Our Kitchen (Almost) One Year On

It’s been almost an entire year since we revealed our kitchen renovation; it took a good couple of months of pinching myself to come to terms with our new space, and with it the ugly broken cupboards and stained tiles we’d left behind.

We bought the majority of our kitchen from Howdens – the cupboards are from the Fairford range (graphite on the bottom, dove grey on the top), choosing tiles from Topps Tiles, bar stools from Cult Furniture and rustic floating shelves off Ebay. Of course I’m still so in love with our new set up, as I’d hope to be after less than a year of having it, but today I thought I’d look back on anything I might have done differently.

Shopped around

Unfortunately we didn’t have the best experience with Howdens. There weren’t any massive issues to kick up a huge fuss about, just a few little niggles. The design process took 2-3 times longer than it was supposed to, as I think the person originally doing the design ended up leaving so it had to be started all over again. They also sent a used cupboard handle, and didn’t send the top of one of the cupboards, both of which our joiner didn’t see fit to mention at the time (imagine a roll-eyes emoji right about here).

Really, we went with Howdens because the tradesmen could get a pretty decent discount, so if price hadn’t been an issue we could have shopped around a bit more. Of course, if money had been no issue at all, we’d have headed somewhere like Elan, that do fantastic kitchens in London.

Grout decisions

It might seem like a pretty tiny decision to most, but the grout colour is something I struggled with, and to be honest still do feel like changing up sometimes. I love the classic look of a white grout on my white herringbone tiles, but it isn’t the greatest to keep clean and is already looking a bit creamy around our hobs. I know in reality I probably just need to get a little handier with a grout cleaner or pen, but sometimes when I’m browsing on Pinterest I think a grey or black grout would have looked amazing too.

Wood or wire?

Whilst I do like my bar stools, they were probably one of the things we “compromised” on when finishing off the kitchen. I did like a couple designs a little bit more, but Kane preferred the practicality of the wood top ones we actually bought. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that we actually found a couple metal wire bar stools recently that I am incredibly in love with, and eventually I’ll be spray-painting gold. They really remind me of the ones I originally wanted, although I know I’d have never heard the end of it from Kane if we didn’t reach that compromise.

Worktop problems

The worktops are arguably the most used part of a kitchen, so you can expect them to show signs of wear a little earlier than the rest. I really wanted a marble worktop, and we obviously had to go for laminate for the cost. Our join lines are now a little obvious, especially where the sink is, which I’m not sure is just to be expected having such a light counter or is down to slightly shoddy workmanship. We also had a little kettle leak a couple months ago which left water on the side, and it has bubbled a bit around the join, despite only being there for a couple hours.


This has been a sliiiightly negative post, I know, but overall I am still really in love with my kitchen. It’s one of those hit and miss things isn’t it, and luckily there has only been a few very minor issues with our kitchen, unlike some horror stories you can hear about. Ultimately I don’t really think there would have been anything I’d have changed, and I’m still so grateful for our new kitchen after living with the 80s pine monstrousity for two years!

Have you experienced a kitchen renovation?

Catherine McCourt

Catherine McCourt is the editor of Hey, Mama, a parenting, interiors and business blog designed to help you create a beautiful home on a budget and a kick-ass career whilst you’re at it.


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