Category Archives: Kitchen diner

You’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties….

We knew our kitchen diner would be the perfect party space. We knew.

Last weekend our theory was proved correct as we held an absolutely awesome party! It was exactly a year on from our Mexican housewarming party and a chance to show our lovely guests what we had achieved in a year.

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Oly a year ago, standing where our kitchen island now is

This year, we hosted a black-tie cocktail party, fitting for our new elegant surroundings. There were house tours and then overly-strong cocktail mixing (thanks to a friend mistaking the double measure for the single!). There was super-competitive beer pong followed by a bit of a disco. We fell into bed at 6am.

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Due to a high prevalence of lurgy and prior engagements we had less people than we had originally anticipated but the 25 people or so who did make it were absolutely swallowed up in our wonderful kitchen diner. We probably could have had that number again with no problems. Well, our neighbours may not have agreed.

Anyway, here’s just a brief snapshot:

Just this brief glimpse hopefully shows what a great time we had and how happy we were to be able to host.

It also made us reflect how lucky we are to have lovely people nearby to invite into our home – people who know how to live life to the full, how to have a laugh and – importantly – how to just accept each other for exactly as we are.

Our friends from earlier parts of our lives – growing up and uni – are incredibly dear to us but live in other parts of the country; though we frequently long to be closer.

Over the years since uni we made some close local friends but – on the whole – we found ourselves with more friends miles away than those close by.

Me and my lovely Emma

Me and my lovely Emma

That was until a couple of years ago when we went to Corfu for the wedding of an exceedingly lovely Lovely; I was her first boss and she’s now a very successful journalist.

Anyway, in Corfu we met her childhood friends (who I had already heard so much about I felt as if I knew them) and instantly fell in love with them and they, happily, with us. We’re now privileged and thankful to call them our own friends and adore spending time with them.

So, at the start of 2014 we’ve found we have lots to be thankful for. And, obviously, we’re already planning our next party.

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Kitchen diner – the big reveal

We’ve been terrible teases and not posted full shots of our lovely new kitchen diner. We may now have over-compensated by posting absolutely loads of pictures!

Anyway, head on over to this page to see the lot. And please do leave us your comments on that page – would be great to hear what you think!

Before you go, here’s the obligatory before and after shots.

Now go and view the rest of the pics!

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Floored by the choices

We’ve never bought a floor before, just carpet or a bit of lino. So getting the floor right for our kitchen diner was a little bit daunting.

Thankfully Kitchen Guy was, as ever, on hand to ply us (get it?!) with the best advice.

We always knew we wanted an engineered wood floor and Kitchen Guy recommended Tuscan Flooring as the best range – he really likes the way it goes together and the finished look. He’s had lots of happy customers with this product.

So, that helped narrow the choices. Not sure where we’d have begun otherwise – our usual internet trawl would’ve been most likely. But then we were actually floored by the choices available.

Brushed? Oiled? Lacquered? Scraped? 1 strip? 3 strip? Natural? Brushed? Elite? Sealed with the tears of a unicorn? Distressed? We certainly were.

Rather than offering a technical and sensible way to choose a floor we wanted a guide that was more like:

Prone to scratching? Moi?

  • Looks great
  • Cat friendly
  • Doesn’t scratch easily
  • Suitable for lazy people who don’t want to clean it all the time
  • Won’t need oiling or sanding every few years (or, heaven forbid, more often)
  • Doesn’t require a second mortgage

There was only one way to settle the never-ending choices in the range and that was to look at actual samples. Once we did this it became surprisingly straightforward.

We didn’t want something that was actually wood but looked like laminate due to an unnatural lacquer, we wanted to retain the warmth and character of real wood – or, what’s the point in having an engineered floor?

Importantly, we wanted something that wasn’t too perfect, something we wouldn’t be worried about marking or scratching. Something we wouldn’t be worried about any house guests scratching or marking.

Got wood?

Got wood?

We got slightly confused by the fact that a real wood floor – we were really liking the Golden Oak hand distressed and lacquered – was actually coming out cheaper per square metre than engineered.

Kitchen Guy put us straight on that one – engineered is, as the name suggests, more expensive due to having had more done to it. Solid wood wouldn’t be suitable for our room anyway because we’d need a joist down the centre of it (our floor is half concrete and very uneven/sloping in places).

So, back on to engineered wood we settled on the natural brushed and lacquered in the Elite range.  It ticked all the boxes and came with a whopping 25 year residential guarantee. Can’t say fairer than that. (The solid wood, it’s worth noting, only had a 10year guarantee).

And the result is fabulous, we love it.

Needs a good clean from all the dust but looks ace!

Needs a good clean from all the dust but looks ace!

It’s totally transformed the room and given it a real warmth that beautifully offsets the grey of the cupboards and the walls.

(Notice our newly fitted skirting.  Painted in Farrow and Ball All White estate eggshell, by our own fair hands)

Was it expensive? Yep, ‘fraid so – especially as we needed 40 square metres of the stuff. But here’s hoping the durability is as good as it says it is but we’re pretty certain it’ll look even better in years to come once it’s picked up a few more knocks and scrapes. Just like wood is intended to look.

So, our floor has, quite literally, given us the wood we’ve always wanted.

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A 32 hour lesson

We both work in corporate communications. A large part of our day is spent clarifying messages, aiding understanding and making sure everyone knows the score. Clearly, we can’t be arsed to do that outside of work or the disaster that was last weekend would never have occurred.

