Monday, 22 July 2013


Well hello there!
No excuse for my absence of (gasp!) 6 months from my blog will ever suffice.  But renovations come close to explaining some things, I suppose!
So I’ll just jump straight back in and share the kitchen renovations with you.  (Caption under each photo with sources)
We’ve lived with this serviceable, but ugly and out-dated kitchen for nearly 15 years.
It got to the point where things were falling apart (like tiles falling off walls), and the cooktop was so small I couldn’t fit a wok on it properly.  It even melted the side of the microwave.  The cracks in the walls were huge, and the paint colour was dated.  The pantry door shelves fell off the pantry door and were attached to the wall with a ribbon nailed on (and the pantry door then couldn’t open fully).  There was nowhere to organise papers, or to hide things like cling wrap.  The pantry was so tiny we used two shelves in the linen closet in the hallway.  The linoleum floor was peeling up at the three doorways.  The taps kept popping off completely.  Half the (70s mission brown) double oven didn’t even work.  Hinges came off cupboards.  Cupboards were lined with ugly contact paper.  The dishwasher was 29 years old, and leaked. Things HAD to change.
And so we finally got to a point where we were ready, and able, to renovate.  And not just the kitchen. (We are still going, and the rest of the house will be blogged separately)

The day the lino floor was ripped up, was a very exciting day indeed.  We found that the flooring underneath was perfectly intact and able to be polished!


Cramped, cluttered benchtop with falling tiles….

Mess everywhere!  Admittedly, the kitchen was not always like this – this was the day we were packing the contents of the cupboards into those foam boxes, so this is it, at its worst.

We had to place the rug we pulled out of Leroy’s room on the floorboards as they were unsealed, and I was still cooking in here.  Couldn’t have oil spills or food spills on the wood.

The tiny pantry!  And the pantry door contents nailed to the wall behind the pantry door!!

Remember this view above later on in this post.  I’ve taken a shot from almost the same position and you won’t believe the difference. Trust me.

Taken from the dining room on the other side of the kitchen.  We ripped out where the sink was and opened it out so we would use the dining room for eating, instead of just a room for “stuff”.

So much mess. So much dust.  I can’t begin to tell you how much dust.  SO. MUCH. DUST.

Then the dining room ceiling caved in.  Yep…..

We had so much rubble and junk in our yard.  Hubby called it Mount Plasterville.  We had a 12 metre skip to get rid of this lot and more.  Then we hired a 7 metre skip for another lot.  SO MUCH RUBBLE.

But it is SO worth it in the end,
because here’s the kitchen today.

A little bit different?

A fridge that gives us ice!  And a freezer that I can see everything in at the same time!  It’s a Samsung and it lights up all the way at the back of both fridge and freezer.  It’s very space-ship like!

A dishwasher that doesn’t leak, and is SO quiet it’s insane.  A tap with a handle that doesn’t come off, a sink with  garbage disposal so the bin doesn’t get full so quickly.  A stove that can have more than one pot on it at a time.  An oven that can bake more than one tray at a time.  A microwave that fits under the bench and doesn’t steal precious preparation space.

I decided on powder coated pressed aluminium for the splashbacks/backsplash (whatever you call it wherever you’re from!).
I did NOT want any grout.  After my grout experiences in the old bathroom and the old kitchen, I wanted as little grout as possible.  Minimal joins, minimal things that can crumble.  Powder coated for better heat resistance behind the stovetop, and for easier cleaning. (And less work for us!!) And pressed metal looks amazing and added that bit of personality to make this kitchen my own, and not just one you’d find anywhere.  Well, I think so, anyway.
(Pressed metal found here at Schots.  If you have any questions about it, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll reply as best I can.  We had a bit of a hard time installing it, but it worked out in the end.)

Dishlex dishwasher – it’s a simple one, but it has enough functions to get dishes clean, and that’s all I needed.  I didn’t need the Rolls Royce of dishwashers.

Nice wide soft-close drawers instead of cupboards for crockery and pots and plastic stuff.  The bottom row are mock fronts and are actually pot drawers.  I love big deep pot drawers!
The doors and drawers are vinyl/thermo wrapped in classic white and I liked the simple look of the brushed nickel handles/knobs.

