Anna Hart Property ConsultancyAnna Hart Property Consultancy

Kitchen replacement step by step: Part 2

7 October 2013

The new kitchen design

Hello again! In Part 1, I took you from a fairly hideous kitchen to a lovely pink blank canvas. Now it’s time to start visualising what the final result will look like, so here’s the kitchen design I drew up with my fabulous kitchen fitter.

This was created before work started on the kitchen so materials could be ordered and activities planned, but it’s important to note that the design process for a kitchen is usually very fluid. You have an idea of what you want to create, but then as work goes on you have to continually adjust your vision to deal with whatever the room, the client, the weather, the supplier and the other trades throw at you.

In Part 1, you saw that I already knew where I wanted the power sockets to be fitted. This came from the design above, created with my impressions about how the space could best be used, plus the decisions I’d made about what size tiles we were going to use and how high the splashback was going to be. See, it’s all inter-linked!

In this small kitchen, the key part was utilising the space as efficiently as possible. Some things couldn’t really be placed anywhere other than where they were (like the fridge), so we had to work around those fixed points. Other things we could move to make better use of the space, like the sink, and the plumbing was moved accordingly. Colour and style was decided at this point too; white cabinet doors to maximise light and feeling of space as well as minimise the cost, and dark worktops to ground all that white.

Laying out the cabinets - that worktop is level, right?!

Laying out the cabinets – that worktop is level, right?!

Now the room has been fully plastered, it’s time to check whether the design I want to create will actually still fit into the room I now have. You see, repairing or creating new walls can take up precious centimetres so up to this point you don’t really know exactly how big your space is going to be and you can easily end up with cabinets that just won’t fit, no matter how much you want them to. Big kitchens are easy in comparison!

Everything was measured up and checked before the cabinets and worktop were ordered to give us the best chance of everything working out – luckily we were using an off-the-shelf supplier with a short delivery time so this wasn’t an issue.

The base cabinets are made up and positioned to check for wall squareness and to make absolutely sure it all fits, and we decide where we’re going to put the worktop joints for best structural and visual effect.

All the base cabinets are in & walls painted

All the base cabinets are in & walls painted

Once the walls have dried out enough and before the cabinets are fixed to the walls, the first coat of watered-down emulsion is applied to the walls to seal the plaster. It’s far easier to paint before the cabinets go in, so it makes sense to do as much as you can before they get in your way.

In positioning all the base cabinets we realise that we’re going to have to modify the two corner units if we don’t want to lose space that’s wanted for further cabinets, but thankfully my genius kitchen fitter is well-versed in this sort of requirement and we make everything fit as planned. I hate corner cabinets – every manufacturer has a different way of designing them and setting them alongside other units, but unfortunately in small kitchens they’re a necessary evil.

Worktops cut down to size and laid in place

Worktops cut down to size and laid in place

Next stage is to measure and cut down the worktops. This is where the old adage comes in: Measure twice, cut once! In our case it’s usually measure 5 times to be sure, especially if it’s just after lunch :) Trust me, you’ll never regret any extra time you spend checking up on your measurements!

Again you’ll see we’ve not painted the plaster below the level of the worktops. This is for the same reason we didn’t plaster all the way to the base of the walls – for ventilation, and to allow the walls a better chance of drying out. The cabinets will have backboards fitted so that part of the wall won’t be visible at all.

Holes cut for the sink and worktop to be fitted

Holes cut for the sink and worktop to be fitted

Now there’s more measuring and maths and nervous moments as you cut the worktops for the sink and hob. Those worktops probably go in and out of the kitchen a good 6 times each before they get to be fixed down for good!

The wall cabinets are also fitted, but those too will go out again before they get fitted in for good – much easier to tile without the risk of catching your head on the corner of a cabinet. It hurts a lot!


Oven in and tiles on

Oven in and tiles on

The oven is fitted and the tiles go on, and it’s really starting to look like a proper kitchen! See how my decision about the socket height paid off – no unnecessary annoying cutting of tiles to fit round electrical sockets here, oh no! The sockets will sit nicely above the line of the tiles :)

I chose to use grey grout for two reasons – it helps to break up all the white, it looks just a little bit funky, and it won’t go yellow like white grout can. Good looks and a longer shelf-life, that’s gotta be good!


Ta da! Doesn't it look lovely?

Ta da! Doesn’t it look lovely?

So now it’s done. The appliances go into their specially-designed spaces, and all the final touches have been added:

  • End caps on the worktops
  • Screw and hole caps inside the cabinets
  • Door handles fitted
  • Kickboards to hide the space under the cabinets
  • Iron-on white edge strip to mask the raw edges of the modified cupboard doors
  • Second fix electrics – sockets on the walls and inside the cabinets for all the appliances

And of course I’ve added a vase of lemons and a yellow vase just to add a little colour and warmth into this very monochrome room, because I’m a stylist and I just can’t help myself!


Here are the before and after pics alongside each other. I can’t believe the difference, can you? I’m happy to say that the new tenants are moved in and the landlord is very happy with the result. Not least because he didn’t have to deal with any of the niggly little details, but that’s where I thrive :)

Kitchen before & after

I hope you enjoyed my walk-through of a kitchen refurbishment. Next time I might take you through a bathroom replacement. What do you think?

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