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The MN lessons learnt kitchen thread (1 year on)

(97 Posts)
jollydiane Sat 04-Jan-14 20:03:39

A year ago I sort the experience of MN when doing major house renovations. A year on I wanted to thank you for your suggestions and give you some of my feedback. Please let others have the benefit of your experience and any mistakes that you are trying to live with.

What worked well
1. Deep drawers. It makes looking for pots and pans so much easier than cupboards.

2. A large area for preparing food or dishing up.

3. Tiled flooring with underfloor heating but make sure you do not go for white grout or you will be scrubbing it forever (thank you for that tip)

4. A place of the recycling bin which is out of sight.

5. So glad I didn't have 'all white' kitchen as I know I would struggle to keep it clean.

6. Delighted with the induction hob it is so easy to clean and really easy to cook with.

7. If you are knocking through (kitchen dining room) seriously consider having a new ceiling otherwise you may notice the join (so glad I did this)

8. The glass splashback is a stunning feature. I used F&B paint shade which then blended in beautifully. I'm so glad I avoided tiles.

9. If you are looking for inspiration pick a piece of artwork with colours that you love and work with that.

I should have gone for a granite work top as the one I picked is looking a bit scratched, an expensive mistake.

Caoilainn Sat 04-Jan-14 20:08:06

I remember your thread!
Thank you thanks for coming back to report, I'm still saving for my new kitchen but after the tips on that thread I have a more definite idea of what would work for us.

Love the idea of the glass splash back, sorry about your work top, what did you choose in the end?

Alwayscheerful Sat 04-Jan-14 20:10:58

Tell me more about your glass splash back, do they not discolour around the edges?

jollydiane Sat 04-Jan-14 20:13:45

Hi Caoilainn, I hope you don't have too long to wait. I went for a laminate work top (budget and all that). It hasn't really lived up to my expectations. It still looks good but had I had more time and money I would have gone for granite as I am finding it scratches far too easily, mind you real wood would have driven my potty by now.

jollydiane Sat 04-Jan-14 20:20:07

The glass splash back is stunning and has not faded at all. Choosing the colour was tricky. I picked the colour I thought I liked and then pained some lining paper and pinned it to the wall for several days to check that I still liked it.

jollydiane Sat 04-Jan-14 20:24:03

The original thread here

Coveredinweetabix Sat 04-Jan-14 20:34:02

I picked up loads of ideas from your thread. Our kitchen has been in for a few months now and the aspects I love are:
- drawers, drawers and more drawers
- having one set of base unit cupboards in which I can keep things like big boxes of cereal
- bifold wall units with plugs inside and then the magimix etc live in those cupboards & get pulled out when wanted and pushed away when no longer wanted
- bringing in a carpenter to make bespoke cupboards for a couple of awkward gaps. They're on an opposite wall to the main run. The carpenter mirrored the style but then we painted them so that they're similar but markedly different (if that makes sense). Otherwise, those spaces would be pretty much dead space.

The bits I regret are that:
- my black granite worktops go smeary if you just wipe them. Instead you have to dry them. Life is too short to dry kitchen work tops!
- I went for an undermount sink & draining groves in the granite work top rather than a overmount sink with a draining board. Whilst my set up looks nice, after most meals there is something that needs to be washed rather than put in the dishwasher and I am one of those people who leaves things to air dry rather than dry them & put them away & so the overmount sink would have worked better for me. It is the one criticism DP has.

By the way, I became a world class kitchen bore, got designs done by six different companies, changed the design at the company we went with about 4 times but ended up with my dream kitchen and it makes me so happy.

jollydiane Sat 04-Jan-14 20:44:52

Cover maybe I didn't make a mistake after all, I assumed granite was so easy to maintain. Maybe my few scratches are not so bad after all. I know what you mean about cereal boxes. I have trim them to fit them in - does anyone have a cupboard that actually can fit a family size cereal in it?

jollydiane Sat 04-Jan-14 20:47:51

I agree with having a kitchen that works makes me happy. I actually enjoy cooking as everything is in the 'right' place.

stainesmassif Sat 04-Jan-14 20:49:54

No kitchen tips, but decant your cereal into containers.

RandomMess Sat 04-Jan-14 20:53:51

I got plain cream gloss doors and I love that they are so easy to clean! Live near motorway and airport and on road so house is always dusty so grooves to be avoided.

Love my water softener grin

Have drawers instead of a pull out larder unit.

Hopasholic Sat 04-Jan-14 20:59:09

Can I pop in and give you a tip for your granite, so if they are covered in weetabix you can get it clean and shiny? Use 'method daily granite'. It cleans too so you just spray it on and go over it with an E-cloth. John Lewis or Waitrose stock it.

Glad you're pleased with your kitchen jollydiane I wish I'd gone for glass splash backs rather than tiles as the tiler made a right mess of my glass mosaics, they all slipped and look like shite!

wetaugust Sat 04-Jan-14 21:51:37

My kitchen has a large area of sloping, reduced height in one corner of the ceiling due to the stairs rising above it.

That makes opportunities for hanging wall cupboards quite limited. I hung cabinets either side and then joined the two cabinets with open shelving that runs under the reduced height part. Makes the 2 areas look more 'joined up' and makes use of what (in the old kitchen) was previously just wasted space.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 04-Jan-14 22:06:10

I think cereal boxes are specially designed not to fit in any kitchens

MmeLindor Sat 04-Jan-14 22:50:44

Marking space cause we are hoping to finally do kitchen this year.

