Hope everyone is well and staying warm and safe in this awful weather. I am so NOT a winter person! You know I've said for a long time that I could see myself being perfectly happy as a grizzly bear. I'd hibernate all through winter and wake up in time to start hanging out laundry in the spring :) What kind of grizzly bear hangs out laundry I hear you ask, well, if I were a bear, I certainly would, and I'd do it wearing a cute apron too :)
So, I've been grinning happily for weeks now and I hope it's ok if I share the reason why with you? It really is the silliest thing to be so incredibly happy about but I just can't help it :) We finally put into action a long held plan to add some extra counter top and storage space to our kitchen and the result has made me just so ridiculously happy!
OK, so I thought I'd start by showing you how the kitchen looked when we first moved in, and compare that to our first attempt at making it ours :) Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, I only had my phone back then.
As you can see honeys, my much loved "happy place" was sorely in need of some tender loving care when we first moved here. Unfortunately, so was the rest of the house and money was tight.
Our budget was further limited because, before even thinking about decorating, we had to pay to have the electrics of the house completely replaced, since the wiring was over 50 years old! Every rain cloud though can hide a rainbow and having a smaller budget actually forced us to be extra careful about what we spent money on and to be more inventive in our decorating efforts :)
In the "before" photos above you can see that the kitchen hadn't been wallpapered in a (very) long time, the cabinets looked really shabby and the floor tiles weren't at all nice. We started, of course, by deep cleaning the entire kitchen. The old wallpaper was then stripped back.
Once we had a "clean slate" to work with, my dear hubby put one of his (many) skills to use. Hubby tiled all of the walls up as far as a little over half way up the wall. He used plain white tiles because we'd seen them on sale and we thought if we changed the wallpaper in the future that white tiles would still look ok as a backsplash. He then wallpapered the remaining walls with a really pretty cream & powder blue washable wallpaper we also bought on sale :)
When that was all done (bless him, I'm married to a wonderful man, truly) he laid the vinyl floor tiles and then used a cabinet paint in powder blue (you guessed it, bought in the B&Q sale yaaay!) to freshen up the cabinets. He removed the wooden edges/handles and replaced them with pretty chrome handles. I so loved the kitchen when he'd finished it honeys :)
The kitchen was then much loved for a couple of years until we (ok, me :) wanted a change. It would have been wonderful to be able to afford to have a complete kitchen re-model done but in spite of the fact that we both work (I'm only part time because of health issues, a constant source of irritation to me. My brain doesn't want to accept the limits arthritis tortures me with) we just couldn't afford it.
So, again the thinking caps went on and hubby spent a few hours removing the cabinet doors, covering them in wood grain patterned fablon, replacing the handles and fixing them back to the cabinets. He then wallpapered again with a marbled patterned wallpaper in the loveliest shade of green.
The left hand side of the kitchen didn't have cabinets, and since the kitchen is a good size, nothing like the gorgeous kitchens I pin on Pinterest but still much bigger than our previous galley style kitchen, we used that side of the room for our fridge/freezer and our dining table.
This brings us to now :) I mentioned to Hubby that it seemed a waste of available space in the kitchen to have the dining table there. We do like to eat at the table, it's a nice way to catch up on what we've both done that day and even after all these years of marriage we can still be found occasionally holding hands :) However the table we were eating at was in the living room. It is a smaller, drop leaf table and we'd been using it for a while.
The decision was taken to move our formal dining table (in the photo above) from the kitchen through into our living room, replacing the small drop leaf table. The smaller table has now been re-purposed as a sewing table :) Such joy! I now have a permanent home for my sewing machine! More of that in a future post though :)
We then set about planning, on paper, what to do with the left hand side of the kitchen. It seemed obvious that the best use of the space would be to install a full length counter top, with at least one cabinet underneath. Measurements were taken, drawings made, (told you Hubby has many talents :)
and an order was placed on the Ikea website. I would have preferred a length of cabinets along the wall but, as you can see in the photo above, we have a central heating radiator on that wall and that had to be taken into account.
Ikea delivered very promptly, in the worst weather too actually, we were very impressed! Hubby grabbed his toolbox & electric drill and this was the fabulous result...
Whilst Hubby was working, I hugged our furbaby Jade on the sofa, venturing through only occasionally to make him a cuppa :) I am not the most "steady on my feet" person, so being around power tools or heavy things that can fall on me.. er... no. So, generally I'm banished to someplace safe where I can hug Jade to keep her from getting scared of the noise from power tools.
Whilst on furbaby hugging duty I saw something online that made me squeal! Hubby actually came through to check on me and I was pointing at my laptop and still making a squeal noise :) What I'd found honeys was this.....
If some clever person had sat down and designed a little trolley specifically for the space we had left under the new counter top in the kitchen, it would have looked exactly like this :) Hubby took a note of the measurements of this little wonder trolley and sure enough, it fit! Not just fit, it fit exactly!
I reserved one of these wonderful little items online for next day collection from our nearest Argos store and hubby then carried on working in the kitchen. Trolley was picked up next day and as you can see Hubby covered both the new cabinet doors and the new trolley in fablon to match the other cabinet doors in the kitchen. The result was this......
I keep walking through into the kitchen just to look at it :) There are no words for how much I love our kitchen honeys, or how much joy I feel when I'm in there :) We had a couple of the BYGEL rails (Ikea) in a cupboard waiting for a purpose and Hubby installed one above the new counter top for me to organize my baking utensils onto.
Above the BYGEL rail Hubby put up a shelf (again bought in a sale at Argos but had been sitting in a cupboard waiting for a purpose) and I've used this to store baking ingredients such as caster sugar, mini marshmallows etc using the beautiful storage containers from the Jane Asher range available at Poundland.
Joy! There were lots of organizing items/systems added to the kitchen walls and some adorable canvas prints too, but that's a whole other post, since this one seems to have gone on far too long already (apologies honeys!)
So, thats our little kitchen update :) I've been trying to work out how much it cost us and this is what I've come up with:
Fyndig Countertop: (220cm long) £30.00
Tag handles (pk of 2) £2.00
Olov leg (x 2 at £10 each) £20.00
Ikea Delivery: £35.00
Ikea Total: £145.00
The little trolley from Argos was a bargain at £29.99, but we had a £20 gift card so it actually cost us £9.99. The Fablon (or sticky backed plastic) cost us: Maple wood grain (cabinet & trolley):£16
Grey & Black granite (counter tops): £12. All of which gives us a grand total of around £182.99 plus LOTS of hard work from Hubby!
Additional items, like the Bygel rails, shelves, two BYGEL baskets and a pack of BYGEL hooks we already had from a previous Ikea visit, but even counting them it would have added around £28 (shelves were on sale at £6.99 each x 3) So even counting them the total would have barely reached a little over £200. Consider how much more it would have cost to re-model and it really is a bargain. Oddly enough, the expense was pushed up by paying Ikea's delivery charge, which I thought was very expensive but their service was excellent & Hubby said it would have cost him more to hire a van to collect it, so...
What do you think honeys? £200 is still a lot (to us) of money but we love the results and I am having such a great time in our "new" kitchen :)
I'll show you the kitchen walls in the next post honeys, so much to see. I'll also show you what I'm using the amazing little wonder trolley to store. You won't believe how much it is keeping safe for me, more on that next time. Till then dear ones, please stay warm & safe, sending heaps of hugs xx