Before and After: We Dare You to Guess How Inexpensive This UK Kitchen Reno Was
“I wanted a kitchen with an open aspect that I could love, enjoy, and utilize,” writes Vicky Flynn of Liverpool, England. Instead, she had a “dark, gloomy, decrepit space” with a leaky tap and “some interesting shades of brown.”
Her kitchen definitely was begging for an update, but Vicky and her husband were on a tight budget because of a necessary bathroom renovation. The solution: They took on the work themselves, shopped secondhand, and upcycled like bosses so that their entire kitchen redo cost about 2,000 pounds.
On eBay, Vicky found a secondhand Smeg refrigerator for 200 pounds and a kitchen cabinet set for 100 pounds that she painted Hague Blue by Farrow & Ball. She nabbed scaffolding beams from a roofer, then sanded and waxed them to make custom shelves.
And if all of that wasn’t impressive enough, the budget even covered plumbing and structural changes (say what??). “We took down a supporting wall—luckily, I had a friend that was a builder with this part,” she writes. “I took the ceiling down, which was the muckiest of jobs, and took all the plaster off the walls. They all went back to brick. I repaired the ceiling joist, which had dry rot owing to the toilet directly above and years of leaking. I also hid a massive slab of concrete from the old chimney on the floor under the cooker by filing over it in the monochrome tiles, which again, I tiled myself.”
The couple took their time with the renovation so they could be careful about how much they were spending as they sourced materials. It’s been about 18 months, and they’re still making some additions and changes.
Vicky loves the new space and urges anyone considering deeper paint colors to go for it. “The kitchen is in a dark place in the house, but the evening shadows when the sun sets are to die for,” she writes. “You might think to use light shades in a dark space, but I have embraced the deep blues and greens that project a tasteful finish.”
She says the only thing she wishes she could have done differently would be to save more money, then remove the wall into her garden and put up patio doors in its place. “But if I had waited to do this, I’d probably still be cooking my dinner in the ‘before’ kitchen!” she writes.
Vicky also encourages anyone doing their own kitchen renovation to be patient. She knows: It’s easier said than done. However, taking your time means you can learn new skills and actually enjoy the process while you’re at it.
Thank you for sharing, Vicky!