Before and After
Phew, it’s done. The very long, very hard slog of restoring our Victorian Kitchen Dining room is over.
At our last house, when we put in a new kitchen, it took two weeks to rip out the old and put in the new. It was annoying having no sink or cooker for a few days, and storing all the kitchen in another room but was quickly forgotten. This project was different. Restoring this Victorian Kitchen Dining Room was the equivalent of reconstructive surgery.
The gas meter needed to be moved, the water meter needed to be moved, the boiler needed to be moved, the electrics needed to be moved (but you read all about that before in Kitchen Destruction Part 2 and knocking through the wall) . We created/uncovered a whole new room (the housemaids pantry). It would probably be quicker to say what didn’t need moving. It took five months of hard work and only in the last 10 days could you see things getting any better. We had to keep stripping away ugly old layer after layer until we got back to the bare bones of the space.
The good news is that:
- We love it
- If we ever don’t love it, the changes will only have to be cosmetic as all the hard work of moving services has been done.
I have said before we nearly didn’t buy the house because of the kitchen, it wasn’t that it was ugly (which it was) and falling apart (which it also was) but because it was not in proportion to the rest of the house. It was an apology of a kitchen, an after thought.
The Design Process – how to make Victorian Kitchen Dining Scullery work now
Our Kitchen Dining Room is what would have been the original, very typical Victorian kitchen, pantry, scullery layout. The house had been an office for the past 50 years so the kitchen had been squeezed into the small back room and only been used as a staff room, somewhere to make a cup of tea. The other rooms were used as meeting rooms and storage.
We came up with a “broken plan” design for the spaces . A “broken plan” is a new take on “open plan” where the light is able to flood through, but the spaces retain their individuality and clearly show their original Victorian footprint. The boundaries between the original rooms also help to define the space by making clear delineations in function and guide choices on wall texture (brick vs plaster) and floor finish (tiles vs floorboards). To help us visualise this, and to reassure us we knew what we were doing, we created our own 3d designs .
Here are some of the 3d drawings – showing great optimism that we would finish cleaning all the quarry tiles.
We use Pinterest to collate our ideas.
Looking back you can see on our Pinterest board what we focused on at each stage (it starts quite general and then gets into more detail – looking for stools was quite late in the decision making). We wanted the kitchen to feel like a classic English Kitchen, the kitchen at the Worsley’s Home in the Harry Potter film Chamber of Secrets, the epitome of eccentric English country kitchen. A kitchen to cook and live in.
The general idea was open shelves, restored tiled floor, teak, brass, copper ,handmade ceramics, natural materials, craft – all things made by human hand. Below is an excerpt from the board click on the link to see the whole thing. It is definitely not minimal and sleek. We bought a black stone sink for £30 and a loads of old lab tables. A freestanding kitchen with range cooker, tiled splashback, exposed services, wood worktops, and rstored quarry tiles. So that was the design decisions made.
Can’t help but show you a few horror shots. Now we have finished we have no idea how we kept the faith. Fortunately we are massive believers in the Zen approach to house renovation which does keep us sane.
If you want to know more about the process then look at Kitchen destruction, opening the fireplace, kitchen destruction part 2, housemaids pantry, new back door, restoring quarry tiles, knocking down the wall.
Carpet over original tiles, tiles over original tiles, fitted kitchen over original doors, boilers in our faces, no fireplace, bars at the window, boxed in pipes across walls, rusty wonky radiators, giant gas meter, ancient water meter, lead pipes, artex on the ceiling and woodchip everywhere.
So here it is…after peeling off the layers and layers of bodging, compromises and bygone interior fashions and quick fixes. The quarry tiles have been restored, the plumbing moved, rooms created, walls knocked through, surfaces scraped, filled & painted, furniture salvaged & created, lighting found & installed, ingredients at hand and artwork in a new home.
So….now a little break before our final big restoration task – the Bathrooms.