The kitchen. The heart of the home. Where I like to think I’m the next Nigella but am often found burning spaghetti bolognese. Before moving to our current home, we lived in Army Married Quarters and the kitchen was a square space that was stuck in 1956, so the most important thing when we were buying a new home was somewhere we could entertain!
Although, saying that, we’ve just bought a home that has a square shaped kitchen with zero personality, but more on that in a future blog!
I love this space, I really do! It has evolved many times since we first started renovating it and has been the best place to have numerous parties and friends and family over. But if I could rewind back 3 years ago would I have done the same? Probably not. We renovated before I joined Instagram (read my kitchen renovation blog post here) and with the wealth of inspiration on there, Instagram for me is like being a kid in a sweet shop.
My original plans were actually very different to how it turned out. I wanted a standalone island to begin with, but we were told by the designer (I won’t mention what kitchen company he came from!) that we didn’t have enough space to put one. This all seems a bit ridiculous now seeing as I have been in smaller kitchens with islands and I really wish I had stuck to my guns.
I feel so much more confident in my decisions now, I will definitely stand my ground when we start planning again.
Now we’ve had the chance to live in the house and use it for a few years, we’ve realised that our peninsula is the most social space in the house! This is where everyone sits and hangs out whilst I dish out copious amounts of snacks, drinks and top banter (well, I’d like to think so!) It’s also where the kids tend to sit most when they have breakfast and do their schoolwork.
The reason I designed a peninsula is because the last house had a sink facing out towards the street and I found that I couldn’t keep an eye on my kids when they were in the garden. They were of that age where they would eat mud, try to climb trees and get stuck in prickly bushes, so I was forever running in and out of the house trying to untangle hair from a thorny bush.
However, I’ve realised that an island would have worked better. This would have provided more space to entertain, a real hub of the home and an even bigger workspace to become a dumping ground!
I would have kept the fridge in the same place, but the sink would need to be moved. I’m not keen on putting the sink or oven hob on the island as I think this will restrict the space and knowing our family, would constantly have saucepans and dishes lying in sight. Also, as my kids sit at the island often whilst I’m making tea, I would be worried about them being so close to a hot oven hob!
The range cooker would stay in the same place with a statement back splash and the sink would be placed a little further down where the worktops run along the wall.
Instead of having the kitchen cupboards curved in a J shape around the kitchen and zoning it, I would have had kitchen units running all along the right hand side of the kitchen with open shelving instead of mounted wall units.
I like the idea of being able to display beautiful crockery and kitchenware. I know so many people worry about the dust but if you display items that you use regularly, they’ll never get the chance to get too dusty!
Having a larder is the dream isn’t it? We requested one when we had our first kitchen consultation but as we needed the whole kitchen gutted and refitted, we couldn’t afford it.
But, by having open plan shelving, we would save money by not having to install wall mounted cupboards and would need the extra cupboard space to store all our food!
But what colour cabinets?
We put in white Howden cabinets as we were doing up to sell on and this was their most popular range. We needed a kitchen that would appeal to the masses so white it was, although, I think people are starting to be more experimental with their kitchen cabinet colour.
I would definitely go dark and probably dark green! This colour is so versatile and looks extremely stylish and classy next to white tiles and marble work tops.
Which leads me onto the worktops. We currently have oak worktops fitted which compliment the wooden floorboards perfectly, but they are a lot of upkeep. We’ve had them for 3 years now and could probably do with a sand down and varnish.
I’ve always loved the sleekness of marble worktops but know they are quite porous, allowing stains to soak in and easily scratched. I love the look of ceramic worktops that mimic marble but are a lot easier to look after.
With a standalone island in the middle of the room, it would be crying out for statement lighting! I’m loving the rattan light shades at the moment and with the rustic feel of open shelving and the dark green cabinets, I think they would be perfect in lighting up our entertaining space!
Ah, the backsplash! We were originally going to put metro tiles behind the oven but when our builders started putting them in, I knew they were not right for the space. I needed pattern in my life and wanted to make a real feature point of the oven which was built into the chimney breast, so we had Victorian patterned tiles added.
As much as I love this feature of our kitchen, I’m not sure I’d do it again. There would be so much going on with dark green units, marbled worktops and open shelving, I would probably continue the marble up the wall.
Continuing with the boho coast theme, I would love to install rattan bar stools in the kitchen! I think they are a great way of adding texture to the room when there is a lot of block colour going on.
We originally wanted to move the wood burner from the kitchen space to the family area but were put off by the cost. People tend to plan their kitchen around the summer and how they will use it as a family, but in the UK, we get very long and dark winters so to plan a kitchen for the winter as well is very important!
I would love to put the wood burner in the corner of the kitchen overlooking the garden. This would provide a wonderful cosy atmosphere for eating dinner around the table throughout winter.
Which leaves me with the dining table. We have quite a large family and enjoy cooking Sunday roasts, so this piece of furniture is important to the house!
We would still need something that could fit up to 14 people around and I would like to keep the boho/biophilic feel in the kitchen. I would go with a natural wood table and cane chairs.
Trends come and go but, in my eyes, green, marble and rattan are here to stay! And after writing that blog post I’ve now realised I’ve got my plan for our next kitchen in our new house! Now to get planning permission