This story begins back in February when I booked an appointment for Mikee, my mum and myself to go to Ikea to design a kitchen. If you follow me on Instagram you know what we’ve been going through, and I’ve had a lot of lovely people following on my Instagram Story updates about the kitchen. So I thought I’d do a blog post to actually cover how we started, how it’s all gone and what we did.
We’ve been living in our flat for three years and while we love our flat, it is a bit of a fixer-upper. We live in a one bedroom ex-council flat in Zone 2 with a tiny balcony overlooking allotments. We’re about a twenty minute walk past the docks from Canada Water and a five minute walk from the river. The flat we have has good sized rooms, lots of light on one side of the building and about 5 million unnecessary cupboards which I seriously consider renting out sometimes because they’re bigger than Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs. Most of it hasn’t been updated since it was built so it’s in need of some TLC.
Which brings us to the kitchen. The kitchen was a good kitchen, liveable in but not very well designed or practical. The first day we were here we cleaned the cupboard tops which were grimy as, and I left a dirty hand print on the wall by accident just to remind us of how gross it was. The floor, the cupboards, the countertop were all different shades of wood, the backsplash was make to look like fake tiles, we had ONE tiny drawer, the cupboard doors were falling off because the actual units were from when the flat was first built. And when we first moved we had been left a washing machine which was useful but I’m fairly certain it was from the 1980s and it flooded our kitchen after we’d only been here about 4 months – resulting in us ripping up the laminate leaving some very old gross marbled vinyl tiles. Fast forward three years when we’d done bits and bobs over the years to try and make it better but we just really needed to redo the whole thing.
I’m not sure what the tipping point was, maybe it was my mum going ‘you need to redo your kitchen’ for the 100th time. But I booked that appointment and so off we went, not even sure if we could afford it knowing the chain reaction it would set off – by doing the kitchen we’ll need to do the floor, if we do the floor we want the floor to go through the whole flat and so on.
Anyway, we designed the kitchen with the help of Ikea. Having lived here for so long already we knew exactly what would work to make layout much more useful. And the price came to £2,600 ish. We noticed you could pay on finance over 3 years at 0% interest, making the kitchen about £75 a month which is affordable for us. We’d also been saving up to go to New York (we hadn’t saved up much but just enough to book flights), and decided to use the money to get half of the floor and any DIY bits and pieces we might need, as well as to pay people who came and helped us on the things we couldn’t do ourselves. Cue Friday April 13th and our new kitchen was destined to arrive.
THIS. Was our old kitchen. So nice, as you can see.
The Sunday before the kitchen was due to arrive we decided to start our process by moving everything into the living room and taking all the old cupboards down. It took us a day to get the majority of the units and worktop out. As well as to get the ugly vinly floor tiles up which were stuck down with mastic that just gets stronger over time, so it was really forking strong. We basically did this so we could assess the damage which was probably just as bad as we were expecting.
The wall behind the sink was covered in black mould because the sealant had aged so much that it no longer worked and moisture had gotten in. We found a lot of mouse poo. We discovered that under the corner of the counter a bunch of old tiles from a previous kitchen renovation had been dumped there (just why?!) The vinyl tiles only went up to the units. The walls behind the cupboards hadn’t been sealed or painted – they were just plasterboard attached to brick. We discovered how thick our internal walls are which is not very thick – three layers of plasterboard. Some of the plasterboard had gotten so old that it just fell away from the wall when we pulled stuff out. It just wasn’t great.
Once we had everything out we started by PVAing the walls to seal them. We removed the door frame and any skirting that we could. We painted the ceiling. I filled in holes with mortar and polyfila. Mikee and I sanded and peeled away the mouldy top layer of the plasterboard. My mum and I wallpapered and painted the walls green. And Mikee and I got the floor down just as the new kitchen showed up – kudos to the guys who brought everything up the stairs as everything was rather heavy.
That weekend we had help from Rupert (a family member) to get the plumbing started. We took out the old radiator, we got a line in to connect to the new dishwasher, the washing machine and to plumb in the fridge and we also shortened the gas pipe a little. We painted some more and started building units while trying to figure out how on earth we were going to fix the units to the wall as our walls were so thin and our stud finder was saying everywhere had wires in the wall. Stressful.
I think that’s enough for this post! Check back later for the next leg of the journey toward a much, much, much better kitchen.