April and the Bear Blog
DIY Interview

How To’s Let’s make a kitchen – also known as ‘fitting’ a kitchen … who knew? Part One

One of the more glorious things about buying a doer-upper … eg. kip, is that everything is so utterly bleak that every room HAS to be ripped out. No ifs and or buts about it and therefore you get to decide exactly how you want every room to be. What’s that? You want a 9ft high aquarium instead of a living room wall? No problem. A raised platform in the den for your interpretive band rehearsals? Consider it done.

However this freedom brings with it a whole slew of decisions that you would never have even considered before. For instance, how many plug sockets would you think an average kitchen requires? Like 4 or 5 right? WRONG! Try fifty. Okay that is an exaggeration but it’s much higher than you’ll initially anticipate – where EXACTLY do you want said plug sockets to sit? And at what height? Single or Double?  These are all the delicious decisions you will have to consider before you even start thinking about what kind of IKEA worktop you’re going to go for.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, this is the horror that we started with and we didn’t too badly – and if we can do it – so can you. No Seriously.


Our first step was looking at the space we had – it was weird, long, skinny, full of crap and very, very dark. Behind that fine looking spiral staircase was a strange plastered area, under which was an old fireplace. EUGH. This was ultimately where we decided to put a window which of course created more work but eventually lead to more light into the room. BONUS.


And so the demolishing began. We skipped all the MANKY furniture in the room, pulled out all the old cabinets, hobs etc. We pulled down the ceiling, pulled up the floor as we had decided to put in a new wooden one that would run from the kitchen all the way through to the living room. Walls were felled and rebuilt with proper insulation and marginally straighter lines than before. The fireplace came out. Okay that makes it sound FAR TOO EASY.

Taking out a fireplace is hellish. It’s the dirtiest job ever, you will literally be blowing soot out of your nose for weeks –  we used a Thor-esque sledge hammer to knock all the brickwork out, a wheelbarrow to take the bricks away and many, many refuse bags to get rid of the dust, dirt and soot. Once the room was empty we installed the new window – which was a revelation. The room instantly became a bright space with so much potential.

Bright right?

We used the floor plans to roughly sketch how we wanted the kitchen to look. Like shall the sink go under the window? Should the hob be next to the fridge? There is apparently some triangle of glory that every kitchen should follow for eternal domestic bliss but at the end of the day – just think about how you want to use your space and it’ll come together pretty quickly. Once we had a rough idea of where everything was going we could then decide on the plug sockets and wiring. Then we got plastered. I mean we got it plastered.

The floor was next on the list. The bear and I thought it would be nice to have the same floor running from the front hall, into the living room and on into the kitchen. And operation fancy floor began. We bought fairly cheap pitch pine from our local joinery – and Jamie’s carpenter Dad was a godsend. He basically came in and showed us exactly what we need to be doing. 

For weeks it was like we were living in an assault course, parts of the floor were in place – others were not. You were essentially moving through the house by jumping from spot to spot, gizmo of course loved it – us less so, especially after those late night beers had been taken. 

Gizmo – delighted with herself. 

We have a floor!

And ould’ bit o’ paint

Once the floor was in, we painted it in a dark grey and then made our way to IKEA. We went early on a weekday morning and it all went rather well, we had already designed our kitchen on their online application but when you get in there and talk to the staff – things change. Anyway the order was in – we were feeling quite pleased with ourselves and decided to hire a van to collect the kitchen to save on delivery charges. 

And that was the day we nearly broke up.

Please note that when renting any vehicle, they tend to need to see a driving licence to make sure that you can legally drive the vehicle that you are renting. So my advice would be to you know … BRING IT! We had roped poor Dave into helping us again and were driving out to the airport as that is where ALL car rental places are – only to realise once we got there that we had no licence. Queue screaming match between myself and the Bear while Dave sat awkwardly in the back of the car, we then enjoyed an extremely quiet and uncomfortable drive back to the house and then back to the airport and then onto IKEA. Oh the joys of home-owning.

Anyway we managed to collect the kitchen and not kill each other.  We’ll talk installation and final design in Part TWO!! But here are some pictures of the end result in the meantime.

Bear cooking always requires sharp knives – even when cooking ready-made soup

Image courtesy of Image Interiors & Mark Scott

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