Thursday, 7 August 2014

Grotty Kitchen - Really Cheap and Easy Update!

Having looked back through the original planning applications to turn the old house as-was into flats, one of which we rent at the moment, I discovered that the original shell was built in 1979. And do you know what, this damned kitchen has been here since the start I reckon!

Just look at those sexy, sexy beige and brown floral tiles. Nice.

It genuinely needs gutting, just entirely ripping out and starting again, but as lowly tenants we don't have that option. There are so many things wrong with it, not least the lack of "fitting", with the washing machine in a gap that's too big and too tall for it, and same for the oven. There is minimal worktop space, and the worktop looks thrown together with some shoddy craftsmanship and unfinished ends. There should be at least a couple more cupboards on the wall, or at least some shelving, as there is so little storage space. The whole kitchen should have been made bigger in all fairness. I'd have been willing to sacrifice some of the quite frankly over-proportionate lounge for a couple more units in the kitchen, but I digress!!

Built in it ain't! 

My main bugbear at the moment is the kick-boards - in some places so rotten that bare chipboard shows through (oh yes, it's a proper quality kitchen...), and every time I mop the floor, a little bit more of it chips off. So what's a tenant to do without the ability to change anything permanently and also minimal budget?

This makes me feel physically sick whenever I look at it

Sticky back plastic, of course!

I took an old cardboard box (we just happened to be having a bit of a clear out and I found this old PS3 box!) and cut strips just wide enough to fit the gap between the cupboard door and the floor. I wanted it to be as snug as possible, so it'd stay in place without any need for fixing, and more just being wedged. I measured this mainly by eye by holding the cardboard up to the gap, and then making the incision with a Stanley knife. It needed a little tweaking, but not by much, as I wanted it to be a very snug fit anyway and it being slightly too large was actually a good thing!

PS3 box becomes a kickboard - recycling FTW!

I then purchased some sticky white vinyl off eBay for about a fiver. You can, as a super cheapskate route, get sticky back vinyl in Poundland and the 99p store, but it's mainly wood effect, and as the rest of my kitchen is "white" (more like dirty off white....) it would have looked a little weird. But if you have a wood effect floor, wood work surfaces, or even just plain wood doors, this might be an even better (and super cheap!) option for you. Sticky back vinyl, or Fablon as I know it by, is also water resistant so this will actually protect the grotty wood from getting any more damaged with cleaning (seriously, cleaning making things worse? Should really set some alarm bells going for the landlord!!)

Ta da! Ignore the horrible peeling chipboard doors and uneven floor *sigh*

I have also looked tirelessly for new door handles. A great update for any dated kitchen is to switch out the handles to a modern, sleek look. It can change the whole feel of the kitchen for just a few quid. But for some reason, they decided to build this kitchen with non-standard handle screw hole widths. In my vast research, I have been completely unable to find ones with fixings in the right place, so save for drilling new holes (which isn't possible) I'm either stuck with the ones I've got, or I have to put two individual knobs on each door and drawer (which I liked initially but... now I think it looks silly.)

Nice, aren't they? Just look at the rust!!
The original handles are this very fetching mix of white plastic and rusted metal. Sooooo sexy. And the white plastic is mainly chipped and cranky, which only adds to their allure!! I gave them a thorough scrubbing with a scourer in a bowl of washing up liquid to make sure there was no grease on them, and then gave them a brushing with a wire brush to make sure any loose rust was completely removed and I had a good surface for painting over. I picked up some metallic spray paint, designed for metal and plastics, and gave them the once-over. This huge can only cost me £3.99 from The Range, and now I'm itching to spray EVERYTHING SILVER.

The thought process of how best to spray them was long and arduous. I asked on Twitter and Facebook and the best option seemed to be hanging them up, but where could I do that? Then, in a flurry of enlightenment, I thought of this idea. I think it's original so if it is, I'm pretty pleased with it. I tied the handles on to skewers using one of the screws and some cotton, and then I could easily pick them up by the screw, spray them on all sides, and set them down balanced on a box with the skewers without touching the handles at all! *smug face*

Dry my pretties, dry! 

An old cardboard box, a bin bag and some hair dye gloves = prepared!

This update only cost me about £10 all in, as I already had the cardboard so just needed the spray paint, sticky back plastic and a cheap wire brush (Poundland). And I think it makes a big difference! I no longer have to look at that terrible rotten kick-board, even if it is a fairly chavvy do-over. But hey, it's not permanent so they can't shout at us! It was so simple to do too, and you could use any colour for the handles, and the kick-boards for that matter. They do some cracking colours in sticky back vinyl and in spray paint, so the world is your oyster - if you want a bright pink kitchen, go for it! If you had a little more budget, you could buy some cheap, thin wood board and nail on some new kickboards, but as we can't make permanent changes (well, I sprayed the handles, but it's such a massive improvement, I can't see them caring) this seemed a decent, cheap and super easy option!

Ta da!

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