Out of all of the rooms in our house, the kitchen and dining room has to be the room which has seen the most amount of change (and I’ve popped some before photos in a little carousel at the bottom of this post so you can take a look). When we bought this house, the kitchen and dining room were actually two separate rooms and we had no intention of knocking through, ( I actually had my heart set on a dark cosy dining room with deep blue paint and lots of greenery), but a passing comment to Stu while we were planning out the kitchen meant the wall was down within two weeks of getting the keys! I never actually thought he’d go ahead with it but I’m so glad he did because we now have this lovely big space which is perfect for entertaining and keeping an eye on two small children. Kitchen dining room renovation
The conversation about knocking down the wall between the two rooms came about because we wanted a space that was practical for a growing family. As much as I’d imagined having dinner parties in my deep blue dining room, it was never going to happen with small children (who for one wont go to bed!) and most likely would have ended up as a junk room for storing toys. We both liked the idea of having a breakfast bar where the children could eat breakfast, chatting to us while we prepared their lunch and so opening up the two rooms seemed the most practical way to use the space.
Because we were in the middle of converting the loft to create a fourth bedroom, taking down the wall between the two rooms wasn’t as straight forward as knocking through the wall because we needed additional structural support to hold the top floor. Luckily our friend is a builder who was able to recommend a structural engineer and he provided plans for us to follow. The additional steel he advised us to add to support the third floor blew our budget for the rest of the house meaning progress on the rest of the rooms took a lot longer than planned, but I’d still say it was worth it.
We’re very fortunate in the fact that Stu is a Plumbing and Heating Engineer by trade and so is pretty handy when it comes to renovation work. We also have a lot of friends in the trades who were able to help us out with our build which saved us a lot of money. As well as knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, we also bricked up the back door which provided much more wall space to hang cupboards to off set the space that was lost by loosing a wall. The door was originally situated where our two glass fronted cupboards are now hung, so hopefully you can see what a big difference this made to the design of the kitchen.
When it came to the design of the kitchen, I have to admit that I’ve kind of just pieced it together as I’ve moved along. We had a navy blue wall in the living room of our previous flat which I loved and so I really wanted to incorporate that colour in our kitchen / diner in some way. Originally I had thought about having navy kitchen units with white walls in the dining room, but I knew this wouldn’t give me the cosy intimate feel I was aiming for and so eventually after lots and lots of deliberating we decided on a grey kitchen with blue walls in the dining room. Stu wasn’t keen on the idea of the blue initially as he thought it would make the space feel too small so I had to introduce it slowly wall by wall starting with the chimney breast. Eventually we compromised on two walls being blue and the remaining wall staying white, but I wasn’t happy as I thought it looked too bare . Shortly after Ollie was born I ordered a couple of prints from Gayle Mansfield to brighten it up and this sparked my idea to create a gallery wall.
Kitchen before we added the gallery wall
The gallery wall now
Choosing Colours Kitchen dining room renovation
I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to designing rooms because I like so many styles that I find myself drowning in inspiration if I look on Pinterest. I find pinning down just one idea extremely hard, but because I knew I wanted to incorporate blue in some way, I kind of took this as my starting point. The blue we had in the previous flat was Breton Blue by Dulux but when I painted the chimney breast that colour, it looked too bright and saturated and so the hunt began to find something deeper. Many hours of Pinterest scrolling later, I discovered Hauge Blue by Farrow and Ball which exactly the deep, dramatic colour i’d been looking for and so out came the paint pots and I repainted the wall.
I chose the greys in the kitchen, purely as a means to complement the blue. I continually find myself drawn to Scandinavian design as I love the contrast between light and dark so I chose a cool grey colour which would work with the blue. We got our kitchen from DIY kitchens as recommended by a friend who is a kitchen fitter and they were great. They are an online based kitchen shop with prices that are much more affordable than anything you’d find in a kitchen showroom and for a little extra money you can have your cupboards colour matched to any of the Farrow and Ball colours. I know this seems a little excessive because it is just paint, but you have a kitchen for such a long time, I didn’t want to be disappointed if the shade of grey wasn’t exactly what I’d been looking. I’d been to a Farrow and Ball showroom and colour matched Hauge Blue with Plummett Grey, so this is what we went for. Then I chose Wevet for the walls as its slightly cooler than brilliant white and so makes the space seem brighter. Im really happy with how well all these colours work together so the hours of deliberation were worth it.
For the flooring we were originally going to go for a herringbone pattern in oak, but because we’re still undecided as to whether we will open up this space further and build a kitchen extension onto the back of the house, we didn’t want to invest too much money into something we might later have to rip up. In the end we chose a simple grey laminate from B&Q which is doing a job for the time being, but we know it’s not durable enough to last forever – especially with Ollie launching his water cup onto the floor at every meal time.
