Designing Our Perfect Kitchen

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When we started thinking about our home renovation plans, the thing that I think my husband and I were most excited about was a new kitchen. We’ve lived with our current kitchen since we moved into the house 5 years ago, and it’s fair to say that we’ve always hated it. It’s not our style at all, and it’s now hugely showing its age. The cupboard doors are warping and cracking from water damage, the pull-out larder door scrapes against the wall when you pull it out, meaning that the wallpaper has scraped off, leaving a bare patch of wall. Our oven dials have all failed, so the exact temperature of the oven is always an exciting mystery. And the biggest kicker? We don’t have a gas supply to the mains from our kitchen, and our gas hob is powered by propane gas cylinders, which always choose the most inopportune moments to run out.

I’ve had a kitchen Pinterest board going for years, where I’ve lusted after beautiful kitchens in the hope of one day redoing our own, so to finally start being able to make some of those ideas reality is so exciting.

I’ve had very clear ideas about the style of kitchen I wanted. I’d pinned kitchens from Plain English, Neptune, Tom Howley, DeVOL, and The Shaker Kitchen Company, and it was clear that I was set on the simplicity of the shaker style. To me, it’s traditional and classic, and just looks beautiful. We’ve ended up choosing The Shaker Kitchen Company, who I think just nail the simplicity of the shaker design.

An Island

An island was top of our list for our kitchen renovation. One of our biggest bugbears about our current kitchen has been the lack of counter space for working on, as well as the lack of storage space. An island gives us more of both, as well as making a focal point. In terms of layout, our extension doesn’t actually offer a huge amount of additional space, so making good use of the island was essential for us. Our island will fit in two sets of pan drawers, an integrated bin, and a bookshelf on the end.

Wooden Floors

This was a long running debate between myself and my husband. I love the look of wooden floors and the warm feel they give, and we have engineered wood flooring running through the rest of our ground floor. My husband was keener to have tiles on the kitchen, as the varnish of wood flooring can be easily worn away by water if it’s not cleared up quickly (which isn’t always the easiest when you’re a busy family with young children).

I’ve done a lot of research into this, and engineered wood is far less susceptible to water damage than solid wood flooring. Of course, if you have a full on flood, it’s probably not going to come off too well, but with a good lacquer it should be able to withstand the odd splash and spilled drink. We are planning to go for an engineered oak floor laid in a herringbone pattern. I do like my wood to look ‘real’, so I definitely want a bit of grain and a few knots in there.

Dark blue kitchen from The Shaker Kitchen Company

A Range Cooker

Given that we don’t have the mains gas supply to our kitchen, we originally thought we’d go for an induction hob and an integrated cooker. But ultimately, when we saw the plans, it just felt too modern for our old house, and I realised how much I love the look of a range cooker. So we have arranged for our builder to extend the gas supply out to the kitchen, and finally we won’t need to worry about the gas running out anymore!

An Integrated Bin

I ummed and ahhed over this one for ages. Although we are extending the kitchen out to the side, we won’t actually gain a huge amount of extra storage space. The only additional units will be the island, and that doesn’t buy you that much, so taking up a whole cupboard space for a bin felt like a big deal. But I read a Mumsnet thread on what people love about their kitchens, and it was pretty much unanimous that an integrated bin is a must. There is definitely a huge appeal in having it all tucked away, and we worked out that if we extended the island a little bit more, we could fit one in (eating into a bit of the walkway space between the island and the opposite units, but still plenty of room).

A Larder

I love the idea of a housemaid’s cupboard – a little cupboard where you can store all of the things that often clutter up your worktops. Toasters, microwave, etc. They all live tucked away, and you have electric sockets situated in the cupboard so that you can use them there. The Shaker Kitchen Company do a four door double larder, which will give us the ability to organise all of our non-fridge food, as well as keeping all of those appliances tucked away. This might actually be the part of the kitchen I’m most excited about!

Dark Units

The great thing about Pinterest is that it really helps you to identify your style. I noticed that my taste in kitchens has changed a little over the last few years – I still love the same style of kitchen, but where I previously pinned white, bright and airy kitchens, I’m now pinning darker units. It’s probably shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as I’ve noticed my photography style doing the same thing. I’m embracing the darker tones and shadows, as well as the light, and it’s clear I’m drawn to a moodier colour palette these days. We’ve opted for the darkest of navy blues for our units, which I hope will be lovely against the wooden flooring and the brass handles.

It seems slightly surreal to have chosen a kitchen that we love so much. After 5 years of living with this one that we’ve hated for so long, I think it’s going to go from being our most hated room of the house, to our favourite!

All photos courtesy of The Shaker Kitchen Company

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