siemens iq300

+ Our Kitchen Redesign: Before and After

Over nine weeks ago our builders started work on the kitchen and it's still not 100% finished, but I just have to share some photos anyway! The kitchen redesign was originally pitched to us as a two-week job, but due to various issues (inaccurate measurements, poor communication between our builder and the kitchen fitters) it's still not finished. Even so, you can see from the photos below that it's starting to look stunning. I'm really happy with the results but just wish it was complete now!

The picture below is of our kitchen before the work. the cupboards were too shallow for our plates to fit! The back wall (where the window is) was also really under-utilised.

The view from our hallway on a gorgeous sunny day, with Chickpea perching on the wooden peninsula.

I LOVE these Kartell masters stools in 'rust'. Without them I think the kitchen would be severely lacking in colour:

Chickpea on the peninsula (again). We also decided on floor-to-ceiling cupboards so that we'd have more storage and less flat surfaces gathering dust.

A cluster of succulents and a cactus by the sink:

Our very own (messy) larder:

The sink used to be fixed to an internal wall (so no view at all). I love that our new Blanco Tolon sink looks out into the garden and reflects back natural light. The wooden venetian blinds are from Prêt á Vivre (Upper Street, North London):

Ignore the fact that the corner of the kitchen is STILL not finished, and instead admire our Le Mans unit for pots & pans, a nifty CDA wine cooler and tambour unit to hide our toaster!

What I Learned

You can read about the design/planning process here, but I have learnt so much more since works began over two months ago:

  • Paying more doesn't always mean getting more. Even if you pay builders a handsome sum to project manage for you, it doesn't mean shit unless they've actually shown you a project tracker. Our builder promised us this (as the work was shared between them and the kitchen fitters) and we never saw it.
  • Expect to waste hours of your time chasing builders for details. If your kitchen needs just a few tweaks, don't expect your builder to rush to finish the job. We have had to incessantly chase ours to get basic work done, and initially we didn't chase certain things as we thought it was all in hand. Turns out, lots of things had been overlooked by both parties!
  • Don't pay the deposit until you're 100% satisfied with the project plans. Like I mentioned, our builder promised us the world 'I'll be your surrogate parents in this process; you'll receive a full project tracker'... his actions couldn't have been further from the truth.
  • Go through your final kitchen order with a fine-tooth comb. We had initially asked both the builder and the kitchen fitter for a 'venting out' extractor rather than a recirculating one, and they both agreed. However, 6 weeks neither party had a clue about the chimney hood! It took Ned and myself to explicitly ask multiple questions over email before they tried to resolve the issue and get something done.
  • Batch-cook home-cooked meals in advance. My god, for the first 2-3 weeks we ate more than our fair share of microwave meals and cheeky Deliveroos! Our fridge/freezer was connected to power the entire time, so in hindsight I wish I had prepped lots of nice home-cooked meals to see us through and save some money.
  • Immerse yourself in the design. If I'd known about it, I would have demanded to view the design using Virtual Reality, e.g. TruVision. It would have really helped to picture how we'd utilize the kitchen space and make changes to hard-to-reach cabinets/odd angled cabinet doors before building started!

A peek into the mess we had to endure on the road to our dream kitchen:

The Details 
Design & dry fitting by Funktional Kitchens
Plumbing, flooring, splashback, electrics and plastering by UDS Construction
Shelter Island 'harbour view' herringbone marble tiles (Fired Earth)
Shepton Flagstone Floor Tiles - Worn (Ca'Pietra) (Horncastle Tiles)
Kartell Masters Stools (Amara)
Barbican Triple Pendant Track in antique brass (Jim Lawrence)
Samsung American-Style Fridge Freezer (Curry's)
LG D1484CF TrueSteam Dishwasher  (Curry's)
30mm Thick Royal Bavarian Wild Spekva worktop (ordered by Funktional Kitchens)
Häcker Classic kitchen cabinets in magnolia (ordered by Funktional Kitchens)
Siemens iQ300 chimney hood (ordered by Funktional Kitchens)
Siemens IQ500 Extra wide gas hob with wok burner (ordered by Funktional Kitchens)
Siemens IQ700 oven (ordered by Funktional Kitchens)

Finishing Touches
Orla Kiely Tulip Double Oven glove (Amara)
Le Creuset 'volcanic' utensil jar (Le Creuset)
Garden Trading Seagrass Placemats (Amara)
Painted Amaryllis butter dish (Anthropologie)