Let’s talk kitchens

The kitchen’s been a hot topic over the last few days – it’s the first biggie from our list of things we’d like to do in the house this year. Because we’ve done this before, Barry’s confident about fitting it himself again, and we have lists of absolute must-haves, would-likes and get-rids.

Putting flooring aside for now, the first thing we’d do in the living half of the room is to get rid of the corner sofa from the old house and put in a four-seater sofa – I’m eyeing up some yellow beauties like this one¬†from Chesterfields, which Jude will no doubt trash within a day, but… look at it.

Then we’d move the piano from the living room into the kitchen (and finally get it tuned!), and get a footstool or coffee table to replace the manky, threadbare pouffe that’s now beyond all hope. We’d put a low sideboard behind the sofa to hide the kids’ toys, and then on the other side of the room, we’re looking at this list of demands…

new kitchen must-haves

The current kitchen is about eight-and-a-half years old – in good condition for its age, but not our style. This isn’t our first time replacing a kitchen – this whole blog started back in 2012 with us ripping out internal walls and redoing our kitchen and ground level flooring. With that, we learned a few things that we really won’t consider replacing the kitchen without.

  • Traditional style

The current kitchen is very modern in style, and we don’t feel it fits the house as a whole. The extension, both upstairs and down, has been treated with a very contemporary touch, and we’d prefer to take the units back to a style more in keeping with the original 1930s build.

  • Belfast sink

This would be an amazing feature, and we’re already investigating whether we could actually get a double one into our dream plan, like this one from Butler & Rose (extra points if we can have a feature colour like this).

I’m not sure yet whether we’ll be going for a flush front (my preference) or a bowed one (Barry’s), but neither of us really mind as long as we get to have one.

  • American-style fridge freezer

This goes directly against the traditional style I’ve espoused above, but there’s no way we’re not using modern technology when it makes sense. Our current fridge freezer looks great for her age, but she’s a decade old now, has cracks in her after moving, and we’re ready to have ice and water on demand. Sorry, old girl.

  • Bookshelf

We had an offer accepted on a house in 2015 that ended up going before we managed to sell, but one of the features in its kitchen that I absolutely loved was a big bookshelf full of recipe books. We have too many for our current kitchen – we have to hide some in cupboards as we don’t have the counter space – so this is another must-have for the new kitchen.



On top of the things we won’t be doing without when we update the kitchen, there are a few more things on our wishlist that we’d love to include if we can.

  • An island

Ah, the island dream comes back to haunt us. We managed a peninsula in the last kitchen, but we’d love a real island. I’m lobbying for one in a different colour to the rest of the units (ahem, blue).

  • Double oven

I basically want a range like we had in the last house. I miss it so! Barry’s happy with a waist height oven like our current one, so I’ve got some work to do to convince him otherwise. He’s awarding extra points if it’s pyrolytic and we don’t have to clean it, though. Along with this, we’d like a different hob anyway – our current one’s electric – but not sure we want it enough to convert to gas.

  • Built-in microwave

Not one of mine, this. Outside of this age where our toddler drinks warm milk, we barely use our microwave, but Barry would prefer one that’s built-in like the current one to free up counter space.

  • Dishwasher

Yeah, there’s no way I’m not having a dishwasher, but the current one’s a half sized one. On a day when I bake, or we cook a big meal, that bad boy earns its keep four or five times a day. For a growing family, I want the full monty.

  • Larder unit

I’ve bookmarked a few freestanding larder units, and if I could have put this in must-haves, I would. I’m absolutely in love with this blue unit from The Cotswold Company. I grew up with a real larder in our little council house, and I think modern houses (or extensions, in our case) really miss this feature. The whereabouts of different foods in our current kitchen still don’t make sense to me.

  • Wine rack

Another of Barry’s, he wants a wine rack to hold eight or ten bottles, out of reach of little fingers. The current kitchen has a low level wine rack that we can’t use because Jude.

  • Cooker surround

Might need a higher ceiling for this wishlist item, but we’re loving the units that go around a cooker (like a RANGE, hint, hint, Barry).

  • Plate rack

This one’s all him – I’m not convinced on displaying our crockery to the world. For one thing, it reminds me of my parents having display-only plates that were kept behind glass in the 90s, and also… don’t they get dusty? Or greasy? And there’s no way you can store all your crockery in one of those, so you end up comandeering another cupboard for the rest anyway. Still under discussion, that one.


What we’ll be getting rid of

There’s just a couple of things in the current kitchen that we absolutely wouldn’t have again.

  • Lights

Well, obviously we’ll be having lights. But we’ll be removing the landing strip of eighteen spotlights. No idea what we’ll have instead!

  • Drawer oven

I don’t even know if that’s the right terminology, but the oven that we have at the moment is a burn risk every time we cook. When you open the door, you pull it open like a drawer and the trays slide with the door. I’m sure this made sense to the designer, but it means that you risk burns if you want to cook anything below the top tray, as you need to reach beneath it from the sides to get to anything there, plus there’s the added danger of trays falling backwards into the oven space, which happens all the sodding time, and it is really risky to retrieve anything. Getting rid.

Leaving us with…

So bearing all of this in mind, Barry’s put together a new plan for the kitchen. It’s still a work in progress, and we haven’t actually had a sit-down with a kitchen designer to go through it yet.

We’ve spent the day visiting Hull’s Wren and B&Q stores, as well as perusing DIY Kitchens, Howdens and Neptune online, so we’ve got a couple of appointments coming up to see if this is achievable. Many, many samples are on their way. Full report on the styles we’re looking at will be next!

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