Boy, did I think long on the title of this post. “Kitchen of the heart”, “A kitchen to relax in”, “We did it” or some other oversized title came to mind and all felt stupid or corny and so I just settled for simplicity. You can never really go wrong with that 😉
So, get ready for a really long post.
Short summary of how this whole kitchen renovation thing came to pass. When we moved into this flat nearly 5 years ago (five. Five years. Unbelievable.) we were really glad it had a kitchen. (Here in Germany, it is not necessarily a given that a rented flat (or house, for that matter) has a kitchen; I would even go so far as to say that it is more common to not have a kitchen and having to buy one yourself.) The kitchen was as old as the flat itself and hadn’t been renovated at all – but it was absolutely working, despite being something like 40 years old. It had a ridiculously loud and old fridge which we exchanged within one week but the rest was working just fine, so we just left everything as it was. Which was like this:
Yeah, I know. Pretty awful, right? Somewhat retro, but small and dark (despite the greyish white fronts) and cramped. Also, everything was pretty low (back pains for Leander and I as we both are pretty tall) and there was no way to connect a dishwasher.
Honestly, now I don’t know how on earth we managed for four years with this room!
Anyhoo, last year the stove broke down and we searched high and low for a new one that could fit into the small place designated for it – seems like they built stoves rather small back in the 60ies. I think it was then when we began to get seriously annoyed by the room. We started to plan how we could change the kitchen for the better. For starters, we took the upper cabinets out on the right side, as we permanently bumped our head while doing the dishes. This alone was already so much better!! More light, more room, no more head bumbs! It was awesome.
My main wish was to be able to connect a dishwasher (the problem was the extremely old drain) and a larger fridge. Now that we are four people in this family, the amount of dishes and the lack of place in the fridge got a real problem and the kitchen was always a total mess. First we thought about just taking out the right side of the kitchen but very soon I said: “Leander, let us do the whole damn thing.”
We knew our landlords would not pay for a completely new kitchen (we tried that when the stove broke down), so it was clear that we had to pay for most of the things ourselves. But as we are still looking for a new place (a house, to be exact), we did not want to spend much money on an actual kitchen that later would not fit into our new home. So we decided on some furniture that would look awesome in the kitchen but could be used somewhere else completely in a new home, so that no money would be lost. The only actual kitchen cabinets are those beneath the sink.
A few discussions with our landlords later we knew that they would pay for:
- a new floor which would be installed by us
- a new drain and the installation of a boiler beneath the sink instead of above it
We did not want to ask too much of them, because we were afraid they would not let us do anything if it was too costly for them. (They’re really nice but also a bit close-fisted concerning this flat.)
After much planning and thinking, we finally started everything in January.
We emptied the whole kitchen on Monday, 19th and wallpapered the part where there was no wallpaper behind the kitchen cabinets. (Who on earth puts in a kitchen and wallpapers afterwards?!)
Tuesday, we took out the old floor, painted the walls and put the primer on the ground for the new floor.
The plumber came and installed the new drain and water-connection for the boiler on Wednesday morning, in the afternoon we installed the new floor.
Then we had to wait. A friend of ours would install two new plug sockets which we needed for the boiler and dishwasher, but he wasn’t able to come until Saturday, so we could only start to assemble the furniture for the left side of the kitchen.
Also, the plumber had to open up the tiles on the wall which was originally not planned and now we had to think of a way to close them. The problem was that the tiles were of course also nearly 50 years old, so the chances of finding some that were the same colour were slim. Or rather nonexistent. Also, we really did not want to discuss with our landlords a completely new tiling or painting of the tiles because it would have meant another delay. After searching the net, we decided on adhesive foil (by Foliesen), because it can be removed residue-free and because we had old tiles of the right size but not of the right colour.
Saturday then the last part started. After the plug sockets were installed we could finally start with the rest of the work. While Leander was tiling, I put the foil on the old tiles, so together we managed to change the grey old tiles into looking-like-new-white ones. Oh the joy! 😀
Sunday brought the worktop for the left side and the vitrine for the right side.
Monday then came the worktop for the right side and the installation of the new sink and the dishwasher and over the course of the next few days, all last bits and pieces were finally assembled and yesterday, after having to wait for a last thingy, we’re finally DONE!
And here you are, our new and awesome and shiny and oh-so-beautiful kitchen! 😀
For the last picture, have another look at the first two and then revel in the difference 😉