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Our kitchen makeover

by Clare Mansell

Over the last few weeks I’ve been using most of my spare time to give our kitchen a makeover. Although we’ve owned our house for 9 years we’ve never actually seen this room with fresh paint, the last time it was decorated was shortly before we rented the house out for four years. Then when we moved in, the building work started and once it was finished there never seemed to be the time (and perhaps the energy) to tackle it.


But last month I decided it finally needed tackling. I worked out a plan of what needed doing and Jim booked a long weekend off work so I could have a good run at painting the walls and ceilings without worrying about the children. However the kitchen makeover did not actually begin with the decorating, but rather with the decision to replace our kitchen chairs so lets start there… We’ve had two lots of mid-century style plastic chairs over the last six years and the latest batch, like the first, were proving impractical for family life. So I decided to go back to basics and buy some charity shop wooden chairs to sand and paint.

The first two were an easy choice, two lovely windsor backed Ercol-style chairs (dated on the bottom as 1960) which I picked up for £20 each. They sanded down really easily and I chose two colours from the Novasol Evolution range to spray them with. Rape Yellow & Water Blue.


It may sound obvious, but I discovered the hard way that picking a lighter colour definitely means you need more paint and more coats. The yellow chair was the only one that required two cans of paint and at the other end of the scale the dark blue one (further down the page) was a doddle!


It took a couple of weeks to get them finished and I resisted buying any more chairs until the first pair were complete. Fortunately our local charity shop is a goldmine for wooden chairs, apparently they get them brought in every day, so the next two were easy to come by. One was missing a strut and appeared handmade (reduced to £5) and another had a slightly different style back but was in great condition (£12). I sanded both of these and we replaced the missing strut with the perfect size piece of dowling which we just happened to have left over from an Ikea Hack we’d just done (more on that soon).

The second two were sprayed in Gentian Blue & Sky Blue. I completely forgot to take a photo of what they looked like before, so you’ll have to just trust me when I tell you they needed help!


Unlike the decorating, the chairs were done in short bursts and one thing that made the task a lot easier is the pair of work overalls I recently bought. It means I’m able to start the day in the normal clothes, do the school run and stuff around the house, then when Alice has a nap, or their is a 5 minute window to do the next stage, I zip them on over whatever I am wearing to protect it, do the task and take them back off again. Simple change, but a huge help.


Chairs done, I then used the long weekend Jim had booked off to do the decorating. I don’t love painting, but I do love the transformation it can bring to a tired room and being able to have a proper run at it meant I got to see results pretty quickly.

The photo wallpaper behind the table is from Murals Wallpaper who supplied us with the map wallpaper in Alice’s room. They can provide pretty much anything as a wallpaper which meant a lot of debate and looking at photos online. We settled on a picture of a Dutch lighthouse which came supplied in two panels to exactly fit our wall. Matching it up was tricky as there wasn’t anything in the top half of the image to guide Jim (a bit like a really hard jigsaw!)


Here’s the before and after…


We also added some chalkboard vinyl to the wall next to the door, that space happens to measure 60cm wide which is the exact dimension it’s sold on eBay, we got lucky!

At the other end of the kitchen we had one small laminate wood shelf on the wall which we replaced with a pair of longer solid oak shelves. I also bought a storage bin for my flour. I really do get through enough bread flour to warrant buying it in 16kg sacks and as if I needed to prove that the bag has been replaced by two loaves in the after photo – I didn’t plan it that way!


The project took a while as apart from my couple of days decorating, the other bits were split into lots of short spells when I could grab time, but the results have been so worth it, the kitchen definitely feels more us. Details on cost and suppliers below..

Dulux matt white wall paint from Brewers – £22
Overalls from Engelbert Strauss- £32.39 (loads of pockets and come in a variety of colours and a wider range of sizes than a lot of brands)
Photo wallpaper from Murals wallpaper – £25 per metre
Solid oak shelves from Amazon – £45 each
Chalkbaord vinyl from eBay – £6.99 (we bought two to get the 220cm we needed)
Pinty Plus Evolution spray paint from novasolspray.co.uk – £6.80 – £8.50 depending on quantity bought

I have one more thing left to do which is make cushions for the chairs, but that may take a while!

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1 comment

Alyzn Johnson March 14, 2017 - 5:44 pm

Looking good Claire and lots of helpful tips. X


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