We have a tiny, old kitchen and it’s only now that I’ve accepted that it’s not getting any bigger that I’ve started getting excited about how to get the most from it. The kitchen has been the embarrassment of our home rather than the heart. Reactions to our kitchen over the last 5 years has ranged from ‘OMG, How on earth do you cope?’, ‘Is it supposed to look like that?’, ‘Wow the puppy really DID eat it, didn’t she’….
Houses like ours were build as ‘starter’ homes for young married couples in the 1930’s and the glorious large Victorian kitchens were deemed unnecessary waste of space. Ironically now these 1930’s semi detached and detached houses are now much sought after for the space the other rooms – the bedrooms are massive, the garden is wonderful and spacious and you can get a good 4 cars on the driveway. But the kitchen is the one room that really lets them down and is the most extended room.
Our kitchen measures 8×8 and we have a usable work surface of about 2ft and floorspace of 4ft x5ft. There is no room for a washing machine, tumble drier or a dishwasher. Frankly it drives me nuts, god knows how women in the latter 20th Century lived here with 3-4 kids?
We started the remodelling idea a year ago and I had a local kitchen company come plan a new kitchen. I thought that they would be able to come up with some space saving ideas and appliances. However the plan was exactly the same as what I have currently and the quote for 8 cupboards with no appliances, tiling or flooring….£9,000!?!?
I then called an architect in, who suggested knocking the wall between the dining room and the kitchen. And then building a utility room on the side of the house and then knocking into that. The price…£20,000 plus. We both loved the idea, but it’s a lot of money to spend on a house when house prices are all over the place, and this isn’t a forever house. So that plan was out the window.
So I decided that I would come up with a list of things I really wanted from the kitchen:
Sink (with new taps)
To get that I ditched the upper cabinets on the right hand side and replace them with Ikea shelves and removed the cupboards beneath to create space for the dishwasher. Removing those four cabinets made the room look so much more spacious – it was amazing.
I’ve painted the laminate cupboards with ‘cupboard’ paint from Dulux so they are now white (read how here). But if you have regular cupboard sizes (our aren’t) you could also just buy in new doors.
The biggest thing was to only keep what I needed, for some reason I had loads of wine glasses that I never ever used so I donated them to charity, which freed up a load of space. Also don’t be afraid to move the functions of the room around. I’ve moved where I make tea and coffee over to where the dishwasher is and I now have the space where it was for food prep. Wish I’d done it years ago!