The evolution of my kitchen

By now, I had really hoped to be revealing my new kitchen in all its glory, but if you have been following my renovation journey on instagram, you may have gleaned that unfortunately my best laid plans have gone a bit awry due to delays outside my control. However, the builder is very close to completing his work on my project, so we are getting there!

I keep being asked on instagram to share my kitchen and I can’t help but oblige, particularly as it has already turned into too long a wait to hold back until everything is ready, so I thought I’d write a post here about how my kitchen has developed so far.

Transparency notice: I am very fortunate to be working with some amazing brands on my kitchen project and as such this post includes products received as part of brand collaborations. A full source list will be published with my next kitchen blog post.

APPLIANCES & LAYOUT

The layout of my kitchen was based around my must-have appliances which included a 100cm induction range cooker with a grill and 2 fan ovens, an American fridge freezer and an integrated dishwasher, all of which have been very kindly supplied by AO.com who I am delighted to be working with.

Good appliances are the foundations of a well working kitchen so they should never be an after-thought. Research what you need; for instance will a 90cm range cooker with a narrow second oven suffice or do you need the second oven to be bigger? What fridge-freezer capacity must you have? If your kitchen is open plan, is it important that your appliances are quiet?

Once I had decided on the appliances, I worked out the cabinets around them to include specific storage for everything we have in our kitchen. I was delighted when I figured out a way to have a little walk-in pantry next to the fridge as this gave me sufficient storage to be able to do away wall units altogether!

First Sense Reno - Kitchen layout

STYLE & COLOURSĀ 

Given my modern-classic style, a Shaker style kitchen was non-negotiable for me. The absence of wall units meant the kitchen would feel open and airy so I knew I could be bolder with the colour of the base units. It had to be a colour that would always be easy to live with and one that I hadn’t seen in any other kitchen (and I have seen a LOT of kitchens), because I like to make my life difficult and be different, haha! After looking at paint chart after paint chart, I settled on a complex muted blue-grey: Squid Ink from Paint and Paper Library.

Bespoke painted kitchens can be very pricey, but if you can design your own, then DIY Kitchens offer unbeatable value on their bespoke painted options, or perhaps you may even like their standard colours which makes it even more affordable. [If you aren’t confident about designing your own kitchen, I offer kitchen design services to clients nationwide. 😊]

I love an informal look in a kitchen and have always loved kitchens that mixed worktops: stone and wood create a wonderful contrast so I opted for a marble effect quartz worktop from CRL Stone for the perimeter and a full stave oak worktop for the island. The oak worktop was supplied by the lovely people at Worktop Express who I am also very happy to be working with. Keep reading for more details about the worktops. Also, when the kitchen and utility are complete, I’ll be writing a post about different types of kitchen worktops – including my personal experience and the pros and cons of each – so stay tuned for that.

First Sense Reno - kitchen design

KITCHEN & FLOOR FITTING

In mid-July, my new long-awaited kitchen started taking shape! The kitchen cabinets were fitted and a couple of days later AO.com delivered and installed the appliances.

It’s difficult to describe the sheer joy I felt that evening at being able to use these amazing appliances! 3 months on and that pleasure is still as high as ever!

Towards the end of July, the flooring was fitted. I chose Quick Step Impressive laminate in Soft Oak Medium (for which I received a PR discount), and this flooring runs throughout the ground floor. I have long been a fan of Quick Step’s high quality laminate floors as they look and feel so good that they can easily be mistaken for real wood. The Impressive range is scratch resistant, is suitable for underfloor heating (which we have installed throughout the ground floor) and has a water-repellent hydroseal coating – these qualities make it suitable for any interior space!

WORKTOPS

I am of the opinion that quartz is an unbeatable worktop material for its durability, strength, hygienic non-porosity, heat resistance and stain resistance. It is a virtually zero maintenance worktop. A white marble-effect quartz worktop was a no-compromise item for me. I won’t bore you with just how many quartz samples I looked at before deciding on Statuario Bianco by CRL Stone.