The pantry now fits almost everything (except the big things like bottles of drinks & 4 litre cans of olive oil).  We paid extra to have the pull out baskets and I’m so glad we did this.  We sacrificed some space (there’s a decent sized empty gap at the back because the pantry had to be so deep to finish level with the fridge, and the baskets come in standard depth).  But that space would have been too far for me to reach, and I would have just lost stuff if I had regular shelves.  This way, I see EVERYTHING!

Blanco oven and range hood.  Love this.  It’s a fairly basic model, but I personally don’t need more than oven, grill, (it even has a defrost function that I am sure I won’t use), and a wok burner on top.

We ended up getting a new window made for the existing space. The old one was looking ordinary in the new kitchen, so we had a custom aluminium framed one made.  At first I wasn’t sold on aluminium, but then I saw I could get powder coated white, and it was easy to slide open, and I just love it now.  (You can see the window better in pics above). 
The sunscreen blind was custom made and ordered online.  I got it at CurtainSmart.  I would highly recommend them!  You just need to measure accurately, type in your measurements and pay them.  Easy.  Their turnaround time is 3 weeks, but mine arrived in 8 days to my door.  It fit perfectly, and I’m very happy with the quality.  They were lots cheaper than Bunnings, Spotlight and a few other online places I checked out, too.  We are going to get the rest of the blinds that we still need, made by CurtainSmart.

Composite stone benchtops in Snow White – I love the grey chunky flecks throughout.  I do NOT miss having laminate benchtops at all!

Pressed metal – from Schots.

We already had a sliding door, but it became a hidden pocket door. So much neater.  And I wanted to have a blackboard in the room.  I didn’t want to paint a wall, as I could see myself hating it in 2 years, and regretting ever having done that.  So, painting the back of the door was the sensible option for me.  It is hidden most of the time, too.  But I didn’t want black.  I’ve been using chalkboard paint for years, (long before it became fashionable!) to make my hand painted blackboards. (It used to be hard to find!).  I just mixed some white into the paint and painted away.  But it still looked black, even with a 50/50 ratio.  In the end, I added so much white I lost track of the percentage.  I would guess this was 20% black 80% white.  I just kept painted coats on top of coats until I was happy with the grey colour. (The door still needs a handle, I know!)

I saw this idea on Pinterest, from Dimples And Tangles’ blog post here.   It took more time to pick out the handle, than it did to screw it onto the wall.  I just LOVE this idea for holding the chalk.  Genius!

My gorgeous new tap from Ikea.

With all this new stuff, and a plain white backdrop to decorate, I pulled out my green antique and vintage items.  They’re not just there to look pretty – the salt container does actually contain chunky sea salt, and the tin holds Ernie’s dry dog food.

More green on the other corner.  The jug and glass dishes are the only things that are not antiques or vintage.  The jug comes in handy to fill with water to top up the coffee pod machine, and the dog’s water.  The teapot just looks pretty.

More splashes of my favourite colour green, at the little coffee station I set up.

The sunscreen blinds I mentioned earlier, showing how they filter sunlight in.

I love having the two lights above the sink, I can see what I’m doing there now!  These industrial style pendant lights are just basic ones from Ikea.  You can go nuts buying fancy pants expensive ones, but I think these simple ones work great.  (Ah, see, MORE DUST! I already cleaned these, but we are still doing work in the house, and this dust thing is never-ending!)

Now that the kitchen is galley style, I just wanted to have some good lighting that I could point wherever I wanted.  Track lighting that doesn’t hang low, and looks simple enough that you won’t even notice it’s there.  Again, from Ikea.  I wanted to get rid of the downlights we had in the old kitchen – those globes were useless and I hated and regretted ever putting downlights in the ceiling!

When I said I hate downlights, I meant the ceiling kind. Downlights under the wall cupboards is REALLY useful!!  These are LED ones that are supposed to last for many years.  Once they go, they go.  You can’t replace the globes on these ones.

Coffee/toast making corner.  There’s a shelf inside the cupboard underneath with extra pods, instant coffee (for hubs), sugar, teaspoons, all that stuff.  It’s very handy having it all in one space!

So now we have a before photo of the door leading into the kitchen.  All the doors in the house are this old cream with splotches of paint and scratches on them.  To repaint them is a HUGE job, and I am so over painting.  So, I decided I’d try out some wallpaper that looks like wood panels instead. 

