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Our recycled kitchen – a makeover from new to old

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Around this time last year I posted that my dearly beloved had ripped out the kitchen due to us finding a retro cooker that we wanted to install. It just felt rude to bung such a nice nostalgic beast in our existing Nineties kitchen so we decided to let our love of all things old reign supreme.

Another year later and it is about time I did the final update, our makeover from new to old.

The before pictures aren’t terribly good. They never are, eh?  I think this is because there is often nowt to shine, but also because of some deep reluctance to spend too much time peering at it all. Let’s just say there was ALOT of pine cladding.

Left hand side BEFORE

A low hanging ceiling with weird fake beams. Laminate flooring covering up stunning Victorian boards.

A huge pantry – it was an original, ancient cooling sytem but it just took up so much space. A boring tin sink with an ill fitting cabinet.

It was all so very dark and dreary.

*extreme makeover  voice* It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears but here is our new bright and cheery family kitchen….

We ripped out the cupboards. We were lucky to find some exactly matching vintage tiles in the basement of a derelict house round the corner, we popped those up to cover the spaces we’d exposed.

Tim runs a youth club in the place I used to go to Seacadets as a kid- they were chucking out the old benches so we made shelves out of them. The very benches I would have been resting my sorry, freckly young ten year old self.

The enamel tins are our new pantry- we found them in France when we drove 12 hours to a car boot.

And we pulled the excellent bench tops out of someone’s skip (with permission, of course!)

These are old lights from a butchers- we found them on Ebay, £17 for the pair. To find them we didn’t type “vintage” or even “traditional” but “trditional.” Is it terribly wrong to benefit from other people’s mistakes?

Tim found this whole sink for £25 on Gumtree, and got to grips with plumbing to install it. Using some old table tops and doors from an old cabinet he carpentered a unit for it. (Cor, Kiwis are bloody ace. Do marry one, if you can.) The tiles, we  swapped with a local cafe, in exchange for building them some veg beds.

The retro blind is really a sneaky table cloth, and some of our Midwinter crockery sits upon a shelf we found in a bin and painted blue, and you can also spy the hooks I made from vintage spoons.

And here is the star of the show, our beguiling old oven. He was casted off, into the streets, along with these cupboards either side. A good clean, and a lick of paint on the cupboard doors, and they add a cheer from yesteryear to our kitchen.

When our fridge broke we took the opportunity to get one that fitted in with our theme. We had to hire a van to bring it home from the furtherest corner of Essex but we are so glad we did. It isn’t that old so is still efficient (although its huuummmm would tell you otherwise) but hails from the States which is why it looks so different. It has an ice maker much to my husband’s utter joy.

And this little corner adds a little pop of colour – we found it in someone’s garden and snazzied it up with some paint.

We had help with plastering the ceiling, and Tim picked up enough to some other walls, but other places we just exposed the brick. I love the texture of all the rubbly walls, recycled wood and shiny, colourful kitchen paraphernalia.

We spend such a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking, drinking coffee and eating so we are pleased we did this, despite saying we initially wouldn’t bother. I know it isn’t your usual makeover, and loads of you are possibly looking at the BEFORE pictures thinking it looks miles better HAARHA. But we love it’s quirky little self, it gets my heart all a flutter.

What do you reckon on this cornicopia of found objects?

PS The small and superior photos were taken by Jenny Harding during the Pretty Nostalgic shoot. She does a lot of gorgeous vintage style shoots.

PPS I’d love you to enter my giveaway – retro and Cath Kidston fabric, a 1982 Twinkle, a Midwinter tea cup and a glue gun! (An obvious mix!) Come over and say hi!

36 responses »

  1. Cannot tell you how much I adore this makeover! Just gorgeous and a lesson in retro-fitting in a responsible, environment friendly way. Can’t decide whether I am more in love with the cooker, the white and green cupboards or that brilliant sink.

    Jem xXx

    • Ah, thanks so much Jem! Yep, I find it so so odd when people kit out in brand new, earth’s resource draining retro style- when truly there is better made stuff to be dug out. I think people still struggle with the concept of secondhand, even while loving the look.

  2. This is so wonderful! I love what you’ve done to your kitchen in every way. Your sink, lights, cooker and accessories are gorgeous, and all so thrifty. You should feel mighty proud of yourself by creating such a vintage kitchen haven x

  3. That is a *gorgeous* kitchen. I love the way you’ve incorporated so many found elements into something so beautiful. Inspring 🙂

  4. This is possibly the best house makeover project I have ever come across! It’s just perfect! The thrifty aspect of it must make you even more proud of the result.

  5. So shabby chic! My cousin in in the midsts of Shabby chic-ing her kitchen, foyer, dining, and living room with antiques and some of the original wood in the house. It is much darker but so unique! What I like is that each space is so unique — a nest no one else has. It’s actually one of the reasons I don’t care for modern or even 50s decor…sure it’s “nice” and even “sexy” but there’s no individuality.

    • Actually since doing this I joined Pinterest and realised that I hadn’t made up this open shelves, tin thing! It’s kind of a popular look, must have been subliminally impacted by something 🙂

  6. Oh Luuuuu, I want to marry your kitchen. So so great to have such beautiful snaps of it! Those cupboards and the cooker are totes my fav bit. And the fridge. Oh oh, and the open shelves. And the blind! Ok, I’m moving in.

  7. Lucy, I LOVE your new kitchen 🙂 Everything about it is just awesome.. I want your house! Please come to NZ and design me a mint house just like yours!!! love love love it 😀

  8. That kitchen is beautiful. Would you like to pop over and do mine? 😉

  9. Gosh, this is all just STUNNING. You guys must know that all the blood sweat and tears were well worth it. I love that you have thought of every little detail and upcycled boring bits to colour happy bits. Well done, enjoy! xox Penelope

  10. Who could honestly think it looked better before?? Huge improvement. Well done. Mine needs lots of work… One day!

  11. Speechless. I just love you more and more with every blog post.

  12. Just shows that it is worth reusing objects to make some wonderful and more personal to you 🙂

  13. Congratulations on the makeover. I know how much work was involved. My kitchen is definitely a work in progress but I’m happy with my bathroom (even though it needs basic things like tiles!!!). It inspires me to get on with the kitchen again and make it even more of a family space (the house has been even more neglected since I have a new obsession – an allotment).

    • It is funny how new obsessions come along and sweep everything else away – I am so very much like this. Even struggling with my blog a tiny bit as I have begun work on another personal passion of mine – an ethical Christmas Fair. Must. Keep. Blogging!!!

  14. Aha aha, so has Tim had any sleep at all this year? Looks fantastic though, so cosy.

  15. Your made-over kitchen looks dreamy and wonderful.

  16. Your kitchen looks awesome. Waaay better than its before shot. I love your oven and all of your other bits. Fantastic.

  17. i’m a little late in replying but wow, wow, wow. i LOVE the “new” kitchen. you did a fabulous job. love the stove – is that a warming space between the oven and the burners? and is that your washing machine in the kitchen? we experienced that quite a bit when we were travelling in scotland. i love that idea. most north americans hide their washers in their basements and then end up schlepping clothing up and down stairs. why not have that machine where you are most of the time? anyway, i think your new kitchen is brilliant. well done!


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