So having completed our kitchen diner knock through, we needed to start putting it all back together. I must admit I was excited at this point and also a little daunted! It was so important to make sure that the whole room really worked.
I’ve never had a new kitchen before in all the houses we’ve lived in. We have always had to make do and mend with what was already there. So I have re-painted, replaced, re-tiled etc., but I have never just completely ripped a kitchen out and started again. The choices are endless! We wanted to make it feel modern, but we don’t plan to replace this kitchen anytime soon, so we didn’t want to choose anything that will go out of fashion quickly either! The old kitchen lighting was awful, so we needed to replace this – but I wanted to make sure we got it right – so its nice and bright for cooking, but can be softened once the cooking is done. Once we’d picked the kitchen, we needed to think about splashbacks, worktops, flooring, taps, – the list goes on and on!
Kitchen Layout Plans – what to consider
In terms of practicality for cooking, the old kitchen actually worked fairly well. Lots of people talk about the traditional kitchen ‘work triangle’ , but I’m never too sure what the significance of this is really. As long as you can reach the cooker, sink and fridge without having to walk too far in either direction or around obstacles, I think you can make any layout work really.
This is a view of the old kitchen:
You can never have too much worktop space in a kitchen in my view. This is particularly the case around the hob / cooker top area. Having lived in a couple of houses where this wasn’t the case, it was a definite must. We therefore decided to swap the double oven to the other side of the kitchen, so that there was a clear run of worktops either side of the hob. This also opened up a sight line right across the kitchen to the new seating area.
Distance between hob and sink
I was keen to ensure that there was only a short distance between the hob and the sink, with no obstructions in the way, so these 2 fixtures stayed more or less exactly where they were, just a few steps from each other.
Ability to ‘grab stuff’ while cooking
We were keen to ensure that we could have all our cooking utensils and core ingredients to hand when cooking. So we chose deep pan draws and a cutlery draw beneath the hob to enable easy access to pans and cooking equipment:
We also chose to have slightly larger wall cupboards than were there previously either side of the hob, so that we could easily store our crockery and also cooking herbs / spices etc. in grabbing distance. We have gone for a pullout larder cupboard on the opposite wall immediately behind the hob, so that you can pivot round on the spot and pull this out to get food out.
The larder cupboard of dreams:
Maximising Cupboard Space
As we now have a corner cupboard at the end of the kitchen to accommodate the seating peninsular, we chose to have some pull out units to help maximise the usefulness of these cupboards (excuse the scruffy contents!):
The Fridge and the Bin
Unfortunately, when we moved into the house we bought a brand new tall fridge. We just couldn’t find a way to fit it into the design without it looking cumbersome and messy. As it was brand new we really didn’t want to get rid of it. However we were lucky enough to have space for it in our utility room and this is where we have put it.
In order to still have some refrigeration in the kitchen, we have installed a drinks cooler, which is also fine for storing a pint of milk. Next to the drinks cooler, we have our bin which is integrated into a cupboard. Now that everything is installed we have realised that an under-counter fridge would fit into the cupboard space taken up by the bin (it’s a 600mm cupboard). While the bin would fit into the space occupied by the drinks cooler (300 mm). So that’s a bit of design failure there! Hopefully that’s something we could rectify in the future.
Here are the computer images of the new kitchen:
When we first started to think about changing the kitchen, we were going to go for a cashmere gloss kitchen with a kitchen island and white sparkly worktops. I felt the existing kitchen was really dark, so I wanted to make the new space as light and bright as possible! This new space though feels a bit more edgy. It has light coming in from 3 sides, so I thought we could afford to go for something a bit darker in the kitchen area.
Having looked at several options, we decided to go with Howdens for our kitchen units. Mr G’s dad used to fit kitchens and bathrooms for a living and always highly recommends them. Howdens have a kitchen design service, and we were helped by Sean, who was very patient with us and our evolving plans!
Initially, we were thinking of going for the Howden’s ‘Camberwell Slate Grey Super-matt’ doors. But having seen them in the showroom, we decided that actually we loved the darker ‘graphite’ door. I love the look of shaker doors and see so many beautiful kitchens with these doors, but I know that we are just generally quite messy people and these doors tend to catch all the dirt. A smooth fronted door that can be simply wiped down is a much more practical option for us. I also like the super-sleek finish the handless door gives.
We went with white sparkly quartz worktops – to stop it being too dark. Also, quartz is extremely hard wearing – again, we are a clumsy, messy lot, so we probably need this! We also went for a white granite sink, for much the same reasons.
When looking at the layout of the kitchen, we had a few goals in mind. Firstly, we wanted to create a more social space for cooking in. In the existing kitchen, there is nowhere to perch and chat while someone is cooking. I usually end up having drag one of the dining room chairs in and sitting next to the bin! So a breakfast bar / seating area was a must.
Secondly, we wanted to have a relaxed, but well defined dining area. Keeping the structural post in the back section of the room gives the different areas definition.
Thirdly, we wanted to have a comfortable seating area, so that the whole family can be in the kitchen, whatever is happening. By opening up the space we have been able to make a small narrow area much more usable for this purpose.
Finally, we wanted to connect the kitchen directly to the garden. Therefore we have had bifold doors installed to enable direct access to the side garden of the house from the seating area.
See below my kitchen diner moodboard with my ideas for the whole space:
Jan 2020 Update
The final reveal post is now here! It’s taken a while but we are delighted with the finished result. Here is a sneak peak: