Our tiler laid the last sheet of black hex mosaics on our splash back late last year. It was a long awaited process for our brown and cream 1960's kitchen. I am a lover of all things retro, however the functionality and lack of generous cupboard space was non-existent and triggered the idea of a full Kitchen reno. We started the process in September 2016 and we bought our black tap and deep sink that collected dust for over a year. During this time we (by we i mean my partner and builder) knocked down the wall and door into our kitchen and demo'ed the old school overhead cupboards which blocked so much light.
We lived from a trestle table and boxes with our pots and pans stacked up to the nines whilst our kitchen was custom made. We choose laminate carrara marble bench top and arctic ice cabinets in gloss; I later realized the arctic ice is not the same as appliance white.
With two kids we needed a breakfast bar so we got one that could fit two seats comfortably and had the bench top coming down the side as a waterfall effect which made it look more luxurious without costing a bomb.
When it came time to choose tiles for the splash back I was super indecisive. You would think choosing a splash back would be easy for me since I work in a shop with tiles but that was not the case! I came back and forth with samples for weeks as there were so many options and colours to choose from.
After a lot of contemplating we decided on black hexagon mosaics in a satin finish (which our tiler was not that impressed by). Because the tiles came in sheets they were quite fiddly to lay. oops. I weighed up whether to go charcoal or mid grey grout and went with the latter as an impulsive decision.
We originally were meant to re-use the beautiful rimu shelving that was in our previous kitchen pantry but we couldn't find two decent pieces in the right size. We settled for macrocapa shelves instead. I blonded them with an oil based wood blonding (we sell in the shop) and then put a satin finish water based clear coat over the top.
We were on a tight budget and with my partner being a plumber and his friend a builder we were able to do the whole kitchen for quite reasonable. Because we had some tight spaces and angled walls it was better for us to go custom made rather than a kit set from mitre 10, it also allowed me to get a spice and wine racks to get maximum functionality.
Here's some quick tips i would recommend to other kitchen reno DIYers
* Allow an extra (20-40mm) when measuring out cupboard and drawer unit space as you can lose a lot more drawer space if you assume like me that the drawer and cabinets go right next to each other with only 10mm to allow.
* If you are keen on a white kitchen compare the samples to a white piece of paper and you can see what type of white it as it may be hard with little samples.
* With your current utensils, cookware and small appliances plan out exactly where they would go and an approximation of the space you would need. Although it is always good to have extra space, for maximum practicality it enabled me to have the right depth of drawer space for what i needed to put in there.
* I came across the Triangle concept in google and we planned our kitchen around this before we decided where our drawers and cabinets would go. In short, you should plan your kitchen around the 3 main used appliances/areas in the kitchen which are the cook top, fridge and sink. For maximum functionality it is suggested that these should be in a triangle to form a "work triangle".
* Have a Sink insert made out of the bench top. It is so handy and allows you to more bench space (and hides unwashed dishes in the sink).
* Try not to rush the process even if you are living out of boxes.
The only part of the kitchen reno i would change would probably be:
* Drawers under our sink instead of doors to have clean lines and you can utilize the space at the back.
* Stainless steel dishwasher and fridge as the arctic ice cabinets look cream compared to the appliances.