Monday, March 25, 2013

Our $660 diy kitchen (and the kitchen sink)

Ok, I almost chickened out showing this bit, our very brown, country-ish kitchen. These 3 posts were Mr CH's idea, me I can't be bothered with the scrutiny, ha. Built in 1999/2000 in the height of timber cabinetry. Influenced by the tv shows- Better Homes and Gardens and Our House and all the country/crafty magazines at the time.
 It's 13/14 years old now and a makeover is well overdue. This is the kitchen you build when you have hundreds of dollars not thousands of dollars in the kitty.
 Built with a non-existent budget, a very basic u shaped layout, no dishwasher, recycled oven with no range hood (which we still don't need) and no fancy splash backs. The only requirements were - lots of bench space, breakfast bar (which became known as "The Pig Trough" for obvious reasons, 4 kids) corner sink, no overhead cupboards and no stainless/modern anything.

A basic stud frame with MDF sheet shelves, some of the larger sheets were the packing protecting the plywood ceiling sheets and were free so to speak. The MDF was primed and given two coats of gloss white, which has been surprisingly hardy, only one small swell under the sink with a dodgy can of oven cleaner leaking and leaving a ring. Covering with contact or oil-cloth would have been my other choice. You can just see where we chalked out, on the floor.

The timber bench tops  (900mm high) were end matched tongue and groove floorboards ($180) glued onto the MDF sheets with liquid nails which were stained in Jarrah and coated with polyurethane estapol without the hardener added (we were told about that later by a friend) The sides of the cupboards and the pantry were cut from the two extra plywood sheets that we used for the ceiling and were stain varnished.
 (Bunnings has a new lot of laminated timber panel pieces in store, perfect for benchtops with a bullnose edge, available in beech or acacia for $99. They come in lengths 2.2 to 2.4 depending on the wood and are hardier than the Porta panels we used for the Reno cottage kitchen back here)

Picture of the pantry before the floor was varnished and the skirtings added. Don't know what we were thinking making the pantry that small?

The blue boards along the bench top (I know! gross colour) were for a splash back and have been easy to clean with no gunk getting stuck, but then again I'm not a messy cook.

The kitchen doors were added in spurts here and there over the next couple of years and were sprayed with stain varnish. A raw timber door being fitted behind no 2 son. If it wasn't for the cleaning and seeing the junk inside the cupboards, no doors are great.
Had trouble trying not to get this pic blurry (or orange), I keep cook books/files, potatoes/veges, and cast iron pots etc. in these cupboards. I must say, this has been a great kitchen, don't care if it's not schmicko with lots of gadgets, it's got a great working triangle, the bench makes a great buffet with crowds, visitors seem to gravitate here and it sometimes feels like you are hidden in the trees. We keep our everyday plates in the plate rack and I won't be able to get rid of the stools until the cat dies. They belong to her for her circus jumping and you must share the seat with her. The three small open cupboards on the walls were made (mostly) from timber scraps by Mr CH and painted/varnished by me for around $80. Mr CH bought the knife rack as a birthday present for me many years ago. The only thing I have never liked about this kitchen, the unfinished kitchen drawer - another 90% complete job, ha. Think we might need a %100 finished clause in the makeover contract.
Cost for the kitchen cupboards including wood, screws, glue, stain, varnish, handles (el-cheapo) -$660
Cost for the kitchen sink - $554 including plumbing.
The sink was $421 at the time, we thought we were buying Australian made from an Australian company (it came from Canada!). Corner/small sinks 14 years ago were expensive and hard to find in our area (pre Internet searching days) We could now get a similar sink for just over $100.
Mr CH thinks he could build this kitchen today for around $800 as the GST has made some timber and supplies cheaper than when we bought them.
So as if we don't have enough to finish this year (Reno cottage, fence, shed....) Mr CH is thinking a kitchen/dining/sitting room makeover would be good as well! The oven is sometimes rebelious (wearing out) and the benchtops could do with a refinish, so it seems all or nothing. Only problem, I don't want a modern oven, hope I don't have to compromise on that one.
He's talking about subway tiles (too trendy for me, think he might lose that one), white paint (not where you're thinking) and chopping off the bench, I feel ill...


  1. I really like your kitchen, especially the wall shelves. I don't think it looks too country at all. The shadow box is cute, did you make it? x

  2. I love your simple country chic kitchen.
    Finally someone who shares my revulsion for upper kitchen cabinets!
    Tim is so going to make our counters and storage space in our next home. The U-shape with the eat at counter and bar stools is a brilliant design. My big regret with our addition is that we didn't have money/space to remodel our kitchen. Just update.

  3. I was hoping triple 6 but also loved to see 660 for whole kitchen. It's very nice being simple work.


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