Okay, I promised a proper kitchen post with before photos and all… so here goes! If you’re following me on Instagram (and check the stories) then you will see we have already begun work on this space.

Increasing storage in a tiny kitchen | Hello Victoria

welcome to our tiny kitchen!

When we had just moved in, we discussed how we could make the kitchen space work best for us. First up, would be to add some hanging storage on the wall, for all of our pots and pans. I don’t have any photos of the kitchen before we put them up, but you can see below how we’re currently using it. We installed two rows of IKEA’s GRUNDTAL rail system, using the top row for pots and pans, and the bottom for pantry goods. One basket contains bread, another potatoes and onions, and the third is a fruit basket.

Those three baskets took me ages to find (it’s hard to find an open weave basket that’s fairly flat) and are actually beach bags that IKEA was selling in their limited HEMTRAKT collection (I just cut off the handles). And yes, we bought waaay more hooks than we needed, but we still have to buy more pots.

Increasing storage in a tiny kitchen | Hello Victoria

After adding some hanging storage, we needed to address the cupboard situation. The ceilings are high enough to accommodate another row of cabinetry, so we thought – why not double our storage?

look at all that height above the cabinets!

Speaking of storage, before we had moved in, I pointed out to Richard that there were no drawers in the kitchen. I mean, sure… it’s a tiny kitchen, but no drawers?! Where am I supposed to put my cutlery? Who designed this space?!?

We thought about adding some drawers under the cabinets, as the trim below meant we had the space and false fronts to use. I even bought some fully-extending hardware for them! But that was back when we thought we were going to leave the existing cabinets, and simply add three more above. Oh, how those plans have changed…

Increasing storage in a tiny kitchen | Hello Victoria

our dream kitchen includes hiding the microwave in a cabinet

Basically, the cabinets that are here are from IKEA. I measured them and found that IKEA still carried 60cm wide cabinets, and assumed we could simply add another row above. IKEA doesn’t make the same doors anymore, but that worked in my favor. I wanted to paint the cabinets white anyway, so this was a great excuse. We could get flat cabinet fronts, and add trim to make them match our existing shaker style. I’m pretty sure you can guess where this is going…

When I measured the cabinets initially, I had measured their width and height, but not the depth. It wasn’t until I was properly planning all this that I bothered to find the depth – which is when I realized the ones that IKEA currently stocked were too deep! IKEA had replaced the set that we had, with their new METOD line a few years back, and the new ones were a couple centimeters too deep.

This meant we couldn’t simply add three more above our current set.

soooo much ceiling height wasted

This left us with a few options:

  1. We could just get a new kitchen
  2. We could custom build new upper cabinets to match the old ones (proper depth)
  3. We could replace all the upper cabinets but leave the lowers, and paint them to match

I liked Option 1 (obviously) but the old wallet didn’t. Richard liked it too, but it just wouldn’t bring any return in resale which meant it wasn’t going to happen. Option 2 wasn’t really something we felt up to DIYing without the proper tools (although I look back now and laugh at that… we will end up doing more work in the end now).

Which left Option 3, the one we have gone with! IKEA has some cabinet fronts just like ours but with a slightly different-sized trim around. We’re thinking that if we paint the uppers and lowers white, they will be close enough to trick the eye. As they aren’t side by side, you probably won’t notice the difference in trim.

IKEA SÄVEDAL cabinet doors | Hello Victoria

IKEA’s SÄVEDAL cabinet fronts

Now, with the new METOD system, we will be able to have drawers (!) in the lower set of cabinets. This means we no longer have to build them (yay!). We can also get slightly taller cabinets as well and still have room at the top for a bit of trim. Unlike the rest of this flat, the kitchen currently has no crown molding, so we’ll add that all the way around the room. I’m also going to add wood pieces on either side of the cabinets to make it all look built-in, hopefully, flush with the doors to create an inset door appearance.

Now, as if all that wasn’t enough, I found myself looking at our range hood. It’s always bugged me that the stainless backsplash thing doesn’t go all the way up, and by adding cabinets on either side, this would only look worse. So what if we replaced it?!

Kitchen before photos | Hello Victoria

IKEA makes some range hoods that can go under a cabinet. Since ours doesn’t actually vent outside (and can’t) it mostly just acts as a light and fan. But the one at IKEA can either be vented outside, or you can use a charcoal filter and recirculate the air. With that in the middle (as opposed to our current one), we could add cabinets all the way up to the ceiling!

We could go from having only 3 upper cabinets to having 8 cabinets, and 3 drawers!! Talk about storage! But by replacing the range hood, we would have to replace rather than repaint the tile. Which is terribly sad. I mean, who wouldn’t want to keep this gorgeous stuff right?

I’m obviously kidding – this stuff offends me. I’ve always wanted to try tiling and both Richard and I are big fans of classic subway tile. So once we decided to replace the range hood, it meant we had to replace the tile – yay! I’m thinking of a classic white subway tile with contrasting light grey grout. We’ll probably end up using either a flat or beveled tile, but if Richard would agree to it, I would looove to get a textured handmade-looking tile. I love all the ones Emily Henderson keeps using from Cle tiles. But of course, Richard really doesn’t like them… bah! So instead, it’ll be more like the image below.

White subway tile with grey grout inspiration | Hello Victoria

subway tile photo via Nest of Posies

Finally, to complete this space, we need to paint the walls, and I’ve found a pretty great color to use. I had wanted a green-tinged grey and had quite a struggle finding something that still read as green, without being too minty or brown. This is actually a bit more green on the walls than I had been searching for, but pretty darn close. It’s Barest Hush by Valspar (what a name – right?), and we’re using their premium paint which has a built-in primer, and is apparently very scrubbable. Perfect for the wall where our pots and pans will constantly be banging and scraping.

Okay, was that all straightforward? Feeling lost and confused amidst a sea of bland before photos? How about a recap, eh? Here’s our plan as it stands, for updating and increasing the storage in our wee English kitchen.

  1. Remove the 3 upper cabinets, range hood, and all the tiles
  2. Paint all walls that won’t be tiled with Valspar’s Barest Hush
  3. Install 8 cabinets (with 3 built-in drawers) using IKEA’s METOD system
  4. Install the new range hood
  5. Paint new IKEA SÄVEDAL doors and all existing ones to match
  6. Tile backsplash
  7. Add contrasting black hardware
  8. Decorate with fun accessories

And that’s that! Simple right? 😉

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