Photo credit: all photos with permission from Lucy. Find her on instagram @summer_at_no59 | Please note that this post contains affiliate links
It goes without saying, but the kitchen really is the heart of the home, isn't it? It's why so many of us are a little bit obsessed with renovating our own kitchens, and it's also why it's the room that adds the most value to your property if you get it right. So, it's no surprise that we're all a little bit obsessed with good kitchen renovations - especially renovations that have been done on a small budget with beautiful results.
Lucy's kitchen makeover is one such example, and after a little while admiring her grey kitchen cabinets, industrial lighting and beautiful bi-folding doors onto the garden (sigh!), I decided to ask Lucy how she did it. What did her kitchen look like before, and how did she find the process of renovating it? Luckily, Lucy was happy to oblige, and kindly answered all my nosey questions. Here's what she had to say...
Hi Lucy! So, whereabouts do you live and who do you live with?
Hi! I live with my other half James - this is our first house together - and we live in Chislehurst, Kent.
Have you always wanted to take on a renovation project like this?
Absolutely, renovating houses has always been my passion! I would love to make it a full time job, and in fact, James and I are currently saving to invest in another renovation project - hopefully something to sell or rent out. My dad’s a builder and my mums an interior designer so I guess you could say it’s in my blood. I have grown up on renovation projects. Every house I’ve ever lived (and there’s been a few) has been a project in itself.
Oh wow... it sounds like it was meant to be! Did you have any first-hand experience of doing this kind of work already?
When I first got together with James he had just bought a place, so I helped him to do that up. That had a new kitchen, bathroom all the bedrooms and living space had to be re-carpeted and redecorated. We also completely re-landscaped the garden - another thing I love to design and build!
Here are the 'before' photos of the kitchen when we started the renovation for this place.
What were the high points of your kitchen renovation?
There were a few! One was when the bifolds and the large window went in (we had to wait 6 weeks for them which at the time felt like an eternity as the previous patio doors were so horrendous). But they really make the kitchen now and let so much light in they were worth every penny. James and I both work from home so it’s been amazing this summer having the bifolds open all day it makes the house feel huge as the garden is just like another room.
Another high was when the worktops were fitted. The fitters did such an amazing job it turned what was a very cheap kitchen into something luxurious.
...and what about the lows?
The dirt and dust whilst the work was going on and having to wash your plates and cutlery for weeks on end in the bathroom. Do a renovation is so much fun, but living in it at the time is not so fun!!
Here's what it looked like during the makeover.
How did you decide on the layout of your new kitchen?
I spent weeks, days, hours planning it and playing around with the layout. It became an obsession. The IKEA kitchen planner tool is amazing once you get the hang of it. I spent hours on it chopping and changing the layout- I must have had over 10 different designs before I finally settled on this one.
The great thing about IKEA kitchens (and one of the reasons we chose it over places like Howdens and Magnet) is that you have so much choice in terms of cabinets, cupboards, draws configurations etc. There are so many space saving options, plus you can play around with it and change the layout.
We went to both Howdens and Magnet, and for the options we wanted, it was twice - if not three times - the price. And they didn’t have a tool that allowed me to change the layout at home. They worked out a lot more expensive even with my dad’s trade discount.
That's so worth remembering! Thank you! How did you decide on the style and paint colour?
Pinterest! I spent hours on it but I always knew I either wanted a sage green or grey kitchen. When we went out to look at the kitchens the grey won be over.
Here's what it looked like in the 'after' and styling stage.
What were the biggest challenges?
Getting my dad's builders on site. He was letting me have them between his jobs so it wasn’t a quick process. Deciding on the layout was also challenging as I had so many I liked. It was a real tough one, but looking back I definitely made the right choice.
What advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?
- Look into an IKEA kitchen (even though they will tell you they need to fit the kitchen if you want a quartz worktop from them). We didn’t want to pay for them to fit it as we planned to do it with my dad’s help, so we bought the worktop form a local company.
- If you do go for an IKEA kitchen, get the IKEA dishwasher. We bought a cheap one from Currys as our budget was tight. This backfired as we can only open it halfway as the door hits the bottom of the dishwasher. It’s fine for now as we can still use it, you just can’t pull the trays out. We will replace it eventually.
- Also, take your time planning it. The kitchen is the heart of the house so you want to make sure it's right.
- Also, if you can fit them in your budget and have room get bi-folds, you won’t regret it.
- Finally, have a contingency budget. There are only so many things you can plan for, but we ended up having the boiler moved to the loft so it didn’t take up space in the kitchen, which of course pushed the price up. Also, when renovating a house, you never can tell what little horrors lie under the floor or in the walls.
Thank you so much for sharing your kitchen makeover with me, Lucy! I'll keep that tip about IKEA kitchens in mind, for sure, and all your other helpful bits of advice.
You can follow Lucy's home updates on Instagram (@summer_at_no59) where you'll find plenty of before, during & after photos of her kitchen, and a whole lot more interior shots of the rest of her home too.