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Kitchen Remodelling - From Basic Design To Small Scale Luxury

Updated on May 02, 2016
Kitchen remodelling
Kitchen remodelling

Kitchen remodelling video

Remodeling a kitchen is everybody's nightmare. Not only because of the distraction that such an enterprise entails but also and especially because of the economic effort which is usually associated with kitchen redesign.

Yet, acknowledging that the kitchen is an indisputable focal point, where the family meets, the common ground, the market place of the household, it would be a mistake not to consider the need for its design paramount.

And while we can't undermine the financial commitment we must also realize that kitchen makeover is a very important if not the most important investment we make in our property.

The idea of remodeling our kitchen is often associated with the perception of a beautiful, inviting, stylish room, and rightly so. But while the visual outcome is without a doubt very significant, we must not forget the importance of aiming to achieve functionality and purpose.

When a year ago we put our house for sale I couldn't help but look at my kitchen as a dated, slightly shabby space, screaming for modernization and refurbishment. A space where I could cook fairly comfortably but could not accommodate the family needs.

After a few weeks on the market things changed and we decided to stay two more years before selling to relocate. It was then that I decided that I could not live with my kitchen as it was any longer and started planning my kitchen redesign.

The old kitchen
The old kitchen

Planning Considerations

Before I even thought about how I wanted it I concentrated on what I wanted for my new kitchen and why.

First of all the layout of the actual available space in the old kitchen was extremely limited.

Two of the four walls where constrained by a small window at the end, and a large window and glass door on the right wall. This of course obstructed any possibility of a radical remodeling, leaving me with no choice either than change the units and worktop, yet maintaining the same unfriendly footprint.

It therefore became evident that if I wanted to achieve an exceptional renovation I had to take into consideration the need for structural changes.

My kitchen measures L3.50m x W2.70m, which I think it's a fairly standard size for older houses. It's not huge, but with a little bit of imagination I knew I could attain so much more than what I had.

Consequently I decided that first of all I had to draw a scaled floor-plan of the space, ignoring the position of the windows and door except the door into the dining room. This would enable me to visualize the potential space I had available and what kind of design I could achieve with such a space.

Of course at the same time I had to consider the need for light and access to the back garden.

The most logical solution within these limitations was to brick up the existing windows and glass door and open French doors at the end onto the back garden. This not only provided me with two full walls to play with but also with a natural focus point.

The scaled drawing also allowed me to plan and satisfy the long list of needs and functionality our new kitchen was going to provide us with.

We soon decided that to keep the budget as low as possible we would keep the existing services where they where and design around them. Therefore sink and cooker would remain in the same position, limiting the plumbing expense to the strictly necessary.

We also wanted to keep the existing American fridge, which, after consideration, was already in the right position. What we needed to improve was more cupboard and worktop space, which now, with two full walls was a realistic possibility.

We also wanted a breakfast bar, which not only worked as a table but would also increase the working area.

The rough draft of our design was now in place.

It was time to start the works!



Dismantling The Kitchen
Dismantling The Kitchen

Structural Work

Before the builders arrived we dismantled the kitchen, which left us living in a total mess, cooking in the lounge with our camping equipment and sharing our dining room with a monster refrigerator.

I cannot deny that this side of the redesigning process is long, distressing, and highly destructive, but if you keep in mind the final outcome, I think it's worth the pain.

Window and glass door bricked up
Window and glass door bricked up
French doors installed
French doors installed

With the builders on site the real destruction began.

In time, we seemed to have adjusted to the noise and dust and when finally the windows and the glass door were bricked up and the French doors put in place we started to see the end of the tunnel and the beginning of the real fun...The reconstruction!!!

Planning the cupboards

While the electrician, the plumber and eventually the plasterer worked shoulder to shoulder to complete the specialist side of the renovation process, I concentrated on planning which cupboards were needed and where.

Luckily I am a trained carpenter, therefore I could not only design the actual kitchen but also fit it myself, which has surely saved us a few pounds.

We chose and bought the kitchen units from IKEA and I must say they are very easy to put together and the instructions are fairly straightforward, making it possible for anybody with a little bit of DIY experience to attempt and succeed in building them.

