The Kitchen Refurb – Part 1

This is our kitchen (on a tidy day!) To put it into context, this Ikea kitchen had just been installed when we moved into our house 12 years ago now. When the house was renovated (which was just before we moved in) what had previously been a car port was turned into the kitchen, which runs the length of the house.

Having had the work done on the back of the house last year, we needed to do a bit of tweaking to the kitchen. The trouble was that most of the kitchen was still fine. We didn’t want to replace the work surfaces as we liked them and I think they were quite pricey. Plus anything that we replaced them with would be of an inferior quality. Nor did we want to risk moving the huge surface over the island, as no-one could guarantee that it wouldn’t crack.

Also, because of the shape of the kitchen, the design couldn’t change hugely. All that we would have done would have been to swap the cupboards for drawers – but that would have made for a whole lot of very expensive drawers. So after going around the houses (and the streets, the town, the city and the country too) we decided on the following:

  • To have the tall bank of cupboards removed and replaced with different, equally tall cupboards, which would work better for us in terms of storage i.e. we would have a bigger fridge, an improved larder cupboard, a built in microwave and two extra cupboards on the end;
  • To replace the door fronts with handless doors, with the ones along the front of the island possibly being in a different colour to the rest;
  • To change the plinths for ones with led lights in them;
  • To remove the mdf splash back (which I painted exceptionally badly) and replace it with tiles;
  • To get the kitchen decorated.

Now you know what a fan I am of making things up as I go along. Well that’s what’s happening with the kitchen too – other than the design of the cupboards which clearly had to be decided upon in advance.

The things that are still up in the air are – the colour of the replacement kitchen doors, the colour of the paint and whether to paper one the big wall opposite the kitchen island or not.

The one thing that have been decided upon are the tiles. Remember the round the houses comment from earlier? Well that applies to the tiles too.

These are the sort of encaustic tiles that I really love. This photograph was taken in Guernsey last year at newly opened restaurant. So the search for something similar began, albeit for the walls.

Tiles are pricey! I loved the Fired Earth tiles (who doesn’t)?

In particular the colours in the Toulouse range really appealed to me but at £168.53/metre they were probably more than we wanted to pay. Plus at only 20cm x 20cm there would have been a lot of tiles in quite a small space, which could have looked a little “bitty”. And they failed to send a sample to me. Tut tut.

The other thought that I had (I had quite a few thoughts) was that if they were in a space that was relatively free from clutter, for example in a shower, they would be fine but once they had a toaster, a breadmaker, utensils, bottles of oil and all the other kitchen detritus in front of them, they might just look messy and put me on edge. But I still really like them…..

So then I looked to the Henley tile at Topps tiles. At £44.40 per metre they were a better price but at 45cm x 45 cm they were too large for the space and would have been taller than the stainless steel splash back behind the cooker – which could have been changed but (I couldn’t be arsed!)

The Berkley also featured in my deliberations but as it too was 45cmx45cm, it was too tall for the space.

Then I read about the Laura Ashley tiles at tons of tiles but they weren’t quite right. So then I thought about tiles laid in a Herringbone pattern (too much waste and difficult because of them not going to the top of the wall) then I liked the wild blossom tile from Topps (although in seagrass)…

..but the family gave them the thumbs down. However the shape of the tiles really appealed and at 20cm x 50cm they were the perfect size. So what to do? Keep on looking of course.

Well next I found another brand that I liked – Ca Pietre. I’ve linked to the patterned encaustic tiles because there are some great choices. These are some of my favourite designs (from top to bottom, mixed eye, Darcy, Lily pad and origami).

I didn’t think that the samples would  reach me in time but with two bathrooms that need sorting, these are definitely on my list for future reference.

And then I finally went full circle and chose exactly the same tiles that I chose for our utility room in the summer. The tiles I first thought that I would go for but which I discounted because I thought that I ought to choose something different. And the reason that I chose them? Because they ticked the boxes of having a geometric print that I liked (and which the family didn’t object to) of being textured, reflective, grey and the right size and price – just like they did when I chose them the first time around. (I am turning into my mother!)

This picture is from the Topps website and shows them in powder blue

The Attingham tiles come in three different colours (mist, seagrass, powder blue), they are 45cm x15cm, cost £45 per sq metre and there are five different designs in one box (or they can just be bought plain). Really I’m a commitment phobe when it comes to something too distinctive – unless, like wallpaper or paint, it can be changed pretty easily. So I get that these seem a bit boring compared to the encaustic ones but they are tried and tested.

I have to say that if I never see another tile in my life, I really won’t mind. Maybe Mr SG can choose the bathroom ones instead.

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