MoreBeta Sat 04-Jan-14 22:59:16

I remember the original thread and did up a house this summer bearing those points in mind and I did use granite worktops as well.

I did every one of the things suggested in the original thread except I chose an 'all white' kitchen (but thankfully with grey grout in tiles over underfloor heating) and yes I do clean the cupboards a lot but I don't mind that.

Very good advice and glad I followed it.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 04-Jan-14 23:04:27

I have been thinking what we like about ours - did it 2.5 yrs ago
Pan drawers - great, even when hubby can't stack things properly they don't all fall out on the floor when I open them
good undercabinet lighting, imagine when you are standing chopping veg if you are blocking out the light
a big fridge
we have a mini under counter pull out pantry to fill a tiny gap next to the cooker - fantastic for herbs, spices, sauces etc
vinyl flooring - ideally with some sort of pattern - doesn't show dirt
get handles and cupboard doors which are easy to wipe clean (if they have lots of grooves in then you could find wiping up a spill annoying)
a good clear wall clock
a noticeboard - we have a half cork board/half white board and a hook next to it for the calendar
we have a small cupboard above the fridge which we dedicate to medicines, plasters, matches etc. kids can't reach it, keeps everything in one place and the medicine spoons are in the drawer nearby.

I would love more cupboard space but it isn't possible.

don't forget somewhere to store cookery books, bottles of squash etc and a veg rack.

MoreBeta Sat 04-Jan-14 23:14:21

One piece of advice I would definitely add is put extra shelves in your store cupboards.

I cut my own extra shelves from the spare materials left after the kitchen was fitted. I have added about 50% extra storage by doing this. Custom fitting my own shelves in all the spare empty space between standard shelves allows me to get extra cooking equipment in the spare empty space but without piling things on top of each other.

I am decanting all my baking ingredients (eg flour, sugar, dried fruit, nuts) into tall plastic pourable boxes so again filling drawers and cupboard completely but neatly.

Avoid buying expensive drawer inserts, cupboard wire basket inserts. That is how the kitchen firms make extra profit. Buying inserts from IKEA a lot cheaper and does the same job.

Two luxury additions. Concealed library shelving for cookery books and a satelitte cable feed and electric socket high up near the ceiling for a wall mounted TV over my work surface.

One absolute rule I had was no equipment or clutter allowed on the works surface. It is clear except for one tap over sink. Just a straight clean uncluttered slab of granite to work on.

stealthsquiggle Sat 04-Jan-14 23:25:21

I love our very black granite. Yes you have to dry it, but then it looks amazing, and you can put hot pans straight on it and it still looks fantastic after 7 years. The only regret is our gas hob. It is impossible to clean and doesn't work as well as it should. The only things stopping us replacing it with an induction hob (apart from cost) are a reluctance to be completely reliant on electricity (rural area, fairly frequent power cuts) and the fact that we would lose an exceptionally useful drawer in the process.

dontcallmemam Sun 05-Jan-14 06:31:58

MoreBeta I love your idea of decanting baking ingredients, presumably it reduces the risk of spilt bags looks at self.
The empty surface also appeals, but where do you put your kettle, toaster, coffee maker, Kenwood etc?

RandomMess Sun 05-Jan-14 10:18:35

Oh I moved onto a hob top kettle (have induction hob) amazing and never run out of hob rings. Have pan steamer stacker. Got a integrated microwave too.

Fizziebizzy Sun 05-Jan-14 11:36:47

We've just finished having a new cream gloss kitchen fitted and I love it. We got one of those pull out larder cupboards and I can't believe how much we can fit in there. The knock on effect is that I have empty space in wall cupboards as just not got enough stuff to put in them!!

We got a black glass sink surround and draining board which looked absolutely stunning in the showroom. However in real life it constantly looks grubby and smeared. I think I may develop OCD as I have never previously had polishing my sink down as an essential part of my daily life!!!

PharaohQueen Sun 05-Jan-14 13:31:31

I love the idea of having nothing on the worktop, how have you achieved this?

KareKare Sun 05-Jan-14 15:24:14

I remember the original thread as we were having building works/new kitchen too.

We went for solid oak worktops which we love. It's been painted with a plastic coating so we don't have to stress about water on it.

We love the pan drawers and larder cupboards built around the fridge (big side by side one). We didn't buy any of the fancy dividers for the big drawers - dh made them from off cuts from the kitchen, and he made extra shelves for some of the cupboards.

We had as much storage as we could get. We have a padded bench seat made from wall cupboards, so loads of extra storage in there too. I am one of those 'nothing on the worktops' people. The kettle is out, and the Nespresso machine on the other side of the kitchen, but everything else goes into cupboards.

We splashed out on a Rangemaster with induction hob and it was well worth it. We have a butler/belfast (don't know the difference) sink and no draining boards - this works really well for us.

MmeLindor Sun 05-Jan-14 20:31:01

I am determined to fit these to hide the kettle, toaster etc appliance garage.

I want the tambour doors in glass.

We had our kitchen plan finished, and this thread has made me realise that I'm not 100% sure of it and that I need to revisit.

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