And after I got the hang of it, it really took no time at all.  Maybe half an hour to an hour at the very most.  The next door I did after this was not a pocket door so was much quicker, less than 30 mins!
I found the wallpaper on eBay. It came from the UK, but was still a better option than buying from Bunnings cost-wise, but mostly design-wise.  Postage was quick, package well wrapped, and it was nice to see it was actually French wallpaper!  I’ve ordered 6 more rolls of various designs.  The whole house is getting wallpapered doors.  eBay seller DecorSupplies – great stuff.  So many beautiful designs.  I’ll share the other wallpapered doors on another blog post.

Oh, and remember the teeny tiny pantry I used to have?  I asked the carpenter to cut into the side of it and add a door, since we were no longer accessing it from inside the kitchen.  Now I have a spare little linen cupboard.  He cut a hole in the wall, replaced the old shelving for me, and added a door.  It would have been so wasteful NOT utilising what we had!

And here’s a peek at the dining room, which is not complete just yet.
The single antique chandelier we had wasn’t going to give enough light over the big new table we were now going to eat at.  So I had to get a pair of lights, and I had to get them in a hurry, so they could be installed, and we could move back home.  I thought these were really sweet, from Beacon Lighting.  Not too floral, not sparkly.  Just lots of really nice drops.

I’ll share more when it’s done, but here’s where I got the stuff in this picture.
Provincial Oak Table and chairs from Early Settler.
Two bookcases from Ikea.

So there has been lots going on around here, and there is still a huge list of things to do.
But we’re getting there.  And we’re loving the house!

Until next time, and I promise next time will NOT be in 6 months….

Natasha x


  1. GASP!!! What a gorgeous kitchen transformation!!! It turned out beautiful Natasha!! I love every tiny element, textures, and details! The backsplash, chalkboard, all of it! Renovating is a huge pain but it's soooo well worth it in the end! Enjoy your gorgeous updated kitchen! xoxo,Jenn

    1. Thank you sweetie! It is a huge pain, you're right! But so so so worth it. I enjoy cooking in here now!! x

  2. WOW! Natasha!!! Your kitchen looks wonderful! I love it.

    1. Thank you Penny! It's so nice to work in here! x

  3. OOOOOOOHHHHHH! I love the kitchen transformation! ! ! Would not have guessed the befores and afters to have been from the same space! So jealous of your new drawers and pantry! Well . . . and the stove/oven, dishwasher, refrigerator . . . well . . . you get the picture! :D Looks just lovely! Would make me want to spend more time in the kitchen! Can't wait to see more pics of the dining room! I absolutely love the new chandies!

    1. You're so right, I DO want to spend more time in here. It's amazing the difference it has made to where we spend time in the house, if that makes sense? We were always in the lounge room. Now we're in the kitchen/dining area. And come spring/summer, we will be in the kitchen/patio and enjoying every minute of it! x

  4. You must be thrilled! Not only beautiful, but functional. Life is so much better with a good kitchen.

    1. I am totally thrilled! Thank you Karla! I actually started baking.... which could be a problem!

  5. Natasha, it is so beautiful, I too would like pressed metal splashbacks, I'd really like to try it in the shower recess also if it could be water tight. Enjoy your lovely new kitchen and dining room.

    1. I have seen it done in shower recesses. I think there's special ways to treat it. I imagine if you powder coat it, it would work, and use a silicon sealer that you'd use on shower bases in any joins. It would be worth finding out, because eliminating grout is an awesome thing.
      We are still working on our bathroom, but when that's done I'll blog about it too. We have no grout in our shower at all. I've gone with acrylic wall liners and it has a bend around the corner too, so there are no joins either. Maybe if the pressed metal doesn't work for your shower recess you could use it some other way in the bathroom and use the acrylic wall liner instead, if grout is your pet hate too!

  6. Tash, this is AMAZING!!!! What a remarkable difference you've made, and I bet you just love being in that space now! Thank you for sharing the process with us... and I can't wait to see more ;)

    1. Thanks Deb! I just love being in this space!!! x


    Oh I get the dust thing, been there done that twice and now we are thinking after 15 years in this home we need to redo this kitchen (I'm thinking just sell and leave it to someone else's dreams, LOL :)

    Your kitchen is so inspiring, I might drag out my plans again :)

    Have a lovely week, cheers, T. :)

    1. I hope you drag out your plans!
      The dust - ugh! But that's all part of the process, I know...
      Good luck! x

  8. it looks amazing Natasha - a beautiful transformation! very exciting!

