Above image via DeVOL Kitchens
It’s 1.17am and I’m perusing open shelving ideas on Pinterest like they’re some kind of rescue pups at Battersea Dogs Home.
Is this it for me now? Are the days of being scraped off a sticky dancefloor at 1am over? Have I traded Hendricks for Howdens and dancing badly in heels for scraping walls in Crocs?
Apparently so, but I’m cool with it *translation: I’m gagging for a gin and living a lie*
I’m sure we can come to some arrangement when the home-making dust has settled and I can go out and stroke a bald bouncer’s head once again but for now it’s operation nest.
As we’re currently knee deep in 25-year-old wallpaper (and asbestos, probably) I don’t have any before and after makeovers to give ya just yet.
Joe currently smells of fox piss (his words, not mine) and that’s not even from the dead fox we found on our doorstep a mere 3 days after we got the keys to the new gaff. Bad omen much?
I’m in the weekend ‘tip goers’ elite now and I don’t even wear gloves when I’m flinging wood from the boot of the car into the skip, I’m that forking hardcore.
The sunny maisonette
Our property is spread over two floors within a Victorian townhouse, with our kitchen, living room and bathroom on one level and the two bedrooms on the upper level. In short, dear readers, it means we are learning to navigate stairs again. I’ve only fallen over my own feet seven times so far.
It has all the original Victorian charm: a working open fireplace, wood floorboards, high ceilings, cornicing, a loft with exposed brick walls – but all of that also means it’s lacking a little in the cosmetic department.
It’s a doer upper. It needs stripping back, plastering, painting and loving back to good health.
Due to that little omnipotent B word ‘budget’, we decided to concentrate on the living room, kitchen and bathroom first. The upper level is liveable and in good enough shape to gin and bear it for a while. That is, until everything else is brand new and it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Learning curve number one: kitchen renovations absolutely haemorrhage money and with that comes the responsibility to get it absolutely right; to fight the urge to do something flirtatiously on-trend and instead, stick with what you trust you won’t hate in a year’s time. That goes for the both of you.
Buying and doing up a house is completely new territory for me so by no means am I posing as an expert but I’m enjoying the process of making a space entirely ours. It’s a new chapter for this blog & I’m hoping you’ll enjoy seeing our sun-dappled maisonette come together as much as I will.
For now, I thought I’d get my mood boards off the ground and hope that somewhere between now and the end of February, I’ll walk through the rubble and the dust – Stars In Their Eyes style – to see it all become more than a PSD file.
Kitchen mood boarding
Our property is old and I feel obliged to honour its original features as much as possible. I don’t want to work against it or iron out all the imperfections for the sake of making it look neat and modern – those are the things that make it Victorian, after all!
My preference for kitchens has always been the traditional shaker style with painted wooden cabinetry so that, for once, wasn’t a tough decision for me to make.
The same can’t be said for the countertops, however.
Initially, I had my heart set on a calm rustic kitchen space, warmed up with wood counters and earthy stoneware but despite wood being a fraction of the price of its marble, quartz or glass counterparts (which I hear is the in-thing in a lot of London kitchens), we decided the idea of oiling it every 5 months or else risk it getting damp & turning black was not the right path for us.
As someone who is often crippled by indecisiveness and the pressure of making very permanent decisions, I made sure I did my research and sought advice from people who had wood in their own kitchens and largely, the consensus was it looks lovely but it’s a bitch to look after.
Onto quartz it was! It’s low maintenance, non-porous, aesthetically pleasing and pretty indestructible.
Since we’re having wooden flooring and open shelving with a breakfast bar, it could have been overkill with oak countertops thrown in there as well. By offsetting the darkness of the wood with white quartz, I’m hoping it’ll add a sense of space and emphasise the lovely morning light in this east-facing room.
And this is exactly why I’m starting to understand why the planning process has to be slow & ever-changing. An interiors friend once said to me, give yourself time to be in the space before you commit to anything. You need to get to know what you will be living in.
I’d built up an idea of what I wanted before we’d even got the keys but it wasn’t until we started ripping the old kitchen out and physically standing in the space that I could visualise the next steps and determine what worked best.
If time allows, try not to rush it. Go to showrooms, talk to friends, stroke as many samples as you need to, hassle your kitchen designer to make 117 changes before deciding on your final kitchen plan. You’re parting with a lot of money, the chances are your first idea will evolve several times before you reach that huzzah moment.
I’ll be sharing my living room, bathroom and master bedroom mood boards next but in the meantime, if you have anything else you’d like to see on homeware and interiors let me know in the comments!
Love you bye x