Saturday, 8 March 2014

Kitchens of distinction

Over the years I've fantasised about many things, some of which I really shouldn't go into here, and, in spite of what you may have gathered from one or two previous posts, Ricky Gervais is not one of them. Up until very recently, nor were kitchens. I've just 'accepted' all the kitchens I've ever known: the ones in rented, damp, down-at-heel flats with their oatmeal wallpaper, pockmarked lino floors and brown bead curtains in doorways... I'm a tolerant soul. Our last home was different in that it was a new-build apartment and its kitchen cupboards had doors that actually shut properly, but the ratio of available floor space to size of an average human foot was not great. I mean, we quickly learned that it was easier just to walk backwards than to attempt a full turn, especially when holding a frying pan.

We moved here over a decade ago, to a very different property - a 200-year old cottage with all the nice things that 200-year old cottages have, such as woodworm and an absence of right-angles. 'Charming' in estate agent speak. It is lovely- but tiny; it would be a two-up one-down with an outside loo if it weren't for a more modern extension tacked onto the back to house the kitchen and bathroom. Well, I say modern, but this 1950s addition is where things stop being quite so lovely. Someone – presumably someone with as much knowledge on building kitchens and bathrooms as me (perhaps less so, I was a dab hand with the Airfix Betta Bilda after all) – installed cheap units as wonky as a Rubik's cube in mid-turn and a shit-coloured lino floor (it makes you want to wipe your feet on the way out) complete with mysterious lumps carefully preserved beneath. The concrete step under the back door has cracked so much that when I open it on damp mornings I have to remove small confused slugs and the occasional back end (or is it front end?) of an earthworm from the threshold – I'm not exaggerating.

So it is with some excitement and anticipation that we've decided – and can now just about afford - to do something about it. And I think I must have finally come of age because, for the first time in my life, instead of fantasising about things like curry and kinky boots, I'm actually fantasising about kitchens. (Oh, and bathrooms. That 1970s peach suite has to go.)



  1. I can only say one word.... Pintrest!( I wish it had existed when I did up my kitchen and bathroom, now I just fantasize about what might have been)

  2. Good luck! Try to maintain 'something' of the old style, though; these news kitchens can be a bit anaemic if you're not careful. Your house does sound 'charming' but I know what you mean and can't blame you for the up-grade. On my wish list as well. We get indoor slugs, too (amongst other things).

  3. My place in Spain had a stupid wall which made the kitchen tiny....I saw a similar place with the wall removed. Dave the builder from heaven, a reasonabkle price and a few cases of strongbow has transformed my kitchen to double the size.

  4. My annual birthday present for Mrs S is a subscription to Country Living, so she can 'oooh' and 'aaah' over rustic kitchens and quirky bathrooms for another 12 months. These were two areas of our house we'd earmarked to attack first, but, as is the way with life, other things keep coming along to push them down the list. Good luck with your kitchen. I'm with Singing Bear, don't go too modern. When you're next out shopping, grab a case or two of Strongbow and give Dave the builder from heaven a call - he'll see you right. I've got a few jobs to put his way myself.

  5. You can pass a lot of things off as quaint but, a kitchen's not really one of them...that oughta be fun.

    We lived in a townhouse that was perfect in every respect except for the kitchen. There are, surely, bigger galley's on submarines.

    1. P.S. don't think for a second it's gone unnoticed that you managed to work Ricky into a post about redecorating your kitchen.

      You got it bad.

  6. It goes without saying that the kitchen is the most important room in the house. We practically live in there.

    I look forward to your kitchen warming party!


    I am taking bookings, Dave the Builder from heaven is the Man!

  8. Thanks for comments, lovely people :-)
    CA - thank you re. Pinterest - I see what you mean! So much inspiring stuff on there, I've already started a file of pictures to drool over... What is possible (and affordable) and what I'd like may not be the same thing, but we can dream, eh...
    SB and TS - yes I know what you mean too. I think simple classic is the way to go (I'm obsessing about white at the mo) but it does need to fit its rustic surroundings... plus Mr SDS and I need to agree, hmm! Hope you can both get yours done too some time soon.
    Erik - quaint it's not! And I only mentioned the unmentionable one for your sake....
    John - a party sounds good, how about a 'Bring Your Own Paintbrush' one? It might be a bit of squeeze but I guess we could always try and extend at the same time...
    Old Pa - Dave the builder from heaven sounds perfect and you might get some bookings via this post by the sound of it! We found a good one too, and I gather that his weakness is tea! So I'm stocking up on PG Tips and sugar lumps...


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