Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

The term “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is one that applies to my kitchen.  While I post these what seems to look good snaps from my kitchen on Instagram that you all can’t understand why I’m hating on it so much, I thought I would share with you the bits that are not shown in the squares of my feed (purely because they’re the ugly bits). This might show you why I’m in dire desperation for a new kitchen. Not a kitchen make over, a whole brand spankin’ new kitchen. One with plenty of storage, beautiful bench tops, big white tiles… Ahh, a girl can dream.


I know what you’re thinking when you see images like this pop up in your feed. “What the heck is she whinging about” “That kitchen isn’t even bad” Yes, you’re right. BUT, a picture can tell a thousand stories.

A few months ago, I got behind and supported the #instagramunedited and #iamnotabigdeal movement to share with other users that were seeing Instagram as this perfectly perceived world. It was making them feel inadequate and questioning themselves. Right from why can’t they keep their own house as clean as others on Instagram, why can’t they prepare these gorgeous meals for their families, even why can’t they manage to have the kids dressed and fed by 9am like these other mothers on Instagram. A couple of users such as @cheifandkewpie and  myself got these tags going and shared images and real stories behind them with myself sharing a picture of my living room after Kurt and his friends had played. It was a mess, toys everywhere, the lounge pulled apart, the dining table with play doh everywhere and on the floor. The tags encouraged other users to share the same thing. It was real. It showed we are all humans, we all have the same things going on. It was appreciated by the users of Instagram. While we only really ever tend to share the good bits, it was those kinds of images and tags that helped these other users see, they are not alone. Instagram is full of beautiful and inspiring images, so to shake it up for a few weeks was exactly what Instagram needed. Which is why I want to share with you, my “real kitchen”.

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When we first moved into our home, this above was my kitchen. An out dated, run down 1970’s kitchen. The oven didn’t work, the stove top had elements that didn’t work either. Yellow bench tops and lace curtains that Nana sews. The shelf under the sink had collapsed from water leakages. The stench was horrid. We replaced it with a sheet of laminated partical board from Bunnings. Our plan was to renovate it after one year of living here, so we would just put up with it until then, only replacing the stove and cook top from a second hand purchase on eBay (amazing $70 bargain for both!). Our best friend is an electrician so there is another handy saving on an electrician.

A couple of months passed and it was the only room in the house that didn’t feel like us. It didn’t flow with the rest of the home, it always felt messy and unclean. I didn’t enjoy preparing meals in there. So we decided to give it a make over, giving ourselves a very tight budget of $1000. We didn’t want to spend too much money on our temporary kitchen for it to all just be pulled out in a year.

We decided to re do the splash back tiles as a few had fallen off or were cracked. So we chose the bevilled edge subway tiles from Bunnings, paired them with black grout and hubby had landed himself the gig of being a tiler for the first time. We repainted the walls using left over paint from when we painted the whole house, using Twill by Taubmans as the dominant colour and Rose Fawn by Taubmans as the secondary colour. We replaced the blind, ordering a custom made vertical to match the rest in the home that we had installed when we moved in. The blind was the most expensive piece, being almost $400! So a big chunk of the budget was taken on that piece alone. We bought two timber bench tops from Bunnings also and replaced the yellow 1970’s bench tops. I used a clear lacquer on the bench tops to seal and protect them against the use they would endure. I did three coats, sanding between each coat. We screwed in some black butt timber kick boards and used more black butt for the breakfast bench side wall. We also added in a whole new section to the kitchen beside the oven. That space use to be the space for the fridge, but we moved our fridge to another area of the kitchen and put in an extra overhead cupboard, bench and shelving for the microwave, pasta jars and cook books etc. To tie it all in, we used black butt timber again and made a wine rack with the scrap pieces. You can see the new over head cupboard handles don’t match the position of the others. The holes we already pre drilled so we had no option but to go with it. Bet you’ve just picked up on that now huh?!

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I bought some undercoat and white paint and gave the cupboards their face lift, also replacing their handles with some cheapies from Bunnings. I didn’t paint the insides of the cupboard doors, as it would have been more time and money needed to do that. I thought they would rarely be seen so I can absolutely make do with that.

Storage is the main killer in the kitchen now. Open the containers, pots and pans cupboard and you risk everything falling out on to the floor. I have taken everything out that many times and re stacked it neatly but after a week, it is looking like a huge pile of junk again. It is such an awkwardly accessible cupboard, with storage reaching right up under the corner. It is an absolute nightmare when you’re trying to get the roasting dish out.

Every time I open a cupboard, the age of the kitchen is seen and I’m reminded of what it was. The brown, the rusty old hinges, the partical board lined with an uncool 1970’s laminated finish, inside the draws are lined  with a floral brown and yellow paper (so pretty, not!), getting dinner plates down is a mission for these little muscle-less arms. Lifting piles of heavy ceramic dishes down to get to the ones on the bottom is fun. Not. Why is it that every time you want something it’s always the ones on the bottom?! They stack so neatly and fitting the way I have them. Piling them in will result in another containers cupboard. A huge mess!

You can see we have left the flooring as is as there is no point putting down some tiles and ripping them up later. So the grey/pink marble look lino is staying.  (insert sarcastic voice here) And that’s ok, the lino is so pretty anyway.

My kitchen make over budget breakdown:

Tiles: $210
Grout: $40
Blind: $360
Tap Handles: $20
Cupboard Handles: $40
Undercoat & Paint: $50
Lacquer: $30
Bench Tops: $200
Black butt: $90
Overhead cupboard: $70
TOTAL: $1110.00

So we went over budget by $110, which we were not concerned on. The blind took out a big chunk of the budget which we thought maybe shouldn’t have been included in the budget as the rest of the house had new blinds in every room anyway. The kitchen blind probably should have rolled over to a separate budget we had when we moved in. So I guess, you could say we were under budget giving a new total of $750.00 not including the blind. Bargain make over at its best!

It’s not by any means perfect, it was hubby’s first tiling job with no experience. We redone the silicon around the sink and made a huge mess of it haha (no close ups of that disaster)! The cupboard doors have chips of paint missing, damn it. But it’s a thousand percent better than it was. We’ve given our 70’s kitchen a modern make over, making it feel spacious, airy and fresh. We have almost been here for two years and haven’t renovated it yet. We are so indecisive with our extension plans that we aren’t going to rush into it and make sure we get it exactly as we want. Hopefully one day soon the kitchen will be the dining area and I’ll have a new kitchen with alfresco living, opening out on to the back deck, a huge island marble bench with a sunken sink and matte black finishings, beautiful new cupboards with plenty of storage, big white square floor tiles (or timber herringbone, or tiled herringbone. Still undecided!), and I’ll be cooking my famous lasagna for dinner in my new oven.

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Connie x


2 thoughts on “Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover

  1. can hardly believe that was your hubby’s first tiling job, they look amazing! I love your choice, To me white is always a great option for a smaller space, the improvement is massive and so well done on your budget. Everything Retro is so on trend so I say embrace your lino. I think my fav thing though is the plant on the wooden wall hanger, gorgeous!!


  2. I feel like I know these cupboards well…..we bought a 1950s beach house with blue lino counter tops and yellow doors. We’ve renovated it now and we love our new kitchen, but I think you’ve done an amazing job on such a limited budget!!


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