Monday, 21 November 2011

Recycling my Kitchen

My blogging has become ultra sporadic recently, and one of the reasons behind this has been a spot of kitchen renovation. It's been an area of the house that got pushed to the back of the queue since we moved here a couple of years ago. However in August it hit centre stage when the oven stopped working, a simple enough task to replace a built under oven, but!

I reckon our kitchen is about 20 years old, but after my initial don't like this, not my style, I've got to know it and realised that for the space it occupies it's very well designed and was obviously expensive and in the quality bracket to start with. I'm an inveterate recycler, whether it's clothes, furniture or compost and this is no exception. They may be not exactly to my taste but these doors look in as good nick as our previous, much cheaper kitchen did 5 years down the line. They're wood and could be repainted if necessary, but I don't think they'll look any worse in 5/10 years time than anything I could afford right now to replace them.

When we moved  in, the fan was so caked in grease it had to be ripped out before I'd even step foot in the kitchen

The hideously slippery when wet laminate floor had to come up to get the kick boards out
I wasn't sad to see it go!

Back around Christmas last year Mr Sparklz and I hatched a plan to take the fridge freezer out and have the cupboard shelved instead. We have a larder fridge in the dining area and a chest freezer outside (well not literally outside, just not in the house). We looked at American fridge freezers but in the end decided they were just too big for our wee house. So the plan was to start getting used to having no indoor freezer when the weather was warmer.....It took till August to get round to this........maybe a week before the oven blew.

That and a long term ambition to put a dishwasher I hate the amount of cutlery washing up we produce. And suddenly the replacement of an oven isn't such a small job after all. Though it could have still been done quite quickly had it not been for the state of the sink. The plastic jobs that were fashionable 20 years back just weren't up to the job, but you can't replace a sink without doing the work tops and the work tops coming out will maybe dislodge the tiles - the grout for which may or may not have been brown originally.

The hot tap only worked once you turned it to full on
whilst the sink was pitted to say the least.

More cost, more time and choices but a false economy not to sort, even if I didn't really want to face up to the escalating challenge.

I did however want to contemplate a double oven. Replacing the work tops meant that I could have a free-standing oven, but in such a small space, the centimetres it would stick out struck me as a bad idea. Looking at double built unders wasn't great either. You literally have to get on the floor to see the bottom oven. Mr Sparklz and I left the shop quite dejected about the whole project.

My father had already suggested putting the oven in the fridge freezer housing with the classic remark 'your not getting any younger' - don't you just love Dads ;) This had been dismissed though due to the lack of doors available to fit the spaces left by the standard oven height fitting we had envisaged. Then in our despondency, Mr Sparklz hatched a plan. Taking the top small door to the bottom and pushing the fridge door up, would give a lower than normal height for the oven. Sceptical at first I began to think this might just work. I never think of myself as short, because I'm taller than all the other females in my family, but realistically 5' 3" still has me on the short side. Put it this way if I walk into the kitchen barefoot I walk straight back out again for some shoes - the sole height makes that much difference!

Choosing tiles was looking like no less of a headache I wanted to replace the light work top and dark green tiles for dark work top and light green tiles, to frame and compliment the garden. What I didn't want was bloody beige! What do the shops have, neutral, neutral and more neutral......or red. Red in a tiny kitchen would have me committing murder in no time. In a show room it works, in a postage stamp kitchen, no thanks! I wanted relaxed and calming.......but not beige.

Oh there was some lime glass tiles, but expensive and possibly a tad too modern up against the cupboards. I'd spotted a shade I liked in some mosaic tiles and went back for another look. Realising they were actually larger tiles in a mosaic tile and with choice (in an acceptable price bracket) closing in I committed to them....only for B&Q to tell me that all order in tiles were off.....the manufacturer had gone bust. Much ranting on my part later I randomly visited another B&Q on the off chance and they actually had some £12 a square meter rather than the original £20.......only to realise that they were open boxes and might not be enough....worse still the cardinal tiling error they weren't all even from the same batch. With the odds of finding anything I liked better in this expensive beige world we decided to risk it. Spending a remarkably low £62 pounds on tiles from 2 batches. The tiler when he saw them actually couldn't tell the difference.... but I can assure you that one set had a lighter and bluer finish to the green and the ones I liked were a yellower base......make up artist to the fore here - couldn't have described that so coherently before last year....thankfully they had completely different finishes on the back as well making them easier to spot for the uninitiated. Given the teeny nature of my kitchen I kind of hoped that there would be enough of the yellow green but it would be touch and go!

A work in progress
Remember to think about sockets
I bought new ones the day before work started and it makes such a difference.

We reused the cupboard from the space that now houses the mini dishwasher
 in the space that used  to be occupied by the oven. The towel/tray space was built from
 remnants from the cooker housing. 

My new baby from Bosch Exxcel!
And at a perfect height

The greeny yellow tiles made it - with 2 to spare...
And a nice clean sink - with taps that work!

Just the knobs and replacement flooring to consider now then......oh and the laborious sealing of the grout......

This post looks like it could have been sponsored by Bosch....but it wasn't


  1. Can I just say that I love your new green tiles, I reckon you should do FOTD theme around your kitchen!

  2. Your kitchen looks fantastic, I love posts like this - I am such a nosey old bag! I also LOVE your tiles! xx

  3. @Skin Scrubs - Thank you! Mmmm shades of pale green with slate and stainless steel.....

    @Thank you - and for our chat when I was pulling my hair out making the decisions. x


Please do leave a comment, I love to hear what you think. x


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