Just under four years ago, Dom and I built our first home together. We knew that this wasn’t our forever home and the intention was always to rent it out in the future after we build our dream home, so we built extremely stock standard and tried not to overcapitalise on fixtures, upgrades, appliances etc.
Back then, we built only what we could afford. We did want it to feel like our home though because we were still going to be there for a few years so over time, we spent money on decorating it and making additions that fit our current lifestyle; such as a backyard for entertaining.
This was a great idea in theory until everything started breaking just as the product warranty was out. Our oven stopped working, our gas stove top kept randomly not lighting and then exploding, our cupboards warped from the heat and to top it all off, we attempted to jazz up the kitchen splash-back with stick on tiles and they turned out atrocious.
So here we are, post renovations that were funded by a collection of blood, sweat and tears, facebook marketplace sales, mates rates and warranties (after lots of fighting). Details below:
Oven & Stove top:
I have always hated cleaning the gas stove top and when I tried out my sister in laws induction, I knew that that was the solution to my problems. When our stove top started malfunctioning, I saw it as an opportunity to never have to clean something I hated again. The oven breaking was the straw that broke the camels back and that is pretty much how our kitchen renovation started.
Our previous appliances were by Westinghouse. The oven itself had broken once when it was still under warranty and it was fixed for free. You would think that the warranty would therefore re-start but apparently not. Boy did I have some words to those people – eventually got what I wanted!
We replaced our Westinghouse oven and stove top with an Asko from Adelaide appliance gallery. Can I just say (and absolutely under no obligation) that their service was impeccable. It’s like a candy store of cool appliances down there. Go and give them a visit.
Our oven died a week before I was due to bake my Easter cookies and I had mentioned it to them when shopping for a replacement so they literally baked me cookies in the three different ovens that I was considering so I could see the difference. I had it narrowed down to a Miele, an Asko and the Neff and the Asko won hands down; not just from the delicious cookies it produced but the program settings it included. It is self cleaning, comes with a meat thermometer, and makes the juiciest roasts ever.
The Neff did have a cool door that folds away though that I thought was pretty neat.
We are now the proud owners of an Asko (OP8687S) 60CM Pyrolytic oven.
I hated cleaning our gas stove top with a passion. I used to meal plan greasy and messy meals towards the end of the week because it was closer to my weekly clean because I didn’t like having to scrub that thing more than I had to.
My sister in law recently bought a new house and it came with an induction cook top. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would solve my problems and I decided to replace our gas with an induction.
Many people confuse induction cooking with electric and we all know electric hotplates aren’t the best but induction is a whole different ballgame. It reacts with the metal elements in your pots and pans and will therefore only turn on when it has an appropriate reaction making it safer with no open flame. The temperature control, fast boil and boost is second to none. My favourite feature (besides how easy they are to clean) is the fact that they offer bridge burners, which means I can have a grill plate on each side, with even distribution.
We are now also the proud owners of an Asko (HI1655G) 60cm Induction cooktop.
Cupboards & Handles
Luckily, only our cupboard doors had warped and bubbled, not the actual structure – so we only had to replace the faces. We used the same local cabinet maker who installed our cabinetry in the spare rooms and we also selected the same profile doors in a gloss finish – Valencia by Polytec. If you’re in Adelaide, I’m happy to pass on his details, just send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dom’s cousin, Adrian is the owner of Revolution Granite & Marble. We always knew we wanted to install stone in the kitchen however when we built, we weren’t allowed to use alternative suppliers so we had to pick a standard bench top from the builders range because they were charging astronomically for stone.
We figured that now is a good time as ever to upgrade our bench tops so Adrian came round one night for dinner and gave us some options. We went with a Smart stone – Statuario Venato which gave us the crisp white and grey veins I have always loved.
Since we previously had light bench tops, I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference but when it was installed – boy! The photos do it no justice. Every single person who has since seen it in person, has made numerous compliments about how much classier and more majestic it looks.
I know there is a bias since Adrian is family, but he did a phenomenal job. Take it from the tiler who came in to do the splashback and was a complete stranger because he could not stop commenting on how amazing the stone looked.
A little while ago, I saw these stick-on tiles on Instagram. They were literally sticker sheets of a white subway tile and I thought “what a great idea, I will give these a go!”. $250 later, I thought I had found the perfect solution to DIY some character into our plain kitchen. I was very wrong.
The website sold it as a 20 minute job, so I decided to give it a quick go on a Saturday. It ended with Dom and I spending 6 hours trying to stick these damn things to the wall and they looked fab from far away but up close …. well, up close they were atrocious. You could see overlap, you could see air bubbles and they had already started to peel.
We knew that if we left the splash-back, the poor job we did at sticking the tiles onto the wall would result in moisture, more bubbling and eventually mold, so it had to be replaced.
We ended up choosing a white 10 x 20 subway tile, laid in a herringbone pattern and I could not be happier with the result. This also meant that the tiles could go the whole way up the wall as opposed previously ending at the range-hood, which really elongated the kitchen and finished it off. We went through Zarin at Binetti Tiling solutions who also got us a trade discount on the tiles which made the whole thing much cheaper.
(Just as an FIY – I paid $250 for sticker tiles where as generic white subway tiles were $50 and in the 6 hours it took us to stick them to the wall, I think I could have learned how to tile and tile the splashback myself. (Just kidding, tiling looked really hard and required a lot of patience)).
Sink & Tap
Now to my favourite new addition to our kitchen – our new sink and tap.
I hated cleaning the old stainless steel double sink and because we put pretty much everything we own in the dishwasher and don’t leave dishes out on the bench to dry, the draining grate was a complete and utter waste of space and just another thing for me to clean.
We switched to a single sink which is the same size as our previous sink without the division but it is also deeper. It has been fantastic and served the exact purpose we wanted. My very talented husband who has absolutely no trade experience what-so-ever, plumbed the sink himself with the help of some Youtube tutorials. He is very good at doing things like that; he did all of our storm water by hand, dug out our backyard, paved, laid grass, the list goes on …
The fireclay is a thousand times easier to clean as it doesn’t show up any water marks. It is durable and the extra depth is great for big pot washing. Let’s not forget about the most important feature though – it looks fantastic, especially when it’s filled with fresh flowers I’m arranging!
Our tap is from Ikea and finished off the total kitchen with a lovely Hamptons feel. It doesn’t spash and turns at a full 360, so you can use it to fill up pots and pans while the sink is full.