Ok this post has been a long time coming. I’m going to tell you everything about our kitchen renovation and what I learnt along the way. We had never renovated before so it was a steep learning curve but it was a successful renovation and we had a beautiful finished product. And just to refresh your memory we had an old kitchen at the front of the house, knocked down a few walls at the back of the house and put a new kitchen out there.
First up we found a kitchen company. I had a clear picture of what I wanted – my kitchen inspiration picture and I found that by knowing the layout that I was working with and my style it made the whole process much easier. You really need to have a clear idea of your style and finished product before you start the process. Pinterest and magazines are a huge help. We used Kitchenworks of Belrose who were just amazing. Michael the owner is a real character and designs a great kitchen at a very competitive price. In fact I didn’t shop around. I was so impressed with the price he gave and his service was outstanding. He’d been designing and building kitchens with his brother and they learnt from their Dad. I knew I was working with experienced people.
We also took advantage of a special offer and paid around $17k for the cabinetry. We chose very simple white cabinets with a traditional edge. There are little extras like $500 for the rip out of the old kitchen and $500 for installation of the new kitchen but you know these costs up front and nothing was hidden. We got a clear timeline of when everything was happening and he organised the plumber, tiler and we used the builder’s electrician.
I chose Snow for the caesarstone and was not disappointed. I wanted to keep it all very classic and timeless and a few years ago I would have chosen something with more contrast in it. Now the caesarstone guy does a great price, just $3,700 for all of the caesarstone including the 3m double island and we’re talking nice thick caesarstone. Snow does show up stains and marks easily but gumption becomes your best friend and a glass cleaner gives you a streak free finish. Every little mark or stain came out with gumption! Get yourself some.
Well don’t you love them? Not all subway tiles are created equal. We went to Hardware & General tile shop and they had a very thin basic subway tile and that was it. I was very disappointed. I only had a small area to tile and I wanted a shinier thicker tile. So I went top of the line italian subway tiles from Tiles by Kate (Manly Vale in Sydney). They came in under $400 but I still have a box and half leftover. And compared to the whole kitchen price they were well worth it. They are uneven so they reflect light beautifully. Money well spent.
I think I lost serious sleep over cabinet and door handles. I really wanted traditional little pull handles but the reality is that you then need knobs for cupboard doors. But I’m a matchy matchy kind of girl and I knew this would drive me crazy having knobs and pull handles all in the one kitchen. You can pick up cabinet knobs for $3-$5. I really wanted something substantial so I found this amazing store in Alexandria. =They didn’t have the handle I wanted (Brionne which are made in France) but showed me this one and I just fell in love with them. Now we’re talking $17 each. You’ll find them here. They look and feel substantial, are easy to clean and really complement the kitchen. I’d use them again if I had to. Knobs came from Mother of Pearl & Sons Trading in the PYD building in Alexandria.
Now the tap was always going to be something big and classic. But what finish, like the handles it kept me up at night and I’m not just saying it. I mean it. Losing sleep over the finish of the tap then I’d ask people for advice and end up at square 1 again. I was in love with Perrin & Rowe but didn’t have a stockist near me and found that Nicolazzi taps were sold through restorations online. I didn’t see the tap in person but ordered online and just at the right time since I received 15% off the tap. I went petit mont blanc handles and when the tap arrived it was love at first sight. In the end I got the standard chrome finish and it’s stunning all over. Just beautiful. With quite a plain kitchen it becomes a statement piece. You’re looking at about $945 not on sale which can sound like a lot when you can get tap and sink packages for half the price. Restoration online is a great online store if you love traditional.
And you can’t have a tap without a sink. I went undermount sink and remember that Barefoot Contessa had said go for a big double sink (also known as a butlers sink) as you can hide dishes and things and no one will ever know. She was right. I’ll never go for a smaller sink or one with a divide again. It’s a Franke sink and a real stunnner. It’s big. There is no denying that but it’s lovely. You’re looking at around $950 for the sink. Now someone did ask why didn’t I get the stainless steel drainer to the side of the sink. If you’re going to build a huge island as the centrepiece of your kitchen you want it to be stunning and able to serve food, sit around and so on. The undermount sink is just perfect for a kitchen island.
For the rangehood I know that the style is big, stainless steel and on show but that wasn’t going to happen in my kitchen. We found a 900mm slide out rangehood made by Robin Hood and it’s perfect as it’s concealed and very hamptons style. These aren’t expensive and you’ll expect to pay around $200-300.
