Our kitchen renovation was all about adding practical elements to the existing space and updating the design. We kept the original benchtop, cabinetry and layout but gave it a completely new look.
The Reno Race Rookies, Dan and Claire are first time home owners and renovators. There are a lot of things they are taking on for the very first time - a mortgage, power tools, a renovation budget, a project schedule, hiring trades, making interior design decisions... to name just a few! But by far their most significant first was their kitchen renovation.
Our Reno Race project has been all about keeping costs down and renovating on a tight schedule. With the kitchen, we were pretty limited by what we could do, but what surprised us was how much of an improvement you can make without much money at all.
I love the boldness that’s required when you design a kitchen. From small samples you select what will be the complete look of your kitchen. There’s no room for changing your mind - once it’s installed, it’s there for good. No matter how good your imagination, it’s hard to be totally sure what the end result will look like. And if that isn’t challenging enough, with this kitchen we wanted to push our creativity. Our objective was to create a kitchen outside the comfort of our “go-to” choices. It was exciting, thrilling and a little bit terrifying.
The first challenge of our kitchen renovation was that the existing kitchen wasn’t in the right place in the house. It seemed to me the original designer created a 4-bedroom house and then realised he had forgotten to add a kitchen. To correct his oversight, he quickly added some cabinets to the first bedroom he saw and hoped no one would notice. It was hard not to notice a should-be bedroom with cabinets along one wall at the back of the house, when the rest of the living was at the front.
When we first started renovating we were complete rookies. While Caleb knew about property from his studies and beginning his career in project management, he had very limited understanding when it came to DIY or anything practical. And while I had a natural intuition with design and colour scheming, I had no idea about interior design techniques or where to source the products I liked. To sum it up - we had a youthful confidence which is probably best described as pure ignorance. Normally within a blog we would share details of our renovation to provide inspiration and advice - but this is more of an example of what not to do! Our first renovation project was our “boot camp” in renovating - and boy did we realise we weren’t “renovation fit”.
There was no doubt that when it came to this property, the old kitchen needed to go, there was wasted space, cabinetry that was near death and a hot water cylinder taking up storage space. Though budget and time was incredibly tight (the two things you traditionally need in order to design a great kitchen) we were realistic, we knew that we needed to keep costs to a minimum and be decisive in what we wanted to design.
Everyone says it, because it true, kitchens are the heart of the home. It seems every time we have people over, the kitchen bench is the place they decide to sit. Kitchens are important; they sell houses and make homes.