kitchen design, Project, Trades
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Kitchen Facelift – Goodbye white gloss

There’ll probably be a lot of people out there reading this blog post thinking, “there’s nothing wrong with your kitchen, love. What ya updating it for?” And one of those people is my husband. So I just wanted to say from the start, I get it. Me, wanting to update a perfectly fine kitchen might seem a bit unnecessary. Especially when it was originally like this:

You can read all about the kitchen knock through we did in 2013 here. It’s still one of my most read posts as it seems a lot of you out there are still researching knock-through options, so it’s defo worth a look if it’s on your list of house jobs.

And whilst i’m so happy with the new layout and extra space we created in 2013/14, the actual kitchen doors began to annoy me, more and more once i’d taken the step into interior design in 2015. I’ve been patiently waiting to get this kitchen looking more like me without making any huge changes. I didn’t want to buy new cabinets, or a new cooker hood, the worktop and glass splashback needed to stay put too, but I also didn’t want it to look like this anymore.

Let me talk you through the things that did my head in.

Kitchen before

The lights under the wall cabinets. Hated them. Hated how they looked and hated the light they gave out. Horrible horrible. So much so, we never actually used them. They needed to go. The wiring for them was also never chocked in properly so I had to style out the space above the cabinets with pictures and glassware to hide it all.

MADE.COM photoshoot

When we first looked at getting our kitchen re-done back in 2012, i’d just had a baby so my marbles and resolve wasn’t quite as it is today. I originally wanted the wall units to run all the way to the ceiling, but I was met with “you can’t do that“, to which I quickly backed down and accepted there’d be a huge waste of wall space in what was a pretty small kitchen. Seemed daft to me, but I just didn’t have the nous I do now.

Kitchen before

Another thing that drove me mental was this gap under the top drawer. I’ve sat and faced this damn shadow every night at the dinner table for the past five years. I’ve tried sitting facing the other way, but I still know it’s there. Taunting me from behind.

Kitchen before

The other quite big thing that no longer floats my boat, is, white gloss. We went with white, as it was the safe option and we didn’t really have to think about it. And gloss, well that was because we were told the matte finish is harder to keep clean and shows finger marks more. Not sure if that’s true or not, but for me, the gloss has gotsta go! I’m so very bored of gloss kitchens now. I don’t feel it’s very “me” and as this is a room I spend a lot of time in, I really wanted it to feel more like the rest of the house.

What I actually wanted was the kitchen to appear more like furniture, I wanted wood, but not too much wood as we have an oak floor, so I had to try and get the balance right. After much research, and I mean a lot, I looked at:

  • Valchromat, which was my first choice, but it doesn’t come in white. Black Valchromat was the front runner, but hubby did not want black in here… and to be fair, I think it would have been too much black for such a small space, so I was happy to stick with white as the door colour.
  • White faced plywood – didn’t like the solid white melamine finish. I wanted to see some kind of grain or material.
  • KoskiDecor Eco transparent – literally just been culled in the UK and shipping from Germany was going to be at least 500 EUR. I blame Brexit.

So, after looking at what felt like every material under the sun, guess what I went with?

White birch ply kitchen

That’s right, my trusty birch plywood. It just never fails to make me happy. This time, it’s been hand painted white on both sides, translucent enough that you can still see the grain and natural markings that come with wood.

Birch plywood kitchen

You’re only getting little snippets today as my patient joiners, Bare Joinery are still working on it and if I go in again with my camera, they’re going to lose their rag.

Birch plywood kitchen

I’m really pleased with how it’s looking so far… losing those gloss doors has made me feel so much happier in there. I hope you like what you’ve seen so far peeps. I’ll be back very soon with the final reveal of my long awaited kitchen facelift. Can’t wait to see it for myself actually!

Featured image: Katie Lee for MADE.COM








  1. Anonymous says

    How exciting! I’m looking forward to seeing the finished results!

  2. Ivana says

    That will look fantastic! Can’t wait to see it.
    They lie about gloss: it definitely shows fingerprints more. I had it and hated it. We now have a white Ikea kitchen (matte – looks very similar to yours with the recessed drawers), but we had normal door units hung on walls. You should have gone with your gut to go full height – I did and I’m sooo pleased with the result. We did ours in 2010 so the sizes are probably different now, but back then they had a short and tall unit. We put in two rows of the shorter units which came to just an inch under the ceiling. Still looks great – eight years on I still love my kitchen. (And I warmed it up with walnut varnished wooden worktops and slate grey tiles.)
    Can’t wait to see how yours turns out, I love your use of plywood throughout, especially the bedroom floor…

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