Going back to my planning, I had already decided to position the breakfast bar at the end of the sink, forming an L-shape to give enough space to accommodate 2 stools and leave enough room for movement. Also, having renovated the bathroom a few months before the kitchen, and having relocated the washing machine there, we were also able to benefit from the extra space.

With this in mind I started measuring and then picking and choosing the best unit options among the many offered.

Main Cupboards Fixed Position

I believe that there are some cupboards, which are essential and can only be placed in fixed strategic positions.

They are:

  • Units next to the cooker (floor and wall)
  • Unit under the sink
  • Unit above the sink

Floor unit next to the cooker
Floor unit next to the cooker

It is essential that next to where we cook we have all the necessary equipment to make the task as smooth and easy as possible.

That includes frying pans, sauce pans, oven dishes.

The floor unit I placed on the right side of the cooker is a very ingenious one. It has 3 drawers of which 2 very deep ones. This not only can store a great amount of pots and pans but it makes it effortless for us to find what we want without digging in a pile of stacked crockery.

Floor unit next to the cooker storage space
Floor unit next to the cooker storage space

The wall units next to the cooker have a different function but still I believe essential.

Wall unit next to cooker
Wall unit next to cooker

Wall units are always less deep than floor units therefore it is a good idea to keep in there all the basic ingredients we use in our cooking.

Ingredients such as:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil
  • Spices
  • Flour
  • Sauces

Wall unit next to cooker storage space
Wall unit next to cooker storage space

On the on the other side of the cooker I placed 2 floor units and 1 large wall unit.

Floor units next to the cooker
Floor units next to the cooker

The 2 floor units both have a valuable function.

Floor units for cutlery, small appliances and fresh food
Floor units for cutlery, small appliances and fresh food

The first unit has 3 drawers of which 1 is a normal size drawer where we store all the cutlery while the other 2 drawers are quite deep, allowing us to store small appliances and various tools.

While the second unit provides us with baskets drawers where we keep fresh vegetables and bread.

Large wall unit with glass doors
Large wall unit with glass doors

For the wall unit above we chose a large unit with glass doors to lighten the overall design.

Wall unit for jars and mugs
Wall unit for jars and mugs

This unit is dedicated to everything breakfast (tea, coffee, sugar and cereal) together with various jugs and mugs.

Its position is very handy since the coffee machine and the kettle are on the worktop underneath and the breakfast bar is just opposite.

Finally, as far as placing cupboards in a strategic position, I can't not include the sink units.

Sink unit
Sink unit
Space for rubbish and recycling
Space for rubbish and recycling

Right below the sink we choose a unit, which has a very deep drawer, allowing us to store rubbish and recycling as well as various cleaning products.

While above the sink we placed a series of small wall units.

Units above the sink
Units above the sink
Wall unit storing crockery
Wall unit storing crockery

These units house all our crockery with plenty of space to spare.

The centre unit also has a draining shelf with a removable tray, which stops any water falling onto the sink as well as making cleaning it very straight forward.


Other Units And Breakfast Bar

Having positioned the main units in what I believe are strategic locations, we were lucky to still have space for 2 small floor units.

Units next to the dishwasher
Units next to the dishwasher

In these units we used the available space to store tinned food, cookery books and the many bits and bobs, which we normally keep "just in case" and always accumulate in what I call the "messy cupboard" to disappear from view and use.

Food and "messy cupboard"
Food and "messy cupboard"

The whole ensemble is finally completed with the addition of the breakfast bar and 2 stools.

Breakfast bar and stools
Breakfast bar and stools
Breakfast bar worktop space
Breakfast bar worktop space

The breakfast bar is not a large one.

It measures L1.10m x D0.60m, yet it provides plenty of space for comfortable seating, offering, at the same time a very useful extra worktop space.


Bringing the kitchen outside

Having created such a comfortable and stylish space and having opened up into the garden with French doors, we couldn't not consider and execute the addition of an awning to bring the indoors outdoors and visually enlarge the space.

Awning outside the kitchen
Awning outside the kitchen

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© 2016 Emanuela Suraci-Neve

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