Evolution of a kitchen: part 1

So everyone who knows me and Toby is nearly as excited as we are about the changes we are making to our house. After nearly 10 years of discussing renovation vs knock down rebuild vs sell, we finally decided on a 4th option. Our friends no longer have to listen to us go round and round in circles about what to do about our old, ordinary house in the fab location. Everybody wins.

The 4th option is a cheap renovation to bring the house up to a standard we can live with for less than 10 years (at which point we will start discussing options again). A bit more storage. A more open kitchen. A bath tub. Fresh paint and floors. Etc.

We did the back of the house late last year, with new wardrobes, new paint and carpet and finally a new bathroom in February. Now we are turning our attention to the front of the house – the kitchen, laundry, living area and media room/study. We are going to install an Ikea kitchen but first wanted to take out a couple of walks to open it up – it’s a classic 1950s kitchen where mum got stuck cooking in a tiny box far away from the rest of the family:

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Please forgive the terrible photo but it does give a pretty realistic look at “living with two children”. There’s the kitchen, that glimpse of aqua in the back.

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My eyes hurt just looking at this.

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Laundry plus fridge. Eek.

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Yep that’s our pantry. Plenty of space. Note the stove top with its single functioning hot plate.

We don’t know any tradies in Canberra and I was on maternity leave so couldn’t ambush people in the office kitchen to ask about their renos so to find someone to knock down the walls I went to the Canberra Mums Facebook page and did a search for builders. I wrote down a bunch that were recommended and called a few. Two came to look; one did a quote, the other declined the job but said the first quote sounded right so that’s how we ended up with the Towner Group.

Last week we packed up and moved into my awesome mother in law Di’s house for a month or so, while she’s gallivanting around South America and Cuba. Meanwhile Dan and Dylan from the Towner Group did this on their first day:

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Note how they not only removed walls and a ceiling but removed our kitchen for us too!!! I am forever impressed by how much good tradies can get done in a day and how nice it must be to really see what you’ve achieved. Bit different to wrangling small children or writing a kick-ass brief for the prime minister no one will ever read, including the prime minister.

Dan and Dylan finished up today (yes they worked the weekend). The electrician will install lights tomorrow and then it’s ready for some Ikea magic.

Here’s what we’ve got to work with now:

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So open! So light! And yes when Toby mentioned maybe putting some shelves in, Dan was like “I’ve got wood left over I’ll just build you some no worries”.

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Fresh paint!  All ready for my beautiful 900mm oven with the fully functional stove top. (I’m just a bit excited about that.)

So I think we can call our first step of the kitchen renos a success. We are so happy with how it looks and our choice of builders. Nothing was too much trouble for those guys (even putting out our bins) and they kept us 100% informed every day. Great experience all round and totally worth the hassle and expense so far.

Next step: finalising the kitchen plan. Will we agree on where to put the wine breakfast bar? Will the cupboards fit? Will we forget to put in a bin? How many Tupperware drawers does one family need, really? We are about to find out.

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