Where do you start designing a Kitchen?
By now you are probably aware that I write my blog to share my passion and DIY experience with you in the hope that it might encourage and inspire some of you out there but this post comes with a bit of a disclaimer. I'm sort of writing this post for my own benefit. I have to admit that my journey to realising my dream kitchen has been a lengthy and difficult process and putting it down on 'paper' has really clarified my thoughts. I always find it therapeutic putting my thoughts and design ideas in writing but I also love getting your thoughts and opinions too! We are getting ready to finally fit the kitchen after almost 6 months without one (!) and although I have a vision for the room it's still proving difficult to make those final decisions and nail the design. Here's how the room looked last year in August and then in October from the same angle...
If you recall our renovation which started back in August last year (go take a read here for more info and the final reveal) the actual layout of our kitchen space hasn't actually changed that much from before the building work. But we had to rip out the old kitchen in order to insert a 6m steel frame to support the first floor expansion. We were lucky that the kitchen had already been extended last century and the only changes to the space is that a pillar has been moved to the other side of the room to facilitate shelves rather than breaking up the wall of cupboards. The ceiling has been lifted to be uniform throughout but it’s still not that high at only 2.3 metres. The full floor plan is 6m x 3.5m with a large arch connecting it to the reception room. The sliding doors to the garden and large window over the sink were already in place and there was no possibility of sky lights as our master bedroom is plonked right on top. It's funny how in some ways having the same size of space really helps imagine the new kitchen and is facilitating the design process. Here's the previous space that we managed to put up with since we moved in FIVE years ago - I do not miss one centimetre of those lemon cupboards and green tiles!
So where do I start when planning a kitchen?
I’ve been pinning images from Pinterest for a couple of years now and also saving inspiration on Instagram (did you know you could even do that?!) so I have a rough idea where I’m heading. I think this is a really important place to start as I always say “How do you want the room to feel?” and you need to know this before choosing colours and materials. For my own kitchen I really want it to feel cosy and relaxing as well as have a luxurious feel across both the cooking and dining area. I don’t want it to feel ultra-modern and would like hints of a farmhouse kitchen harking to the 1930s history of the building so I'm aiming for a mix between the two. And yes you’ve guessed it, I’m totally going to the dark side so expect some dark greys and green to feature in this room! I know dark walls are not everyone's cup of tea but if you're a bit unsure whether to try it or not then please read this article from the amazingly inspiring Karen Knox at Making Spaces (who interestingly also had a previous career in dance).
Without any further ado, here are the kitchens I'm coveting and using to inspire my own uniquely designed kitchen. These first images are from the epitome of English Kitchen creation, DeVOL Kitchens who have designed many kitchens that I would move in to straight away!
Yes there is definitely a theme - various shades of blue and green which are my colours of choice for any room. Read my first ever post to find out why these colours are important to me and to my own personal style! Coming up now are the images from Instagram homes that have also influenced my love of colour and dark hues in kitchens.
So what do I know I want?
Well here is my wish-list so I can start creating the kitchen of my dreams (on a budget!):
- Shaker doors painted in a dark colour - cabinets sourced from Ikea and custom painted doors to match the walls from Naked Doors
- I will modernise the space with an American style fridge-freezer with water plumbed in for easy water/ice access
- Range cooker in black or dark grey from Rangemaster
- We are going to highlight a structural quirk and put in a little bar area with strip lighting, a tiled background and glass shelves for cocktails galore!
- To incorporate the interior beam from the steels that had to support the upstairs extension we want to fit scaffolding boards as long shelves and have curated aesthetic pieces on display. There will also be table lamps on the shelves that can be operated from the main light switches
- On that note we will use light switches from Buster and Punch to match the rest we have in our house
- As for lighting as well as spots in the ceiling and pendant lights over the dining table and island, we have planned wall lights and as already mentioned table lamps on the shelves and down-lights in the bar area. Oh and strip lighting under the wall-hung cupboards. Sounds like overkill? Well Mr Skirting who is a lighting wizard (he runs an amazing video production company in London and is a Director of photography, manipulating light is his life’s work) and basically it gives us the options to control for cooking, entertaining, family meals and even parties (yes friends invites will be in the post/inbox as soon as it's finished!)
