#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

Getting your own house is hard but getting it furnished is even harder, especially when we talk about the kitchen.

When we bought our house we wanted something different; we wanted something which will have the “wow” factor, something which would make us smile every time we enter the kitchen… mainly because for us the kitchen is the heart of the house but also because it is our home and we wanted it to be perfect and reflect a bit of “us”.

This task proved to be very hard.

You need a lot of skills if you ever want to create what we wanted to achieve, but we have negligible skills when it comes to building our own furniture; therefore you need a lot of money, if you want to buy something original that is standing out from the crowd, but alas we didn’t have the money and still don’t have the money so what is left, luck, you need a bit of luck… yes, we got that one right…

A few years after we had bought our house we decided to take down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. This seemed to us like #Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island a no-brainer decision – our kitchen was small (in our opinion, most of our guests however tended to disagree with us) and the dining room being also on the small side was never really used. We had a second smaller table in the kitchen and this is where we tended to eat all meals. So making one huge room from the two smaller ones was the perfect idea. The building work progressed pretty fast and we no longer had a kitchen and a dining room, now we had kitchen-diner. We had this huge room filled with nothing… none of our old furniture looked any good in this new space, mainly because they were just too small.

There was only one thing for it… We had to go shopping!

After hours on the internet and endless trips to all the furniture shops near us we still had nothing. We knew that our budget would not allow us to get what we really wanted so the time was coming to make some sacrifices; we knew we would have to compromise on our dreams… but then something magical happened… fortune did decide to smile down on us and we were able to buy the furniture of our dreams (more or less) from friends of ours who were downsizing. We purchased an awesome solid wood table. It is huge and could easily seat 6 people though it only came with 4 chairs unfortunately. We also snapped up a triple fronted sideboard and few other bits like coffee tables and lamps… all of them for the fraction of the cost, mates rates are the best rates.

#Kitchentales – My tale of a forgotten island

It was great to see our empty space finally taking form.

That said all the furniture was placed in the dining room part of the kitchen-diner. Thus we still needed something to fill the kitchen part. We had always planned on having an island. We wanted the extra work surface space for food prep and ideally some more storage, but all island are always very expensive. To add to our dilemma we had now surrounded ourselves with dark solid wood furniture, so the island would have to match, which we knew would be very hard to source with our budget, so the search continued…

Then by chance one day we visited a furniture store in a town close by. A few people had mentioned it to us in conversation – it is full of handmade solid wood furniture from the Far East we were told. We had a strong suspicion that the contents of the shop would be out of our price range but curiosity overcame us and so we drove to have a look anyway. The store was and still is amazing; the furniture in it are like pieces of art, most of them are unique and just one off mainly due to the materials they were made from (mainly old fishing boats). We were over the moon with this shop, yet we couldn’t buy anything as the prices were as we suspected, a bit too high. Still, we loved it so much; we kept driving there over and over again just to have a look once again in the hope of some great bargain or the sale of the century. After few trips we knew most of the pieces in the store by heart, but still it was a pleasure to be there even if they were not ours.

One time during our trip around the store (the shop has 3 floors and a lot of small corridors, so it is like a rabbit warren) we spotted something we had never noticed before… in the corner behind some huge doors was an island… dark wood, hand carved and looking extremely dusty was an island. It had no price tag and 100s of other items stuck on top of it and a huge tarpaulin. We instantly fell in love with this dusty, dirty piece of abandoned, neglected wood. We contained our excitement as we didn’t even know if it was for sale, and if it was would we even be able to pronounce the price. As it ended up it was indeed for sale, one concern laid to rest. The shop keeper, a wonderfully enthusiastic man admitted even he had forgotten about it. As he recalled the piece he told us the story; apparently someone had ordered a whole kitchen matching the style of the island but alas for them the island was made in the wrong size, it didn’t fit in their kitchen so they refused to buy it. Their loss, was about to become our luck! The island was perfect for us. We just had to have it! We negotiated hard and a bargain was struck with the owner in order to help us afford it; we figured out that he would be happy just to let it go especially as he had forgotten about it.

A few days later our beautiful island arrived. It took six grown burly man to carry it in – the wood part is one solid piece and it doesn’t disassemble into smaller parts; the only thing that they could remove in order to make it lighter were two granite work tops, thankfully.

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

Once the island was delivered, and placed in its new setting that was the moment that our kitchen finally took its final form. We had a wonderful kitchen! We were so happy!

So you see, sometimes all you need is a little hope and a lot of luck!

#Kitchentales A tale of a forgotten island

* This post is an entry for the “My Kitchen Story” Linky Challenge, sponsored by Fairy Platinum.

My Dream, My House, My Home

All of us… Most of us dream about owning a house in which to make a home. For some this dream might never come true but I would like to think that for most it will.

However rarely does getting a house equal getting our dream house, but once we own the place, we are free to do any necessary changes to make it as close to our ideal house as possible.

We all have different priorities and like different things but most of us would always like to have more space, or at least the illusion of more space.

We belong to this category of people, despite the fact that we are “cave people” (we tend to go out only when we have to and we prefer to organise most of our entertainment with each other be it in front of the TV or with one of our various gaming consoles). That said we do like our cave in an open plan design and houses which open to the outdoors.

We wanted a spacious, well lit house which would give us the feeling of openness and overwhelming freedom, instead we bought a house which had a tiny kitchen and a tiny dining room downstairs…

It was time to get creative!

Behold Mark The Destroyer
Behold Mark The Destroyer

We took down the wall and opened up the downstairs – the change was amazing! No more claustrophobic feelings whilst in the kitchen; the whole kitchen –diner became light and airy… almost perfect.

I say almost, because the next step is to replace our standard double doors leading into the conservatory with some modern sliding doors. The main reason for this is to get rid of the vertical bracing we have at the moment and gain the illusion of more space and even more light. The sliding doors will allow for the use of the space once reserved for the door to open. This is step two in our journey towards our perfect house.

Step three will be doing more or less the same but with the main conservatory doors. We would love to open our house up to the outdoors, create light and the visual illusion that both the indoors and the outdoors are fluidly connected giving us a dream living space. Just because we have a cave doesn’t mean it has to be a dark one!

I think my parents have got it almost right.

Sliding Doors

They have built an outdoor half covered veranda – it has a roof but no walls – it makes a perfect home extension allowing you to enjoy the space come spring and summer. Huge glass sliding doors flood their living room with light and allow you to enjoy a panoramic view without any obstructions.

I hope one day we will be in a position to do the same. We would love to have something like an outdoor living room, where we can spend time during the all to brief warmer months of the year.

For now our limited DIY funds will be going into redecorating one of the bedrooms after the roof leak brought on by our wonderfully wet winter 🙁

How are your DIY plans going in 2014?

Are you also on the quest for more space and light?

On a budget also, share the way you achieved your goal with us all.

* Post written in collaboration with expressbifolds.co.uk.