!

kitchen reveal 04
kitchen reveal 05 kitchen reveal 06

This is a new dining table from Ikea. It seats 8 comfortably but can be extended to seat 10-12 if we decide to host Christmas one year! The runner is from Marks & Spencer. The placemats are Tesco.

kitchen reveal 09kitchen reveal 08

kitchen reveal 010 kitchen reveal 11 kitchen reveal 12 kitchen reveal 13 kitchen reveal 14

The below shows, admittedly, the most rubbish bit of the room. It holds our junk and Joe’s tools as we still have a lot of DIY ongoing. But in better news, it hides our boiler, the pantry, our washing machine and also all of our pet materials. Holy cupboard overload Batman!

(That’s going to be a pain to baby proof ALL of those cupboards! I didn’t think this through!)

kitchen reveal 15 kitchen reveal 16 kitchen reveal 17

The colours on the walls in here are both Craig & Rose. The blue wall is Smalt Blue, and the rest is Chalk White, but it’s actually a soft grey colour on the wall. If you’d like to know where anything else is from, and I’ve not mentioned it, please comment below!

There may be some who are thinking: “Erm, Karen, is this what you consider a finished kitchen?” And the answer is of course, no. I don’t. But we’re in the cosmetic stage now, rather than building and construction. We have been since the beginning of summer, and that is a huge step for us.

We still need curtains and blinds.
I’d like more ornaments for our display shelf.
I’d love a notice board in there.
We need new dining chairs.
I need to replace the plate above the sink that I accidentally dropped. (Oops)

I mean, really there is still a long list, but these things will come in time, and I will take my time over them, because these are the really fun bits.

Generally, I’m so happy with it. It’s been finished for a while so if there is any mess, it’s because it’s very much lived in. There is so much space for hosting family dinners, or for our future kids to run around whilst I cook dinner. I even have enough kitchen storage now that I have an entire area dedicated to my baking materials. This is the dream you guys!

I really hope you enjoyed reading about our kitchen renovations over the past year. It even landed us on TV a few months ago! But that’s a story for another day…Thanks for sticking around to see us cross the finish line. And for all of the family and friends that helped us get here.

I was featured on Remodelaholic

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  • It looks absolutely amazing! Well done on all of your hard work! I love your choice of blue for the feature wall – it really brightens up the space.

    • KarenAnita

      Thanks so much Christine! I still love it, all these months later, which is surely a good sign.
      I’m hoping when we get a few more ornaments out and some pictures on that feature wall, it will continue to feel more homey over the next year. Or maybe it will be swamped with baby toys?? Either way, more colour is coming!! 🙂 xx

  • Oh Karen it’s lovely. And I can certainly see Baby Cloughs around that table and baking with you and asking for help with their maths homework! You must be so chuffed. Love the little touches and I really like the blue – I’d never really considered such a bold colour before but I love it. Also love the drunken chef wine holder on your windowsill! I am stuck with the kitchen I have for now, but my living room is almost done. Keeps me inspired. I’ve been hopping over here a lot in recent months to keep me going. I hate how long it has taken me to do, but saving up, bit-by-bit, kind of makes it more worthwhile doesn’t it? I bet you can’t wait to sterilise bottles and feed Baby Clough their first try of food when the time comes! xx

    • KarenAnita

      Thank you!
      I had never considered blue myself but with a very neutral kitchen I just couldn’t resist going for something a little bolder – and I’m so glad we did!
      I know what you mean, it can really feel like forever. After all, we’ve been in the house 3 years now and STILL very much in DIY mode! But if I could say anything to you, it’s do one room at a time. Forget the kitchen and the rest of your house until you finish the lounge. Trust me, you will need a room to escape to when you re-do a kitchen!

      Very excited for Baby Clough’s arrival and it’s such a large floor space I might need to get her one of those cleaning suits so when she starts crawling, she can do some scrubbing at the same time haha! xxx

  • Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous! (if that’s an appropriate word to call a kitchen?!) I bet it feels amazing to cook in something other than a building site.. and it will be a lovely space to relax in when the little one arrives 🙂 You’ve done an amazing job! xxx

    • KarenAnita

      Thank you Kerry! It really is so nice to cook in a proper room again and bake cakes at the weekend! It was a real labour of love, but we got there in the end 🙂
      So very worth it x

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  • Wow! It is STUNNING! What a difference it’s made! And I recommend the magnetic baby locks by the way – you stick them on rather than drilling them in. 🙂

  • Wow, well done, it looks fantastic! You must be thrilled with it.

    • KarenAnita

      Thank you so much Rachel! Yes we’re really chuffed with the finished result – even more relieved not to be living in a building site! 🙂 x

  • How wonderful! You must be so thrilled with the space, totally transformed! Love your subway tile too x

    • KarenAnita

      We really are! It’s just amazing not to be living in rubble anymore hehe This is a significant improvement, let me tell you! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! x

  • Hi Karen!

    Wow, what a transformation! You must be thrilled 🙂

    We are still trying to choose our kitchen, as you know we are looking at a very similar style to yours! I hope you don’t mind, but I have lots of questions… Did you say yours was from Howdens? Which range is it? Are you pleased? How does the quality compare to an Ikea kitchen?

    Thank you so much!

    Charlotte x

    • KarenAnita

      Thanks Charlotte! We really are so pleased with it 🙂

      And you’ll be there before you know it!

      Yes the kitchen is from Howdens Joinery and the range is Greenwich Shaker Grey. It’s trade-only so you have to order trough a builder or fitter – we were lucky because my uncle is a builder so ordered it for us. Also, they do offers throughout the year, and we got ours for 20% off I believe! You can visit their showrooms to see styles and get a free design and if you choose to go ahead, they will recommend a fitter so you can order. I think the quality is fab. No problems whatsoever so far. We had some cupboards which we changed our mind on upon delivery, but as they are a company who stocks all of their ranges fully assembled in their warehouses, they did a straight swap no problem. I would definitely recommend them, and also recommend their soft close features because it makes the whole room quieter and feel more sleek.

      We did see some lovely kitchens in Ikea but I think for us Ikea worked out more expensive – which isn’t a surprise as we were looking for 20+ units! (I believe a standard kitchen is about 8-10 units). Looks like Ikea has a 25 year guarantee on kitchens so I’d take that as a good sign on quality! Which? do a report every year on customer satisfaction from kitchen suppliers, definitely worth taking a look! Hope that helps 🙂 xxx

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  • Looks pretty much finished to me 🙂 we still have heaps to do, we have painted the unit doors but still need to replace the worktops, tile and paint, but we have been holding off as the kitchen has been used as place to wash paint brushes and buckets until the rest of the house is done. So, our kitchen will be one of the last things to do!

    • KarenAnita

      Aw thanks Jennifer! I guess it’s finished in terms of building work and construction, but there are a few homey touches I’d love to add before considered it a finished project 🙂 But those are the exciting bits!
      Leaving a kitchen until last is a good idea – at least you’ll have other rooms to hibernate to whilst the work is ongoing! Just seen your progress pics on Instagram. Very excited for you! x

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  • Becky Lambert

    Thank you for sharing – I absolutely love your kitchen! I am lookin at a similar one from Howdens which is how I found yours! I am also looking for tiles like this, can I ask where you got yours from? Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Becky! Ooo how exciting, and I’m so glad you like our kitchen 🙂
      They’re called white Metro tiles and you can normally get them from all good tile suppliers. Ours on this occasion were from Topps Tiles c