Downshifting our lives also meant downsizing our home and these days, instead of having the large kitchen - diner that I once had, I now have quite a small space. It took a bit of getting used to, but because my quality of life has become so much better, I soon accepted having a smaller kitchen. However, I have struggled to accept the old blue units & marble effect work tops that are in my smaller kitchen and after nearly 4 years I finally have a shiny new one.
We saved up and I set a budget of a £1000, but we ended up spending closer to £1,200 which includes a new oven. We shopped around for weeks before we parted with our cash, and decided on an Ikea kitchen, because we got more for our money and I liked their worktops better than the other stores we had looked at.
The kitchen now fits my needs perfectly. The first thing I wanted to do away with, was the wall units because I'm short, only 5ft 2in and I struggled to reach and find stuff that was hidden away in the backs of my high mounted wall units. So, I now have everything on display on shelves and I can reach whatever I need without calling for help from a tall Husband, Yay!
I chose plain white units because of the small space, as I knew it would make the kitchen appear larger. To keep in with the retro theme of my house I picked handles (Ikea Blankett) that reminded me of handles that my Mum had back in the 1970's. I wanted my kitchen to be modern but retro at the same time.
The mess was a nightmare. Dust everywhere. My lounge was almost ceiling high full of boxes, filled with all my kitchen equipment. But I was excited, as everyday I watched my Hubby making progress.
I really like dark walnut worktops and I like Ikea's because they are more square than the regular rounded on the edges which gives more of a retro look to them. I wanted to keep my small vintage style cup shelf, where I like to keep my tea, coffee & sugar jars, my teapot & soup bowls. A very lovely old Friend of mine sent me some gorgeous London fridge magnets that I now have covering my boiler, I love them!
I wanted my kitchen to be sunny so we painted the walls yellow, which goes lovely with the walnut worktops. I bought a larder cupboard that I was planning on using as a pantry but I had ordered the cleaning cupboard instead and now I have filled it with my ironing board, broom, cleaning stuff etc, I'm glad that I made the mistake.
I really wanted pull out drawer waste bins. They are fantastic for hiding away the rubbish and for separating my recycling. I also ordered some basket drawers that pull out for all my tins. I usually have a wash basket permanently stuck in the middle of my kitchen, as Hubby & the kids fill it daily. It drives me mad and I'm forever moving it out of my way, so I picked up two Ikea wash baskets that fit perfectly into a 50cm base unit. These little extras just make the kitchen so much easier to use.
Another thing I really like is having rails with baskets and pots hanging all around my splashback. My herbs & spices are really easy to find now, and are close to hand while I'm cooking. I no longer need to climb up on my worktop to rummage for my spices. The whole kitchen has been fitted to our lifestyle and I love everything about it. I think we did pretty well with the budget we had.
Fitting the kitchen ourselves was a lot cheaper than paying someone to do it. I'm lucky that Hubby is good at DIY, and that he was happy to take on the job, however as he isn't a professional kitchen fitter it did take a little longer (2 weeks rather than 1), but with the amount of money we saved it was well worth the extra week. We did run into problems with a second hand oven that we purchased, which stopped working after 2 days so we ended up buying a brand new oven, which is why our budget was stretched an extra £200.
Now I have a fresh new kitchen that is well organised and works perfectly for my Family and Hubby cooks a mean Sunday roast in it!