Fitting out the shell of our new kitchen extension

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When we hired the builders for our kitchen extension we opted for a shell only contract . This meant that we were able to get the structure built quickly by them but that we would tackle most of the internal work ourselves. We’ve saved a sizeable amount of money by doing this, but it has meant that progress has been slower, as all of the work has had to be fitted in around our day jobs, taking place mainly during holiday periods and at weekends… so no summer break for us this year!

Starting from a rough concrete subfloor and bare plaster walls Graham installed the plumbing while I painted the walls and we then moved on to fitting the flooring and the kitchen units.

Since the old kitchen was ripped out a few months ago we’ve had only the most basic of kitchen facilities - a simple electric hob, a microwave and a temporary sink in what will eventually become the utility room. It hasn’t exactly been fun, but we’ve survived and the project is now finally approaching completion. I never want to see another microwave ready meal again for as long as I live!

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The space

I talked about the space and shared a plan of the layout a little while back in this post. Our overarching goal with the design of the kitchen was to keep the space feeling light and open. The quality of light in the room is really lovely as daylight enters from both the front and the back of the room as well as from the roof lights above. The vaulted ceiling adds to the sense of space and provides lots of height so I’m looking forward to choosing a nice piece of statement lighting to hang from the apex.

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The flooring

There is usually a strong case for fitting the same flooring throughout the house to achieve a consistent look. However we decided not to use the lovely oak herringbone we’d chosen for the living room in the kitchen. This decision was partly driven by cost, but also by the fact that the new extension has quite a distinct look and feel from the rest of the house. We chose to accentuate this by opting for a light, modern Scandi style floor, ordering untreated brushed larch from Russwood, who were super helpful and offered us loads of advice.

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Although technically a soft wood larch has similar properties to a hard wood and is much tougher than most other soft woods. It has a similar appearance to Douglas Fir, but is much more affordable. I used the same finish that I used on the flooring that we fitted in the bedrooms - applying a coat of Woca lye to lighten the wood and remove any yellow tones. I then used a couple of layers of Osmo Polyx Oil - starting off with a layer of 3040 White and then using 3044 Raw as the top coat. It’s a labour intensive process and takes time, but it meant that we were able to achieve the exact finish we wanted.

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The Doors

The crittall style patio doors are Aluco Elegance and they were supplied and fitted for us by Cherwell Windows. We opted for aluminium doors over steel as they are both cheaper and more thermally efficient. There are lots of design considerations with this style of door, and it took us a while to finalise the design and get the proportions just right. They also ate up a big chunk of our budget for the space, but it was totally worth it. We absolutely love them!

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The Kitchen units

We also deliberated for a long time before finally deciding upon the kitchen units. In the end we decided to buy the base units from IKEA and have ordered custom doors, plinths and drawers from Husk.

The IKEA units were relatively straightforward to fit and we managed to install them in a weekend without too much difficulty. If you are considering fitting an IKEA kitchen you do need to be aware that their units don’t have service gaps though. We’d been warned about this in advance and it didn’t cause any problems for us, but it might make some installations more complicated.

We’ve opted not to have wall cabinets but will fit some shelves on which to store and display our favourite tableware pieces. We’ve also installed lots of electrical points for wall lights so we have quite a few lighting decisions still to make too.

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If you’re wondering about the boarded up opening above the plumbing for what will be the sink unit, then yes that is eventually going to be a window. We have something a little unusual planned for this so watch this space.

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My kitchen moodboard


1. Wall light - Inspyer Lighting | 2. Radiator - | 3. Door - Doors To You | 4. Worktop - Caesarstone | 5. Tap - Abode | 6. Kitchen units - Husk | 7. Pendant light - Heal’s | 8. Mug - Sue Pryke

Still to do…

We still have to install the column style radiators we’ve ordered from to match the ones we’ve fitted in the rest of the house. There’s also an internal door to fit - we’ve opted for a black industrial style one that echoes the look of the patio doors. And then there are appliances and worktops to choose, so there’s plenty to keep us busy for the next few weeks, but we are finally getting there!

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