A Home Renovation

A Home Renovation

Without a doubt, our kitchen has been the most difficult design, material, and budget challenge.

We knew early on that we wanted a large, black, monolithic galley, “like the control deck of the Death Star,” as my Star Wars-obsessed husband, Sean, characterised it!

So, how do you accomplish a minimalist design, a statement black colour that doesn’t seem frigid, enough cupboard space to operate as a kitchen, ‘plant’ room, and cloakroom storage, all on a small budget?

Kitchen layout

I started with flooring because we’ve always wanted a polished concrete slab, and I was shocked when I got some bids because I had no clue concrete could be so pricey!

We were fortunate to come across a local company whose main business is constructing all of the floors for Gatwick airport, and they also offer poured-resin granite floors for residential buildings as a sideline. The quote was significantly cheaper, and we are extremely pleased with the outcome.

We returned to a former kitchen supplier to discuss our idea – Kitchen Warehouse , a family-run firm situated in Yorkshire that not only manufactures incredibly high-quality kitchens at a very reasonable price, but also provides excellent customer service.

I described to Daniel, their kitchen designer, our intention to have a part-factory-produced, portion kitchen and asked if he’d be willing to collaborate with us to develop a one-of-a-kind design.

Daniel understood our concept right away and agreed to supply us with a carcass-only order, assisting us with the details of the design and supporting us every step of the way, even modifying a cabinet size while it was being manufactured in the workshop!

Materials for the kitchen

So, for the cabinet doors, I got 18mm thick BB quality birch ply from Leading Edge CNC in Lewes, which could be millimetre perfect cut to a exact specs of all 53 door dimensions.

Adam at the Spray Centre in Peacehaven stained the ply black and applied a matt lacquer top coat (who was so patient with my often-stupid questions: “Adam, can you sand this same face and edges of a doors already when you spray them?” to which he gently replied, “Georgia, we’re inside the spraying biz as well as dust is our nemesis…”!)

A cut-to-size 20mm thick, broad stave, oak worktop from Good Timber; a deep stainless trough sink; integrated appliances; featured pendant lighting; and an induction burner were among the more straightforward choices. We were all set to depart.

Our carpenter Ben and his team, Bob and Ken, had the kitchen up and running in just two days – like a jigsaw puzzle, each component slotted in, and…ta dah: a kitchen.

I am quite proud of what we have accomplished and of the people that have assisted us.

A lovely setting

Our restaurant is monolithic & minimalist, but it’s also warmed by oak wood, softened by view of hedgerow thru the backsplash window, and it truly comes to life in the evening when we switch off the bright spots and the pendant lights make space glow.

The cabinet doors are stunning in my opinion – they are a floor a ceiling wall of slate grey at first glance, but the closer you look, the more the natural grain of the plywood shows through, producing captivating ebony rivers and swirls.

The underfloor heating works beautifully thru the resin concrete floor, heating my feet as I prepare fish fingers for the kids.

The tall pocket door cabinet that created so many headaches for our construction team perfectly conceals all of the unsightly but necessary culinary gear of kettle, toaster, and coffee machine.

The powder pink drapes and our blush-topped ply dining table soften the monochromes. Plants in pots strewn throughout the room add nature into the space.

We haven’t, thankfully, designed a kitchen inspired by a set from a Star Wars film, but it is our home’s command centre. It is where meals are consumed, coffee is exchanged, emails are sent, schoolwork is unwillingly completed, board games are played, and bottles of wine are opened. It is the beating heart of our family.

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