Newlywed & Renovating: kitchen planning

u-shape-kitchen-render

Snaccident’, ‘un croissant s’il vous plaît’, ‘a guide to wine’ – so say the typographical prints on my kitchen planning décor wishlist, alongside around 50 others I simply can’t decide on. They are primed for me to finally press buy, ready to adorn my brand-new kitchen-diner – and it’s tantalisingly close.

My husband Marcus and I started thinking about kitchen planning and the design early on, as the builders had to know where items such as the ducting for the extractor, the sink – which needed new plumbing – and the electrics for the ovens, hob, and fridge had to go. In terms of layout, we had decided even before the build began that the dining area would be in the new extension – close to the bi-fold doors and sited neatly under the skylight – and the kitchen in the old part of the house.

kitchen-renovation

We were able to include bespoke details such as the wine storage and cook book shelf at the end of the peninsula.

After years of living in a small two-bedroom maisonette, we had a few wishlist items. The new space was to be very sociable, so had to have enough room for formal dining and informal seating at a breakfast bar.

Opposite this, I wanted an induction hob so I could cook while chatting with guests, plus plenty of worktop space for food preparation, enough storage – without making the space claustrophobic – and an efficient arrangement between appliances and the sink. Dreaming of modern Shaker-style cabinetry, I wanted a really dark colour – but Marcus vetoed black early on.

In the end, I convinced him to go for Graphite cabinetry – the closest I could get to black. To begin our search, we went to all the well-known high-street stores and started to narrow down the design. The kitchen planning was in full swing – and I was excited.

kitchen-progress-renovation

Life on a construction site…but things are getting exciting.

With at least three quotes in my pocket, I wasn’t entirely happy – so, on a whim, contacted independent retailer Taylor Wright Kitchens whose showroom I often drive past. “I don’t want to waste your – or my – time,” was the first thing I said when I called. “ This is the budget, do you think you can do something for us?” Fully expecting the manager to hang up on me due to our limited price range, I was pleasantly surprised when he invited us in.

Around a week later, we had a beautiful mock-up and a competitive quote, including appliances and worktops.

Comparing all our offers, knowing I could get a high-quality real-wood kitchen with beautifully made carcasses plus bespoke elements and all of our wishlist items, it was an easy decision. As soon as we paid the deposit, we gave the plans to the builders and waited.

flush-ceiling-extractor-fitting

The ceiling extractor being fitted.

You may also enjoy: Gas or induction: pros and cons of hobs

The design is a U-shape including an oak breakfast bar. Parallel to this is the large induction hob, sitting flush within the white Carrara marble-effect quartz worktop.

The ceiling extractor also fits flush, so it doesn’t interrupt the sightline into the garden.

An integrated fridge, with a smaller freestanding freezer in the utility, suits our cooking style. We have a kidney bean corner cabinet – a shelf that fully pulls out – for accessible storage, some bespoke spice racks either side of large pan drawers, and a cookbook area and wine rack at the end of the peninsula.

The cabinet doors show the wood grain, adding interest and contrasting the veined work surface. I think the run of floor-to-ceiling units gives a more high-end look, while having no wall cabinets lets as much light in as possible, despite the dark cabinets.

I was worried designing the kitchen planning would be the hardest part of the renovation – but having a wishlist, knowing how we wanted to use the space, and being honest about our budget actually made it one of the easiest and most enjoyable.

Featured image: The CAD image of our new kitchen is slowly becoming reality.

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