(German version here/ Deutsche Version hier)
After moving from Germany to England two years ago, we quickly moved into our own house. When we moved in we knew right away that we needed to renovate the kitchen. What needed to be done:
- New floor – the old wooden floor was completely destroyed by water damage and mold. Moreover, the old floor was not completely tight, we found holes and slugs could crawl through these holes
- new kitchen cabinets – the old ones were very cheaply made, almost fell apart and were destroyed in many corners by water damage
- new patio door – the old one was just not that nice, so this was more cosmetic
- new roof on the annex – unfortunately it was not completely tight
- new wall on the extension (the wall bordering the neighbor) – we didn’t know that before, but the builders found out that the bordering wall was just a garden wall, not a real insulated wall
- new longitudinal steel beam: we were going to put that in anyway, but luckily we did. Because longitudinally there was no steel beam installed at all, although it was a bearing wall before. Just a metal box…luckily we replaced that, I don’t know how long that would have lasted otherwise (that metal box lasted an entire bathroom and roof since the old load bearing wall was removed years ago)
- New plaster, primer & paint: there was mold in one corner, of course it had to be removed. In addition, there was a layer of primer, which works as a moisture barrier. Plus a special paint that helps against moisture. As a wall paint, we chose a paint that is especially suitable for kitchens.
Here are a few before photos. All around the sink was actually unusable, the countertop, the floor, the joints, the sink:
The extension and the door to the terrace looked nice and open and bright at first glance. However, the roof was leaking, the wall on the left was not a real insulated wall and we just did not like the white plastic doors.
After removing the cabinets, it was easy to see that a full on renovation was needed. Mold, water damage, etc:
Then there were also all of our new design ideas:
- we wanted to change the access to the kitchen: the kitchen had two doors because of the extension, so we decided to get rid of one door. To do this, we wanted to widen the other access. That meant inserting steel beams. So in addition to the longitudinal steel beam, we also had to put in a transverse one. Imagine a T on the extension!
- Underfloor heating: we wanted to have tiles installed and of course they are very cold on your feet. In addition, we wanted to avoid a radiator in the kitchen and with underfloor heating it gets warm enough very quickly (the room is not so big).
- New windows and new skylight: we chose anthracite, because it usually looks more high quality than white, especially because we wanted to have a glass roof
- The washing machine went in the bathroom, which is super atypical for the UK. I think all the locals here are always very surprised when they see the washing machine in the bathroom. But you can’t just simply put the washing machine in the bathroom. The washing machine must always be built in here in the UK and the switch for the plug must be outside the bathroom. We found a washing machine in the kitchen simply impractical (our laundry basket is in the bathroom anyway) and so we now have more space in the kitchen for storage.
A few photos from the renovation phase:
In terms of demoing we tried to do as much as possible ourselves, to save some costs.
This is the door/ access to the kitchen we got rid of. Two doors for such a small room a waste of space.
By the way, this was the newly dug trench for the new toilet access. But more about that another time! Below, you can see the steel beam being installed (the bricks below the steel are from the old door on the left, which was extended). In the background also the new wall:
By the way, this is how we had to cook for weeks. Definitely camping vibes:
What cost us the most money and stress: The new glass roof!
Installation of the underfloor heating:
Choosing the right tiles wasn’t so easy:
We decided to go with wood look tiles. I never thought I would choose those. But for Jesse and I, they were the perfect compromise. Jesse wanted a nice wood tone, I preferred white, so we went with this light colored option:
There was really a lot to do! I think now you understand why it took so long, is still ongoing and why it was quite expensive. I don’t have the exact budget as we also did the bathroom at the same time and that was also very expensive and overlapped costs. However, I estimate that the kitchen cost something like £25,000 all in, not including new kitchen cabinets (don’t forget, steel is not cheap, neither are new aluminum doors and windows instead of 100% plastic). For us, that’s a lot of money.
- About 7,500 pounds for windows, doors, skylights and installation.
- 5-6,000 pounds for the steel
- Electrical about 2.000 pounds
- Plumping about 2.000 pounds
- The rest was for the completely new interior (demolition, new floor, new wall, repairing water damage, new plaster, tiling, etc.)
One step that saved us money was to do the demolition of the old kitchen cabinets ourselves. We gave away the old kitchen cabinets for free on Facebook Marketplace. It was super convenient since we gave it away for free only if we got help to dismantle it. We also got rid of the old splash back and everything else that was not nailed down:)
If you are wondering if the effort was worth it: Yes! In two respects: We have achieved a significant increase in the value of the house and of course we feel much more comfortable here. A renovation project is often cheaper in terms of the purchase price, but you have to put a lot into it. But it can be worth it!
Here’s a taste of the (preliminary) final result, but details about the installation of the new or secondhand kitchen I share in a separate blogpost 🙂