I remember viewing our potential new home with Mr M and the estate agent in a state of fuzz. Rather like an old-fashioned sepia photograph, the visit was all a bit blurry and I was a little over excited. We had previously seen the dated bungalow and put in an offer but like so many others we’d viewed, we were outbid. We were in our second rental property and we were desperate to find ‘The Right One’.
The sense of detachment from a home that renting gives you, had depleted my sense of humour and Mr M was getting fussier about the The Right One by the minute. The previous sale on the bungalow had fallen through. We rang the agent, viewed again and had our offer accepted quickly. I recall the overgrown gardens didn’t faze me; hard work and chopping back would soon sort those out. The dated decor and avocado bathroom suites … interesting and replaceable. But the kitchen, well that was different. That was to be my own personal challenge. If I was to live with this kitchen until the renovation took place, drastic measures were called for…
On completion day, I was giddy with excitement. Mr M was miles away so I arrived with The Spotty One on an unusually sunny December day. We walked around the overgrown gardens and the still countryside surrounding our new home and I was sure my internal squealing could be heard afar.
Memory is such a funny thing. My recollection was of a large kitchen with space to easily house our old pine table and eight chairs. I recalled dark wooden cupboard doors, an easy fix… a couple of coats of paint and a bit of sanding and all would be well. And the work surfaces? Ah, well if memory served me right, they were simply creamy in colour, pretty innocuous, they’d be fine for now. Neutral I would say, yes neutral and I like neutral.
There is always a lot more to do than you remember isn’t there? And there was a lot more of the creamy, neutral work surface than I remembered too. And the work surface wasn’t innocuous at all. It was dingy old formica and I’m not too fussed with old formica. We didn’t move in straight away so I had a month to paint and paint I did. I would arrive early each day with The Spotty One, paint a few coats, go for our walk and paint some more. I do like things done properly so every door and drawer front came off was sanded, primed and received two coats of Farrow and Ball’s Skimming Stone. 32 wooden handles all received the same attention. The entire bungalow seemed to have a door drying somewhere.
In time I wanted a ‘chippy’ look to the doors, a look that says we’ve been here a while. They also needed to stand up to the wear and tear of modern life, so I chose to varnish over the paint. I wouldn’t do that again. In certain lights there’s a yellow tinge that no-one other than me appears to notice, but notice I do.
Of course the dresser is my favourite transformation.The two outside tall cupboards originally had glass doors which you can just make out in this first photo. Mr M thought open shelving would be good. He was right, the shelves show off pretty jugs and cookery books and other kitchen beauties.
We moved in just 15 days before Christmas and the pretty dresser didn’t disappoint. Her first photo shoot was the day before Christmas Eve when the family arrived.
The dark, drab window got a pretty treatment too. A beautiful Kate Forman roman blind from my very dear and generous friend’s home. Mr M built a wooden pelmet to disguise a shortfall which we painted and today she still awaits a final decorative touch… perhaps a french swag or something similar; I’ll know when I find it.
And the kitchen wasn’t quite as big as I remembered, so our pine table and eight chairs are elsewhere but close by for now. And there was rather a lot more vast and creamy work surface than I recalled. But once I unpacked more boxes in those frantic few days before the Christmas, I found lots of kitchen treasures waiting for their new homes. And do you know, once the treasures were placed in their new homes, there really wasn’t too much yellowy, creamy work surface to worry about after all.