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Our Kitchen Renovation

It is quite amazing the difference our kitchen renovation has made to our home. The previous kitchen was pretty dated. And by dated I think that is a polite way of saying it was little ugly. Or maybe that’s unfair. It was certainly charmless. I would hazard a guess the previous kitchen was installed in the late 80s or early 90s. There was a lot of pine. Like a lot a lot. But the look did not bother me as much as the flow.

before our kitchen renovation

The kitchen itself was quite functional. It was a U shape which was not too bad to work in. The layout did make the kitchen area seem really cramped. Adding to this claustrophobic space was a huge pine cabinet on the western wall that effectively blocked the access from the front of the house to the rear of the house. You could not have two people walking through at the same time. The cabinet dominated the space and the only redeeming feature is that it was amazing for storage. Or as my husband would tell you, I could put a lot of crap in it 😏. 

kitchen renovation

For me the key driver for planning our kitchen was to improve the flow while creating a fresh and clean space. Given I spend a lot of time I spend in the kitchen it needed to be really functional and a beautiful space that I would want to spend lots of time in. I also wanted quite a neutral colour scheme that would appeal to the majority of buyers in case we sell our house. We have very little storage in the house and I have a lot of kitchen stuff so we really needed to think about how to get the most our of space. So we were sure that we wanted a lot of drawers to maximise storage in the kitchen.

So with this in mind we set about trying to design the kitchen.

This was actually the stage that was the hardest. Our earliest “conversations” (read: disagreements) resulted in not a lot of anything. Except frustration. Trying to convince my husband of my vision which was to move from separate kitchen and dining ‘spaces’ (and I use the word ‘space’ with a great deal of irony given it’s all open plan kitchen dining and lounge) to an ‘eat in’ kitchen. I really really wanted a wall oven so our earlier designs focused on getting this in, though eventually I capitulated and realised it just wasn’t going to happen. I did however stand firm on the farm house sink.

Because we were having a hard time getting on the same page we ended up booking a designer through IKEA, who we were pretty sure we wanted to purchase the kitchen from. This is a service at a cost (around $150 from memory) that IKEA offers through subcontractors. These people also have businesses based on installing the IKEA kitchen and coordinating the trades. I would imagine this is where they make their money. 

I will be really honest and say we actually went through this process twice as the first business provided an extremely ordinary design. It was bad. I asked for it to be redone and we never heard back 🤷🏻‍♀️. The only benefit of this process is then my husband had pretty accurate measurements and used this to start playing around with the free IKEA online design tool.

And after what felt like months of ‘conversations’ and playing around with the tool we finally had a good idea of what we wanted. Which is pretty much what we have now. So we booked another designer through IKEA to help us finalise the design, make sure we had our measurements right and just make sure if was workable. 

our kitchen renovation

Gladly, we did not have the same experience with the second designer. She was really knowledgeable about IKEA kitchens and provided some really great suggestions for how we could maximise our space. This designer was also was more prepared with brochures so we could really get a feel for what we were thinking of doing. 

She suggested a corner cupboard with a Lazy Susan – which I love. And a couple of great little thin drawers for chopping boards and bottles of oil etc. So all in all, it was worth using the service in the end. 

The next step was to head into IKEA to actually have a look at what we had selected. The first of innumerable trips to IKEA. I don’t think my husband will ever go to IKEA again. But, I gotta tell you, the IKEA Smaland – a child minding service at IKEA for toilet trained kids – is truly genius. It was the only way we actually got to be able to relax in IKEA without three children touching things, jumping on things…nearly breaking ALL THE THINGS 😬😤🙈. 

our kitchen renovation

When we were at IKEA we realised some of our selections were not amazing. Like a laminate stone look is nothing at all like stone and it’s no wonder it was so cheap. We ended up going for a veneer wood bench top to reduce the cost. But we chose a marble look stone for the island bench top, which was a bit of a splurge. I am really happy with the look of the island. And given the wooden floors we really could not have had a wooden island bench.

We didn’t end up using the designer’s services to install. We had a few contacts already for electrical and plumbing which was helpful. And as our neighbour is AMAZING and amazingly handy he and my husband put the kitchen together. He also installed the splash backs too. We went with glass splash backs, and while originally I would have loved a white tile the splash backs are really great. Super easy to clean and I love the look of them. If you are in Brisbane or surrounds and are looking for glass splash backs or an amazing builder I am more than happy to give you the details. Also if you are looking for a great electrician I can let you know their details too! 

our kitchen renovation

I am not so sure our neighbour would be keen to come back for another kitchen install given the 178 boxes of flat-packs that arrived for assembly. Now my idea of hell is assembling flat-packs. It is hideous. And I am glad to say my role of project manager, creative director and child minder meant that I did not come within a metre of an Allen-key or screwdriver. My husband and our neighbour did a truly fantastic job and I am in awe of them. 

For our kitchen renovation we did need some new appliances but kept our fridge, microwave and dishwasher. I chose an induction cook top and I am so happy with it. It is so quick and cooks evenly (especially compared to the old combined oven cook top I had. I also love love love my oven. I went for a pyrolytic oven which makes cleaning a breeze. Or as much of a breeze as cleaning an oven can possibly be. I also really love the range hood and the black is a nice contrast to all the white and ties in the kitchen handles and the pendant lights. 

The kitchen has been renovated for around 2 months now. The only thing I think I would change would be to reduce the island bench by 200mm and increase the table by 200mm. However we could always change the table top completely and do this another time. And by this I mean when my husband will let me talk to him about it 😆. Or maybe my neighbour and I can arrange to just do this when he is not home. 

We do have one thing left to do is to put a cornice around the pantry and fridge. However, this is cosmetic, making the pantry and fridge nook look built in. I am not sure when this will be done. Some of these types of jobs in our house take years to complete. For example I am still waiting on a new shower door. And I have been waiting for that for about 5 years. So let’s just hope it’s a bit before 5 years.

Thanks for reading about our kitchen renovation! I am looking forward to developing many delicious recipes in this kitchen for you! Please reach out to me if you have any questions in comments below or on Instagram or Facebook

Bernadette x


  1. Looks amazing Bernie

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