This is a freestanding Glem gas oven (just gas, no electricity) and I loved it. You can roast 2 chooks at the same time, a couple of trays of cookies and more. It’s 900mm wide and a dream to use. I picked this up on sale at Harvey Norman and while I wouldn’t shop there again (who could forget the drama) I do love the oven. And a good price. You can pay a lot more for a freestanding oven but again we knew we were selling and had a budget to stick to. From memory it was under $2000.
You might remember I had the lovely dulux consultant out to pick colours. Best thing I ever did. We settled on Dulux vanilla quake 50% (which means half strength) with Dulux Vivid White for cornices, ceilings and skirtings. The cabinets were a vivid white so it all matched beautifully
table and chairs
we were supposed to be pick up a bargain table and chair setting. But retro daddy chose an expensive one in the end. We saved money on the chairs and stools by buying them at Ikea (Ingolf range of dining chairs and stools) and splurged on thr dining table made from reclaimed wood from Alfresco Emporium in Collaroy. Just go there for the eye candy. I love the table and it will always stay in the family. It’s just something that I’ll never want to get rid of.
I kind of wish I had chosen a different floor company. No not kind of wish, I do wish. I was very disappointed with the service and quality of finish. Not so much of the floorboards but the skirtings. 3 cracked skirting boards from front to back, cracked right through. The painter said it was the worst he’d seen and the floor company finished the job and wanted payment. I refused to pay the balance of $10k until they were fixed and we are talking one week before the house went on the market.
They also nailed the skirtings in rather than use ‘liquid nail’ and didn’t nail them completely in so we had nails poking out. It was a real mess. I still must write a letter of complaint to them but personally I would steer clear of the company. Just not worth the stress. If I was doing floors again then I would look at other people’s floors, ask the builder or kitchen company and go from there. We learnt the hard way.
So after all of that saga you just want to know what the floors are. They are Boral Silkwood Timber in Blackbutt. An engineered floating floor, so it’s timber but not hardwood floors. Hardwood floors were totally going to blow the budget and again we knew we weren’t staying in the house and selling afterwards. We had a step in the kitchen area so we had to refloor the new kitchen area and then because the front of the house was original cypress pine we had to extend the flooring right through but I’m glad we did that as it created a great flow through from the moment you entered the house and walked right through to the back.
we put fluroscent downlights throughout the new area on the advice of the electrician. They don’t overheat and although you can’t have dimmers with them they are economical and looked great. We had huge problems with overheating downlights in our old house so were happy to try something different.
The large pendant lights were a real find from Light Style a lighting store in Belrose. I didn’t find the pendants I wanted in any of the large lighting chains. These came from a wholesaler in Victoria and retail for about $270 each. You can spent at least $800 on large pendants elsewhere so I was thrilled to find these. They have adjustable poles and really finished the kitchen. I knew pendant lights would be part of the whole hamptons look and these did not disappoint.
I loved our builder just like our kitchen company. Gary Cole who is based on the northern beaches. He did a great job and delivered on cost. He gives you an accurate quote but a fixed quote so there are no nasty surprises. He does a very high quality finish and gets you involved in the process. Even when I was standing there with a blank expression because I had absolutely no bloody idea what he was talking about, well he’d explain it all to me and tell me what he thought was best and I’d generally go with it.
Now building was the biggest chunk of our budget coming in at over $38k. This included the removal of 4 walls, an ensuite, replacing an old brown sliding door with french doors, installing 2 beams into the ceiling and ripping out the entire ceiling and putting a new one in. We could have saved money if we left bits of wall in or had 2 different ceiling heights BUT I always wanted one big room. I can spot other renovations where bits of wall have been kept in. Gary does much much bigger projects than ours but he always made us feel like we were an important client and he’d be the first person I’d call in. He also put in a wall and door upstairs to turn a rumpus room into a 4th bedroom and did a great job with that too
ahhh budget. Every renovation needs one. We had a budget blowout due entirely to the floors. We didn’t get an estimate of the flooring cost until after we had started to go ahead with ordering the kitchen.
Now the budget is I think the most stressful part of the renovation because you need to find money…..somewhere.
just the flooring company. Everything else went so smoothly and to schedule and we were really disappointed with the finish of the skirtings. But you learn and for a first renovation and that to be the only thing that went wrong, well I think we did well! Oh and a second power point near the stove. I put one in and really should have put one in on the other side for my Kitchen Aid.
what will I do with my next kitchen?
call me crazy but yes I am already thinking of the next kitchen but it’s going to be at least 3 – 5 years off. The new house has a large eat in kitchen and I’m actually going to keep it as an eat in kitchen rather than open plan because the house is large enough to do it and I like the traditional layout of the house with the kitchen at the back.
I hope that answers your questions! If you’ve got one just ask. I just love the kitchen we created and felt very proud when we left the house that I left a little something on the house that was me. It’s a good feeling.