A major misunderstanding with Kitchen Guy went something like:

“Just checking, you are doing all the painting in the kitchen diner, right?”
“Erm, no.”
“But we thought that was what we’d agreed – you do everything, we don’t need to touch any of it.”
“Except the decorating. I don’t do painting.”
“But you did the painting on the job you did for our friends, you did everything for them whilst they were on holiday.”
“No, they paid for a decorator to do the painting, I just organised it.”
“Ah. So, can we add it on to the job now?”
“No chance. That’s 2 weeks of a professional decorator’s time.”
“Ah.”

Head in Hands

Dawning realisation

So, it kind of explained our bemusement at the order of work thus far. We did wonder why they put spotlights into the ceiling before painting them and radiators onto bare plastered walls etc. Just kept putting it down to “Ooooo, I guess that’s how professionals do it. Isn’t it fascinating?”

We also wondered why Kitchen Guy gave an ‘am I meant to care?’ look when we told him the paint had been delivered and was stacked in the hallway.

As we marvelled at our incredible stupidity our choices loomed sharply into focus.

1) Pay for a pro when the job is complete. (Meaning the kitchen diner wouldn’t be finished for another few weeks and it would cost a fair whack, which we don’t really have left for this room.)

2) Do the painting ourselves when the kitchen was installed – being incredibly careful not to get paint on our new cupboards, floor, appliances, granite etc etc (Note: We are not incredibly careful people and masking up a job of that size would take FOREVER.)

3) Stop whining, refuse to believe it’s 2 weeks work for a professional decorator and that it’s totally beyond a pair of amateurs and get the f***on with it. It’s only painting after all.

Yes, dear readers, we went for option 3. Because we are stupid and stubborn.

So, in one weekend we:

      • Mist coated 2 ceilings (watered down emulsion to seal the bare plaster)
      • Mist coated all the walls
      • Sanded, undercoated and two 2 coats on the coving
      • Slapped 2 coats on the walls


At this point it seems only fair to remind you that the space we are working in is pretty big and the ceiling is about 3 metres from the ground. And, we had no light as the electrics aren’t yet wired up. Impressed yet? You bloody should be.

All in, this took us 32 hours. Each.

So, 64 hours – yep, Kitchen Guy was right: 2 weeks work for a pro.

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Cornforth White, All White and Great White

Did we do a great job? Well, to be honest, it wasn’t bad considering. We didn’t sand down nicks on the walls in between coats, we didn’t have time but, all in, we were pretty proud – especially when, this week, we were complimented on our finish by a very experienced tradesman. We still have woodwork to finish off but that’ll be much easier to tackle, even with everything installed.

Farrow and Ball greys

There was a lot of surface to cover

What we learnt:

      • Clarify exactly what is included when you hire any tradesman (yeah, yeah, basic principle, we know, we shouldn’t have had to learn this the hard way, blah blah blah)
      • 32 hours is a serious amount of hours to put into one weekend and it is not recommended, however keen you think you are. 
      • Painting on that level can make you hurt in places you had no idea could hurt that doesn’t subside for days and inexplicable bruising will appear
      • When rollering, small specks of paint make you look like you have the pox and will alarm the local shop keeper when popping out for a pint of milk
      • Painting high ceilings is undoubtedly the most evil job ever (especially when you’re only 5’3’’)
      • Farrow and Ball paint is worth every last goddamn penny as it goes on like a dream and the finish is amazing – we ain’t never looking back
      • A sense of humour, and a little whisky, can get you through just about anything
Downpipe cabinet

We’re really pleased with the colours

There’s also a slight satisfaction that whilst Kitchen Guy is doing an amazing job and we were quite happy to hand the whole lot over (and indeed thought we had) there’s something quite satisfying about knowing our own blood, sweat and tears are in that room now.

Above all, our 32 hour lesson has taught us that, if we put our mind to it, we can do it. So the rest of the house feels a tiny bit less daunting now.

Bring it on.

His n hers

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Kitchen diner cabinets added

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Cabinets are in place!

Tall cupboards with space for fridge freezer

Tall cupboards with space for fridge freezer

First glance at our Down Pipe wall cupboards!

First glance at our Down Pipe wall cupboards!

Very happy with this colour!

Very happy with this Farrow & Ball colour!

Spot the difference!

Spot the difference!

That's a lot of flooring. But then, there's a lot of floor.

That’s a lot of flooring. But then, there’s a lot of floor.

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Kitchen diner progress

Progress is being made at a steady rate.

Day 6 progress

Day 6 progress

Already it’s becoming hard to remember what this was all like before.

Coming home from work today was like walking into a warehouse. Do we really live here?!

Kitchen cabinets delivered

Our kitchen cabinets have been delivered!

Warehouse hallway

No idea where they’d have put it all without the massive hallway!

BooBoo

BooBoo checks that everything has been delivered to his exact specification. He’s a very exacting bear.

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Classically contemporary colour

We’ve had an exciting delivery from Farrow and Ball!

Farrow and Ball delivery

Amongst the delivery was all our paint for the dining kitchen. Here’s what we’re having:

Farrow and Ball Down Pipe

Down Pipe for the cupboard doors

Farrow and Ball  Railings

Railings for the central island and table legs

Farrow and Ball cornforth white

Cornforth White for the walls and shelving

Farrow and Ball strong white

Strong White for the ceilings

Farrow and Ball all white

All White for the cornice and all woodwork

Farrow and Ball lotus BP 2061

Lotus wallpaper for the chimney breast

So, whilst it’s fair to say we looked away when we paid for this little lot – we’re confident it will totally be worth it.

The colour scheme may not be to everyone’s taste (“Grey? Euggggh” was one reaction) but we’re really excited by it and reckon it’ll look both classic and contemporary, allowing accent colours to stand out but not dominate.

And the best bit, we only have to wait a couple more weeks to find out!

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EDITED TO ADD:  Want to see how this turned out? Sure you do! Head on over to this post to find out.

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