After the flooring was fitted, the quartz worktop, splashback, upstands and window sill were templated and expertly installed by C&J Stonemasonry. I was on cloud 9 on the day of the quartz fitting. Not only was the Statuario Bianco quartz absolutely beautiful, but the white stone bounced so much light around my kitchen that I couldn’t get over how much lighter my kitchen became! It made such a noticeable difference.

See how the corner has no joint? It is all one smooth L shaped piece. That corner with the marble veining freely continuing without an interrupting joint is a thing of pure joy for me! I am so grateful to C&J Stonemasonry who went the extra mile to fabricate a jointless worktop for me, because little details matter. 😊 They were so efficient with the quartz slab that in addition to the worktops, we also managed to get the upstands, window sill and also a large splashback out of it. Perfect, as no tiling required.

First Sense Reno - kitchen progress - blue cabinets and white quartz

In early August, the second worktop – the oak on the island – was fitted. I purchased Worktop Express’ excellent bespoke cutting service for the worktop, so it was delivered exactly to the size and finish I required. This felt like another transformation point for the kitchen, with the oak bringing so much tactile warmth to the space!

First Sense Interiors - kitchen progress - blue kitchen with quartz and oak worktops

LIGHTING

All our lighting in the house is now LED. The open plan area has 4 main lighting zones, all dimmable – kitchen perimeter, kitchen island, dining area and living area. I have had the pleasure of working with Soho Lighting and Elesi on some of the open plan lighting and they have supplied a gorgeous brass screwless 4 gang dimmable switch for the main lights and a fabulous brass toggle switch for the pantry (mentioned below). They also supplied the downlights for the kitchen perimeter. Not only are these downlights fire-rated and IP-rated (IP65), but the light colour temperature is also changeable via a switch easily accessed under the bezel. We have set the downlights to Warm White like all the other bulbs in the space, but you can also set them to Daylight White or Cool White. The electrician said these are the most impressive quality lighting products he has ever come across!

Soho Lighting products from Elesi

The island pendant light was purchased even before the building works had even started(!) as I’d wanted to take advantage of a sale at Heals. It had been in storage since, so it was amazing to see it up at last and looking as good in the kitchen as I had imagined (pic below).

THE CROWNING PIECE

If you look at my kitchen design visualisation above, you’ll notice a chimney canopy above the range cooker to house the integrated extractor. This was the “something really special” that I commissioned from Treemark and I am chuffed to bits with how well they understood my design and made it so beautifully! 😍 It has totally elevated my kitchen!

First Sense Interiors - Blue Shaker kitchen with quartz and oak worktops and a custom built extractor chimney hood

WALK-IN PANTRY

I feel like I have waited a very long time for my pantry, but at last the builder has started working on it as per my spec and I am very happy with how it is shaping up! There is still more of the outer framework to do but on the inside we have fitted a couple of kitchen cabinets topped with a wood-effect laminate worktop. We then painted it in Farrow & Ball Off Black and put up shelves, and I absolutely love it! Having always wanted a pantry, I am delighted to have a cool little space like this to store all our food!

First Sense Interiors - black pantry

WHAT’S LEFT

Once the builder has completed the joinery for the pantry framework and around the fridge freezer, I need to paint the ceiling (currently it just has a mist coat over the plaster). I am deciding on bar stools and once I have them, that’ll be my kitchen complete! We will then be continuing with the joinery for the utility which will hopefully also be complete soon.

This renovation hasn’t been easy for several reasons, but we are nearly there now. Bar a few snags, I am feeling really happy with the result! It’s true what they say, it all feels worth it in the end! I am so happy to be at the stage where I can start to add pretty things. 😊

Kitchen styling

First Sense Interiors - Dark Blue Green Shaker kitchen with quartz and oak worktops and a custom extractor chimney hood

***Edit: For photos of the finished kitchen, along with the full source list, check out this post: All About My Kitchen: Full Source List!


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2 Comments

  1. Sarah Strickland
    October 16, 2019 / 11:18 am

    Your attention to detail has clearly paid off in spades Meera. Thank you for sharing your tips and tricks xx

    • Meera
      Author
      October 17, 2019 / 9:31 am

      Thank you very much, Sarah! 😊

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