Our worktops were another budget saver which we got from a company called Bushboard, (again as recommended by our friend the kitchen fitter). I wanted a light, bright finish but with no sparkle. Bushboard worktops are made from a solid composite material, giving the look and finish of granite or quartz without the associated cost. At first glance you really can’t tell the difference between the two materials and so I’m glad we found this option as it saved us thousands. We added a Belfast sink because we had one in the old flat and I just love the the look of them and the fact you can hide your washing up easily if friends call in unexpected. Again we just sourced this one from a company on eBay and it was delivered within a week. Our friend (the kitchen fitter) cut some grooves into the worktop next to the sink to provide additional drainage for the drying dishes and this has been really useful.
Whilst I enjoy cooking, I’ve learned over the years that I enjoy a tidy kitchen more and so after fighting to keep the gas rings clean in our previous flat, I knew I wanted something sleeker here so we bought and induction hob which I can just wipe over as Im cleaning the rest of the worktops. Originally we bought a really cheap one in the sale from B&Q but it blew up, so we invested a little more in the one we have now and its been really reliable.
Because there are quite a lot of things going on in the dining room, I wanted to keep the tiling simple so we chose a metro tiole from Topps Tiles with a bevelled edge and teamed it with a light grey grout.
I’m not a huge fan of eye level cupboards as I much prefer an open shelf to make it interesting, but because we needed to box in the boiler along the back wall, we opted for eye level cupboards either side of the extractor fan with a space for shelving and nick naks next to the sink. Im so happy we done this as I think the space allows more light to come in from the window making the whole kitchen brighter.
The breakfast bar really is the hub of the two rooms and we really have to stop ourselves using it as a dumping ground for all Stus paperwork or bits and pieces that need put away. Despite creating extra wall space by bricking up the back door, we’re still low on storage in the kitchen and so we’ve created a hidden cupboard on the dining room side of the breakfast bar where we keep the recycling bin together with our garden plates and cutlery. If we were to do the back extension, the first thing I would do would be to design in a more practical space for the bin because where we have it now is really annoying but there really wasn’t another option in the space we were working with.
Finishing Touches Kitchen dining room renovation
As much as I love monochrome I also love pops of colour – mainly pink and so I decided to go all out with the stools and found these metal tolix ones on line which I love! They are a little higher than I gave them credit for and when they first arrived I kept pestering Stu to saw the bottoms off them, but now we’ve had them a while I’m kind of used to them.
The large Arcea Palm in the corner of the dining room pays homage to the dark navy and green dining room I had initially planned. This one is from the local garden centre, but there is useful information at Tree Centre if you’d like to find out more.
The cast iron fire place is one of my favourite features in this kitchen. I know its not in-keeping with the age of the house, but who says you need to follow a rule book. We sourced this one and another from local dealer in West Sussex and I couldn’t be happier with them. I love how the black fire works with the blue wall and it makes it feel really cosy, particularly in the winter.
The big window mirror is from Cox and Cox and I love the way that it opens up the room. We always wanted a mirror for above this fireplace but it took me ages to save for one so I really appreciate it now it’s here.
The shelving unit is from Very and I find it very useful for displaying my nick naks and continuing the little pops of pink around the room. Eventually i’d like to add a big neon sign in this corner but that will have to wait until we’ve finished other rooms in the house. Finally the art on gallery wall is from a range of places, but I have wrote a whole post covering that in more detail here.
I guess the main piece of advice I would give to anyone planning out a kitchen is to not get too bogged down in the design at the beginning as it’s the little touches you add at the end that really make a difference. I’ve planned this kitchen as I’ve gone along and couldn’t be happier with the final design. Your home is meant to reflect your personality so it’s natural that rooms will evolve and grow with you over time. Don’t worry if you can’f afford an inframe kitchen or granite worktops because more often than not there will be a cheaper alternative out there, meaning you’ll have more budget to dress the space at a later date.
Ive made a list below if all the products we’ve used and where they are from. If I missed anything just drop me an email or message on Instagram.
Kitchen – DIY Kitchens
Work Tops – Bushboard – they actually published a Case Study of our kitchen renovation on their site
Sink – eBay
Flooring – end of the line sale similar here: B&Q
Wall Tiles – Topps Tiles
Window Mirror : Cox and Cox
Lights – These are no longer available but I’ve found similar here
Chairs – Ebay
Paint – Farrow & Ball (Wevet and Hauge Blue)
Stools – Sklum
Shelves – Very