Okay, are you ready to meet our new house?! (Side note – did you know that “?!” has a name? It’s called the interrobang, which I think sounds hilarious.) This is going to be a super long post, but full of pictures!
If you follow me on Instagram (or you’re related to me) you’ve probably seen these spaces as we work on them. They’re a long way from done, but already look so different! The few months since we got the house have been crazy, so we haven’t been able to do as much as we wanted before moving in.
The layout of the house hasn’t changed drastically since it was built, way back in 1890-ish (still researching to nail the exact date). It was built as a two up, two down. So there are two main rooms on both the ground and first floors, divided by a very narrow staircase.
On the ground floor, the two original rooms are the living room to the front of the house and dining towards the rear. Back when the house was built, the dining was most likely the kitchen, with a scullery and toilet out the back. I found plans at our local council’s archives of a near identical house built on our street, which had them labelled such. Will I ever know for certain? Nope. But hey, I like to make uneducated guesses. (more…)
That’s right folks, the upcoming project that I alluded to a few weeks ago is our new house! We bought a house! I feel like a proper adult now…
Waaaaay back in March, we listed our flat on the market and started hunting for the perfect house. We debated a few areas and neighbourhoods, but in the end came back to the good ol’ London Borough of Bexley. Our new house is actually just around the corner from the flat!
When it came to the neighbourhood pros and cons, we looked at commute (we both work in London), schools (both for resale and in case we’re still living here by then), house prices (could we afford to live there), resale potential (could we make money) and the overall ‘feel’ of the neighbourhood. Some of the areas seemed amazing on paper but when we visited them and walked around… just didn’t feel right.
Some neighbourhoods were too ‘up-and-coming’ (to put it nicely). We knew the value could go up over the next 5-10 years but didn’t really feel comfortable living there. Others were too pricey (here’s looking at you Hither Green); we debated Sevenoaks, because we liked it’s ‘quintessential English’ feel, but the commute and prices just made it unsuitable.
So we sat down, talked through everywhere we had looked at and realised that we both actually liked living in Sidcup! It’s not that we were lazy and didn’t want to move – Sidcup has a lot going for it. I actually can’t understand why the market here isn’t more expensive!
Okay, just a simple update on the kitchen here (with a stupidly long post). I’m just trying to finish up a couple little projects, and possibly find a rug to fit the space, and then I’m calling it done! One thing that we finally have finished, is making all our cabinets match and look built in.
As I mentioned in the first kitchen saga post, our kitchen came with IKEA cabinets that were no longer available, and we had to replace the upper cabinets in order to add more storage. Now, we could have kept the lowers wood, as I’m a fan of a two tone kitchen, but all the white appliances sort of messed that up. My original plan with the kitchen had been to do a tuxedo kitchen with deep navy or green lower cabinets, and a white top. But, as our appliances were all white, you’d be left with half white, half colour. Not exactly the look I was going for. So, in an effort to make the kitchen feel brighter and larger, we went all white. Does that make any sense to anyone besides me? No? Okaaay…
So, that meant painting our lower cabinets white, but what about the upper ones? I could have colour matched IKEA’s SÄVEDAL doors, and then painted everything in our kitchen the same, but decided against it. See, every ceiling, door, and trim in our flat is painted All White by Farrow + Ball. If I wanted to use the IKEA white colour, then it would have meant repainting our doors and trim in the kitchen to this different white, and I didn’t want it to look different from the other rooms in the flat. (Richard wishes I had told him about the colour matching option…)
Am I crazy? Yes. But I also justify it because the finish on the doors was so smooth and machine-made looking, that all the built in trim with brushstrokes would have looked different. We would have had to paint the doors to make them all look the same, no matter which white we used.
Aaaaanyways. So in addition to painting all the wood doors and trim below, we had to paint all the new upper cabinets doors as well. That meant removing all the hinges and handles, cleaning everything of grease etc. and giving it all a light sanding. For the wood cabinets and trim, we used 3 coats of this primer, and then 2-3 coats of our Valspar paint in All White. For the upper cabinets, it took 2 coats primer, and then 2 coats paint. After the doors were up, I did a bit more sanding, and some touch up paint, as we had been painting on low surfaces and little bits of fluff kept getting caught in the paint.
Now came the fun part – making all the IKEA cabinets look built in. See, I’ve always been a huge fan of inset cabinetry, and wanted to try and give our bank of cabinets a similar look. This meant filling in the gaps all the way around the cabinets with wood, and trimming it all out.
To get the look I wanted, it meant lining up the trim with the cabinet doors, as opposed to the frames. So we added a piece of 21x21mm stripwood all around the cabinets, flush with the face of their frames. To install it, we simply screwed into the piece from inside the cabinets with a couple of wood screws. Not only did this give us a piece we could then attach the trim to, but allowed us to offset our next piece by a few milimeters in order to create a gap between the doors and our trim.
Okay, it’s been a quite a while since I updated you guys on the progress here in the kitchen. So long that I have actually been asked if it’s done yet (nope!). And as for where we”re at? Well, after Richard left for a month away due to work, kitchen progress sort of stalled. I ordered a bunch of stuff, but haven’t really made any progress.
As for what we have done since I last blogged about it? Well, we finally have a functioning kitchen again!
After we patched all the holes in the walls, and cleaned up from demolition, it was time to paint! We had chosen Barest Hush by Valspar to be the colour for our walls. We tested a couple of swatches, but Richard was worried they would be too dark, so we settled on this option. My goal was to have a grey tinted green that didn’t read too strong either way. As our living room is grey, I didn’t want the whole place to feel the same. But of course, I also didn’t want too bright of a colour, as I tend to prefer more muted walls. Let the colour come from the furnishings, in my humble opinion.
Valspar’s Barest Hush
For the cabinets and trim, we are sticking with our tried and true All White by Farrow & Ball, colour matched to Valspar paint. This time around we went with their premium paint, as it was the most scrubbable option. It also comes with a built in primer, so win-win! However, due to time we didn’t get around to painting the cabinets, just yet. That’s a job for another day. Or month… year… sigh. Procrastination is real folks.
Okay, so I’ve given you an overview of our plans for this kitchen, and what we’re hoping to accomplish. We thought it would be a relatively straightforward couple of days, but boy… were we wrong! Once we started demolition, we realized we had created quite the mess for ourselves.
Let me try and break down where we went awry.
oh look! It’s Richard’s hand!
So on our first day of demolition, we removed all of the upper cabinets, which also meant moving everything in those cupboards to our living room. Let me tell you, living in a kitchen/living room for about a week isn’t fun. Bleh. We also had to remove the range hood, IKEA GRUNDTAL pot racks off the wall, as well as anything living on the counter tops. We kept stuff in the lower cabinets, and didn’t bother removing the fridge etc., as none of that was changing besides paint.
range hood and stainless panels removed
Once everything was out of the room, we contemplated the tiling. Before we could paint or start putting up our new METOD cabinets, we would have to remove all the existing tiles. This was precisely the moment that things went wrong… (more…)