  9. Hi Natasha, what a huge job and it has turned out beautifully. I told my husband what you told me about installing the pressed metal. We actually went to Schots yesterday and he is sold on the idea! Yay!! If my kitchen turns out half as good as yours I'll be very happy! :-) Suzanne.

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Oh that's great!! Very happy for you! I hope you will love it. The imperfections I was seeing as it was being installed are disappearing every time I look at it now. I don't think you'll regret your decision! x

  10. HI Natasha! I've been wondering how you were I see why you were so busy.....but you are right. It is SO worth all of the hard work. LOVE IT!!!! Congrats on your new kitchen and dining room. Great job to all! Thanks for sharing I with us.


    1. Hi Jillian!
      Ooops I was a bad blogger wasn't I?! But we have had heaps done, and we have heaps to do, and I have heaps more to blog about too. Can't wait to share the rest!! x

  11. Gorgeous! I know your pain - the rubble the dust - but it is worth it! I went for glass splash back for the same reason you went for pressed metal easy to clean and no grout. Love your tap and all the vintage extras. My new kitchen is modern but I have the vintage inspiration for the front room when that eventually gets done. Thanks so much for sharing your pics and all the links to suppliers. Must remember that curtain one - the curtain guy I used has closed down :(

    1. Thank you!
      The curtain people - we've just ordered three roman blinds for the front bay window, and two sunscreen blinds for the full length sliding door area.... and I'm crossing my fingers because they're a bigger investment than a small window! I'll keep you posted!!
      N x

  12. Natasha, this transformation is simply gorgeous! I'd say your 15 years of waiting definitely paid off. It doesn't even look like the same place! Thanks so much for sharing the drawer pull chalk holder, I think it's just the greatest idea! I'm sure you're enjoying your lovely new space!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Isn't that drawer pull idea the best? I still look at it each day and think whoever thought of it was a genius!
      It does really feel like a new place. It's hard to believe the difference!

  13. Looks gorgeous Natasha you must be so happy that it's finally over. Been there done that with all the dirt and dust but worth it in the end. Enjoy.

    1. Hi Carol,
      It's not quite over yet....we are still working on the main bathroom, and need to do lots of work outside as well as lots of small jobs inside. It feels like it never ends!! But it is worth it already! x

  14. Oh, my gosh. Natasha! How beautiful! How wonderful for you and your family. I want to know the color of that nice off white on the walls.

    Again, your kitchen is just beautiful!


    1. Hi Peggy,
      Thank you!
      Well, you'd think it would be an easy question to answer, re the colour of the wall paint.
      We thought it was a colour that we call over in Oz, "Antique White USA". That colour is one of the most popular wall paint colours. We had a huge tin of it from a few years ago when we redid our ensuite. And that's what we used in the kitchen, dining and every other room in this house. But we ran out of it when we came to repainting the bedroom. And when I took the can with the formula written on it, to get it matched at the paint shop, the guy told me it WASN'T Antique White USA at all, it was yellower/creamer. So I have NO idea what the colour is. We ended up just getting a small can colour matched to whatever this colour is! x

  15. Your kitchen is SO AWESOME now Natasha! Fresh, simple and so inviting. I particularly love the powder coated backsplash. All your hard work has paid off and now you get to enjoy it!

  16. I love every bit of it! Well done! You still swanning around in it?

  17. All I can say is WOW Natasha! I just love it! A woman after my own heart. I absolutely love everything you did. My kitchen is very similar, it's white with a stainless oven and hood. I didn't have a splash back for a while when we did the kitchen and thought about the pressed metal (which I sooo now regret) and went for white subway tiles instead. I love how the pressed metal looks and will check out there website .. thanks for the links. Maybe I can use it in my bathroom, as I'd love to renovate that one day. You must be so happy Natasha it looks so nice and bright now and I love the vintage elements you added too. Looking forward to seeing the rest of your renovations... take care, Maryann

  18. hi, sorry not sure if my previous comment went through. Kitchen is gorgeous, very similar to what i have in mind for my new kitchen. I just wanted to know where you got the cupboard handles from?

    1. Hi! They were one of the choices my kitchen guy gave me so I have no idea where he got them, sorry!


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