|Before and after - note the "before" is from the real estate listing and includes fake furniture|
The kitchen was the biggest single thing that needed dealing with in this house - and was also the most urgent, to my mind (the old kitchen, even after being scrubbed with sugar soap, was pretty awful). We moved it from a small room at the back of the house (which is now our guest bedroom and playroom - or will be when we've finished in there) to the front of the house, where it is the hub of our living space between the dining room and lounge.
|This is the kitchen we started with - ugh! The real estate agent's |
photos did a good job of hiding the grime on every surface.
The change of use for the rooms meant we needed to move several doorways (semi-complicated but so worth it!). Then we needed plumbing and electrical work in place, which included shifting the switchboard - not a trivial undertaking.
We did some painting and plastering, and the floor had to be repaired. Then we installed and built in the cabinetry, had the benchtop installed, put coving up, and tiled the splashback.
We had the plasterers in just before Christmas to tidy up our DIY coving efforts and plaster the "built-in" bits around the cabinets, so January's to-do list was simply to do the final coats of paint.
The final paintwork involved undercoat and two top coats to all the freshly plastered areas, with the top coats being applied to ceiling and all walls as well. We'd done as painting as we could before the cabinets went in, both because it's easier to paint an empty room and because we knew it'd be a wee while before we got to the end.
Things we love
Almost everything! Obviously we weren't highly constrained here, because this wasn't previously a kitchen so we were starting from scratch. Budget is of course a constraint, and some of our choices (like the cabinetry) were strongly influenced by cost, but we tried to add interest in among the boring, functional stuff.
My favourite bits:
- Our beautifully restored timber floors. We had no idea what was under the carpet so it was a pleasant surprise to discover matai floorboards in such good condition. This was a budget win, too, because restoring them was cheaper than installing something else would have been.
- The tiled splashback. So lovely to look at, and the dark grey grout and white tile mirror the rest of the colour scheme so well.
- The 60mm engineered stone benchtop. I am pretty picky about some things, and (weird or not) I don't like 30mm thick benches. I'm so glad we forked out the extra for the thicker finish.
- Our Fisher & Paykel induction hob. We installed a super cheap induction hob in our previous house, and it was enough to convert me to induction cooking but the F&P one is so much better. The flexible cooking zones are my favourite tech feature of our kitchen.
- The way the light floods in every morning and bounces off all the white surfaces. Glorious! Just need to build our planned window seat in the bay window and we'll be all set for leisurely morning cuppas.
Things we'd do differently
Mostly we're thrilled, but we are learning as we go so it's not perfect. There are only two things I can think of that I wish we'd done differently (both my fault).
The first is that the main bowl of the sink, which is a lovely double bowl black composite stone, is too small for our large frypan. Since we cook about 90% of our meals in the frypan (and don't put it in the dishwasher), that's pretty annoying. It fits in on an angle, but ideally the sink should easily fit the cookware you use day to day. I should have measured the frypan when ordering the sink. Lesson learnt.
The second niggle is that in my quest to maximise storage I chose to place the hob off-centre in a large set of drawers. I meticulously planned the symmetry from the bench up, and it looked great when the bench went in... But as soon as we put handles on the drawers it started to grate on me. I also wish, in the quest for symmetry, that we'd made the cupboard next to the dishwasher open the other way.
Next time the cupboards will be forced to be symmetrical too!
|The before photo here is really midway through - but still looks a bit different!|
The budgetFirst, a bit of a disclaimer - these are big numbers! We feel that it's important to be honest about what we're spending - I like looking at Pinterest-worthy kitchens but it's hard to know what's actually achievable if no-one puts numbers on anything - but I know this is big money, so please don't freak out. ;-)
The labour was mostly us (with a lot of help from family, especially my Dad), but we did hire quite a few tradies for various parts of the project.
We could have done it cheaper, but we wanted a reasonably high-end finish, and (I think) we've done pretty well at keeping costs down, considering the end result.
These figures include:
- Building consent, including architect and council fees
- Building, plastering and flooring work, including reconfiguring doorways and relining the kitchen ceiling
- Extensive electrical work, including replacing the switchboard and replacing all old wiring in the house
- Cabinets, appliances and benchtop
- Construction materials for the stuff we DIYed
I can't believe how close to the planned budget we've come in - I'd like to claim supreme project management skills but in reality that has got to be a fluke. Happy to be on the right side of the number, though!
Planned budget: $45,200
Timeframe: 6 months
Who did the work: Us + help from family + builder + sparkies + plasterers + flooring specialist
Actual cost: $44,485 ($715 under budget)
Learnings: Book tradies early, thorough planning is very good, our families are amazing, measure your biggest frying pan before settling on a sink.
There's a full gallery of photos over on my Facebook page if you want to see a bit more of the process.
I'd love to hear what you think - is there anything that you'd do differently? Do you have weird preferences about benchtop thickness and symmetry or am I on my own there?