Before & After – The kitchen!!

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If you’d have told me a month ago that I’d be writing this post, I would not have believed you. I would have wanted to believe you, but I would still not have believed you! Because after receiving quotes to do up the kitchen with a total price tag of around $12,000, I did not think it would be a financial reality to do up our kitchen to the level I wanted to for at least another 5 years. But, sometimes life surprises us. And I do not take well to being told “no”… it tends to spur on my creativity and make me even more determined to achieve something. So achieve a new kitchen I did – for under $1,000 for that matter. And it is for this reason that I am blogging a DIY finish completely out of order – over a year after we finished the other rooms in the house that I still haven’t blogged about – because I am so excited to have finished my kitchen. Well, excited is an understatement really.

I am completely and utterly smitten in love with my new kitchen and I just had to show you what we achieved this week.

Let’s start with the before…

When we purchased our house, a little over 2 years ago, the kitchen looked like this:

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It was dark. And dirty. And I knew it would not inspire me to spend time there to cook.

After we bought the house I spent 7 weeks renovating the house full-time, before we moved in. In the kitchen the only changes we made were to clean, re-handle the cupboards, we splurged and installed a dishwasher, we took down the net curtains and we painted the walls. So for the past 2 years our kitchen has looked like this:

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After we painted the walls and re-handled the cupboards, I did definitely like it better. But I still always hated all of the fake wood. And the bench top, floor and fake wood were all different colour tones that in my head did not gel together. After 2 years living there it was the only part of the house that did not yet look like the picture I had in my head of how I wanted the house to look. And that was all down to cost – kitchens are (usually) expensive to do up.

But in many other ways I loved my kitchen; I love the layout – it is a very functional kitchen. There’s lots of good storage and bench space. We eat most of our meals at the breakfast bar together as a family, rather than going through to the more formal table. And it’s a great space for my friends to sit and chat to me when they come over, while I prepare the food. So apart from the look, there wasn’t really anything I wanted to change – the layout and appliances all work great for us. Which is why I asked my local cabinet maker (whose prices are very competitive) for a quote to replace my kitchen exactly how it is now, but with a nice stone look bench top and gloss white cupboard doors, in exactly the same layout. Well, that quote came in at $10,000, and the new floor quote was a little over $2,000.
Ouch!
Needless to say that idea went on the back burner.

Then fast forward a few weeks, Mr Flutter and I visited the home show. We came across a stall by Fenwick Vintages who sell chalk paint. If you are not familiar with chalk paint, then it is not made from chalk, or for making chalk boards. It is a different type of paint from latex paint which has a matt finish similar to the feel of a chalk board, which is where it gets its name from, but you can use it to paint almost any surface without sanding, or priming, or much prep at all. It comes in a variety of pretty colours and promises to be awesome in every way. There are several products you can use over the top to protect it and give more of a glossy finish. I do not know why I had not considered it before, because a friend of mine uses it to paint furniture for her business and raves about it. So as soon as I saw the chalk paint stand at the show it was like a lightbulb went off in my head, I remembered her raving about it, and my excitement started to build! When I told Mr Flutter my idea he was a little skeptical at first. But I talked him into us purchasing a can of paint to try on a spare cupboard we had from when we put the dishwasher in. I figured if it didn’t work I’d use it for something else – I can always find things to paint white. But I knew if it worked then we could just change our bench top and it would save us a lot of money.

And it worked.
Oh the excitement!!

But I still did not feel like that was quite the whole answer – I really wanted my cupboard doors to look like an old country kitchen. Or a beach cottage – with detail in the middle of the door. So I spent all that evening on google looking for ideas of how I could add detail to the middle of the doors to add character.

In all my searching I found this truly inspirational kitchen makeover:

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Melissa of Shabby Love describes how she used beaded wallpaper to create the texture on the front of the cupboard doors. Take a look at her bright orange before shots here. Melissa completely transformed her kitchen and made it beautiful, and the photos inspired me that I could do it too. So back to Google I went, to try and find a source of beaded wallpaper in NZ. Success; I found some available at Bunnings. In the process of looking around Bunnings I also found a product that you could use to paint your bench top. I just about died of excitement at this point! When I had looked 2 years ago for a similar product, after reading about lots of US bloggers using it, I could not find it anywhere. So I was over the moon when I could find it was available now.

The next day Mr Flutter and I went back to the home show, purchased more paint and stopped by Bunnings on the way home to pick up the rest of the supplies we needed from there. Including a product to paint the bench top – which cost exactly 10% of the price of the new bench I was quoted. Happy happy days!

Neil and I literally worked on the project for every available minute all week (until at least midnight or 1am each night after work) to get it done as quickly as possible, and this is the end result…

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Just in case you’ve forgotten what it looked like before:

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The photos don’t really do it justice because I took them with my iPhone. But I hopefully you’ll agree that the transformation was pretty dramatic.

The bench top has the most subtle tiny bits of glitter in – it’s really quite beautiful. The detail on the cupboards was a pig of a thing to do – it was so time consuming and tedious, and called for such precision. It was not helped by the fact that every single one of our cupboards is different widths and called for different measurements. But now that it’s all finished I’m really pleased we persevered and stuck with it – the detail looks like it was always there and really makes it shine.

I have already had a ton of questions about the products we used on Facebook and Instagram, so I plan to write a blog post with my tips and product information tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions too and I will try to answer them.

Right now I’m off to watch the final of Reno Rumble. That programme (and The Block) have a lot to answer for lol.

Blog ending

10 COMMENTS

  1. It looks awesome…what a great job.
    We are about to rip out our kitchen for a complete redo …..I am kicking myself I have taken all the doors off before I did a photo for the before and after .

    You must be living your new spaces. X

  2. Holy Shnikeys!! What a beautiful job you guys did and I bet they have to pry you outta that kitchen now!! lol

    You all must be so excited and you both deserve it, i’ve been following your renovation and taking notes for my own renovation someday ….ahem

    Well enjoy your new home!! God Bless you all

    hugs…..Regina

  3. Kat, it looks absolutely great. You two have done a great job!!
    And SOOOO on time, as I am about to do stuff to our kitchen. I do not want to spend gazillions of our hard-earned money, when the place is functional and we are not changing the layout, nor do I want it to go to landfill unnecessarily. We have ordered the new bench top. However, I was going to just paint the cupboards and re-handle them (we have handles like your old ones!), but now I have seen your beaded wallpaper, I am going to re-think…
    Questions:
    was it very fiddly to put on the wallpaper and then the small timber framing?
    Did you glue the wood on?
    Did you use ESP on the cupboards first?
    Did you spray paint the chalk paint, or use a brush?
    Thank you so much for your time and all the best with your next blog!

  4. This is absolutely gorgeous! What a fabulous job you have done! Your use of white thought it your house is very inspiring for my own diy efforts! Can’t wait to see more

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