May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kitchen Photos: Before and After

The first room to overhaul had to be the kitchen. After years of dodgy, fanless ovens and underpowered rangehoods in rental kitchens I was trawling appliance showrooms before we even moved in.

The glossy real estate photos hide all sorts of evils. I know timber is having a big revival right now but the  varnished pine here had yellowed badly and the peach laminate and tiles clashed like an 80s prom night.

Before we moved in...

Day 1

And 6 months later...

We actually loved the arched shelves above the sink and decided to retain them as a feature, hanging a couple of ikea pot holders above that Tom wired together to enhance the country kitchen look.

We had a local stonemason cap the existing benchtop in granite (kashmir white) which turned out to be no more expensive than caesarstone, and with about 3 coats of sealer over the factory job, just as stain resistant.

 This also gave us the opportunity to install a new sink which I picked up second hand on ebay, and widen the bench space a bit.

The dishwasher, oven and rangehood were a little tricky, requiring the co-ordination of a cabinet maker, electrician and plumber so we hired a company that do kitchen fit outs to install them and plumb the rangehood exhaust out the ceiling.

Honestly next time I think I would try to just hire the contractors  and co-ordinate it myself as it added quite a bit to the cost and we still had to have people coming back for oversights here and there, but it did help to get the job done quickly. Tom undertook the tiling of the splashback, replacing the peach with simple white tiles, and I primed the cabinets with zissner stain block - stinky but it works and is so much easier than stripping the varnish - and painted them in enamel.

We chose grey for the lower half and white for the top half to further enhance a furnished country kitchen look and I ordered brushed steel cabinet knobs and drawer pulls from a US supplier through ebay (why is it so hard to get good hardware in this country?) which finished them off nicely.

The vaulted ceiling also got a coat of the stain block which produced a lovely white-washed effect. Tough job! We had to wear gas masks and our arms were screaming but it transformed the feel of the room so it was worth it. New lighting from Ikea and a couple of coats of blackboard paint (Society Inc in Pirate Black) over the blue feature wall and the 'dining nook' is done.

And that's where we're at. The peach floor tiles remain there for now until we come up with funds and an appropriate solution, and we're still scratching our heads over how to improve the look of the skylight in an affordable way which will be a post in itself. Suggestions please!

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