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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!

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Ooh yes, a bit of formica…

I would love to be able to reveal our transformed kitchen but sadly it is still in flux, the last few bits seem to be just taking forevs. But here’s a couple of swatches of what we are trying to do…

This book case was a nifty £7 from a pretty massive charity shop, although most of you will never see it as it is in a sad, tiny, faraway place called Harwich where we visited one disastrous day to pick up our vintage-esqu fridge. Really, that charity shop saved the day.

This collection of copper tins is from the good old Sallies, the enamel dishes and teapot from that time we drove 12 hours in France to go to a carboot sale and the cute little cream maker was £4 from the Red Cross shop in Forest Hill. Although we have tried several times we can’t make cream with it, anyone have any tips?

And this lovely little hand coffee grinder was one of those gobsmackingly silly moments where we had been traipsing round charity shops having a wildly successful day when Tim said “All I need now is a lovely little wooden hand coffee grinder”. Next shop? A lovely little hand coffee grinder for £2. Beaut.

Here is a brand new old table, something we have been searching for for a while. We really wanted a formica table with drop leaf sides, with a lovely colour. Formica tables can be a bit on the small side so despite our searching we hadn’t found anything quite right.

Then Mum and Dad went to Whitstable.

Whitstable is a flipping brilliant place. It is just a short dash away from London on the train and is full of charity shops and antique shops, has a beach to wander along/ swim in (which I did that legendary hot October weekend) and fish and chips to munch.

So, my parents visited last week. They are great, my parents. My mum is a charity shop fiend, more committed than even me I think, and my dad use to have a hard time as once he had looked at the books he was a bit stuck. So in the name of romantical married excursions my dad invested in a record player. Now he can wile away HOURS scoping out old EP’s and classics and the four of us have taken those “Oh but the Fara in Shepherds Bush is a 9/10 for trinkets” conversations to a whole new level.

So here it is our formica table, withsome of our beautiful Jessie Tate Spanish Garden Midwinter crockery placed lovingly upon it. It was £55 which we were happy to pay for a 1950’s table in perfick nick.

Right, must get my skates on. Guess where we are going today? I hope to report next Monday with a whole lot more Whitstable goodness.

Today I am once again linking up with Miss Lizzie B’s spectacular Magpie Monday – if you like all things vintage and charityage you must scope it out.

That time we drove 12 hours to go to a car boot sale

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We went to France ten days ago and, I swear, we didn’t have a clue where we were going or what to do there except that I had seen a snippet online; “the Vendee’s biggest flea market“, and being so beloved of the humble car boot,we thought that was as good a starting place as any.  And French old stuff is definitely cooler looking than English old stuff. Our lovely friends (Jenny is newly identifiable in blogville over at Talking up the good) lent us their wheels and we zipped off. We left on Friday and needed to be there for the Sunday- and after 2 days in the car we were wondering why France is so gosh darn big and whether we should have looked to see if there were any flea markets closer to Calais…

But we made it. And we had a mission, to try and find storage for all our previous cupboard incumbents, that now will sit on an open shelf in the kitchen.  We have been looking for something for ages but second hand storage is hard to find, and we try mightily to steer away from Ikea and buying anything new. There really isn’t a need as there is already way too many plastic containers on this earth. But sometimes this calling leads you to inevitably rainy and muddy corners  of Europe.

We got this load of enamel and glass, all ranging between 2 and 5 Euros, they will look perfect in our kitchen, though we may have to get rid of a little rust. And that wee kettle was idealio for our camping stove. (Also in the pic our newly revealed brick and boards as part our our kitchen overhaul woo!)On our way home, after swimming and chateaux visiting in the Loire valley we stopped in on the Paris flea markets at Porte de Montreuil and picked up another enamel thing (!), some clothes for Ramona (France do the best kids clothes no pink in sight but lots of cord and bloomers!) and an ancient cute hair clip.  All between 1 and 2 Euros.I read a thing in the Guardian yesterday about Hauling– teens doing youtube vids of the bargains they bought and I realise this isn’t much better. I am shamefaced, but I turn to you with imploring eyes and ask  “Is it not more of an achievement if I had to sift through rancid, boggle eyed stuffed otters and vintage Girly mags (old porn is still porn French people!!!!) to uncover this stuff?”

Besides, I am only doing this to INSPIRE and ENCOURAGE the world to spurn it’s new, plastic, matching set ways and discover the treasures to be found in the furriest, greasiest crevices of Jumble World. In France it is called Brocante, which sounds very much like the noise a chicken makes if you squawk it. This got us through some of our darker moments stuck in traffic on a peage (a PEAGE! I KNOW!! Ripped. Off.) Actually in hindsight every word sounds like a chicken noise if you squawk it…

We spent our last wonderful day lolling in the gardens at Versailles. Then the car, um, broke down. But  that’s a story for another day…

Now we’re cooking with gas…

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You may remember that upon moving into this home we did a quick and dirty makeover on our hideous kitchen– EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO TO THIS DAY. We were going to leave it in this shabby chic glory… but then we found an oven.
It is a 1950’s gas oven, left in the street, destined for the dump. We had to salvage that puppy. And, well, I guess we need a kitchen to honour it. It would just be  RUDE to leave our nineties laminate flooring  at it’s feet, and a countrified, fake beamed ceiling at it’s brow. So Tim is ripping it all out now, as I speak, thrashing around all handsome and sweaty with his sledgehammer.

We are going for the industrial vintage look, with some stand alone cupboards we found in the same place as the oven and a few other cheap, old things we have found from ebay. The original floor boards will be revealed and we have a bit of an old massive organ to use as a shelf.

At the moment it looks like a bombsite…

but soon and very soon it will look THE BOMB.