Any other definites?
- We are planning an engineered wood floor (we had problems with solid wood in our previous flat) that will extend into the whole downstairs to replace the old laminate and stained living room carpet. We're hoping to source parquet or a chevron pattern one because we love the design and two because it fits with original 1930s aesthetic
- I want a white marble worktop (which will definitely not be happening due to finances and ease of use) so am currently thinking that Minerva might be a good alternative. I’m so grateful to Kimberley from Swoonworthy for her thoughts on that especially after having it for a year and hearing how it's lasted. The counter will continue as an upstand and splash-back behind the cooker.
- I've always wanted a Belfast sink to remind me of home and because it will add to the farmhouse-feel
- Not completely sure on what artwork yet but I think that will be easier to plan when the room is completed
So here it is, my dark and moody farmhouse kitchen moodboard...
Colour my kitchen!
I know that I want dark colours in there but I am also aware that the ceiling is quite low and is a very dark room anyway in spite of the double doors and large window. The other consideration is that the kitchen leads onto the other reception room which is earmarked to have a Mad-Men inspired 60’s feel so the colours need to connect between the spaces in some way. I'm pretty convinced about using dark grey and green and maybe a little bit of pink as a highlight colour in the tea-towels and table cloth for example. Although I’ve forever been a fan of the dark blue/navy kitchen which feature heavily on my Pinterest Kitchen board, it's become such a trend that I'm a bit fed up of seeing it everywhere.
The following Farrow and Ball colours are what I've narrowed my search down to. I've been a fan of Downpipe for years and can't wait to finally use it! It will feature behind the scaffolding board shelves and also in the bar area. I love the drama this colour adds to a room. Note it looks much darker on the wall than it does below. I think Green Smoke is a lovely dark, mellow, chalky green that will work well alongside Downpipe. If I was brave enough I would use Vardo (instead of Green Smoke) for something a bit more fun and vibrant. Remember the walls AND the cupboards will be painted the same colour...
To gold or not to gold?
My final dilemma is the hardware and taps. I’m leaning towards gold for a bit of a luxe feel but the thing that is holding me back is that the original kitchen which I hated had gold accessories and I'm not sure I want anything reminding me of that horrible space! The other problem is that I’m worried I might get bored of it. It’s become such a trend and maybe it will look dated in a few years? Although the fridge and range cooker will have stainless steel I’m not worried about the mixed metals as I’ve seen them work in many other kitchens. As for the cupboard knobs or pulls again my heart is set on Buster and Punch items (seriously I never thought I would ever call such things sexy!) but short term I might make my own leather pulls until I can save up for my dream handles.
MY Biggest headache designing our kitchen...
Currently our biggest dilemma is nailing the kitchen cupboard layout design. We (well actually more accurately Mr Skirting) has spend hours (probably well over a day in total) pondering the layout and trying to choose the right cupboards to fit the space using the Ikea Kitchen Planner (free to download but not the most user-friendly software). We are just a couple of centimetres off having a symmetrical layout and as well as how the proportions work for the space, the other massive consideration is the function. Where will the bins go? What about those ten thousand tagines we bought in Morocco? Then cleaning products and the fact that some things like herbs need to be close to the hob. Anyway after a lot of consideration, I think we are finally there there and are planning a trip to Ikea later this week to make sure we haven't missed any nifty tricks. We’re using the ikea kitchen builder and John is installing it himself so we can cut a few costs but I guess if you can afford it, get a kitchen planner!
Well I have to admit that I do feel better after writing that (sorry it was a bit longer and ramble-y than I'd anticipated) but I hope that the cathartic insight into my thought process helps you with designing your own kitchen. Maybe you're reading this from the smug distance of having already completed your kitchen renovation and have some tips or insights into what MUST go into a kitchen. Would love to hear from you if that is the case so please comment below in the comments section. If you want to keep in touch to see our progress and see the final reveal (hopefully in a few months!) then follow me on Instagram or Facebook (all link at the bottom of the page).
And please wish me luck for the trip to Ikea, I'm literally quivering at the thought that I may get lost and will never leave...
Yours in colour and creativity,