Posts Tagged ‘kitchen’

This post is sponsored by White Knight.  

White Knight laminate primer in kitchen

When we left off the kitchen looked something like the above. With the brown-on-brown-on-brown scheme a fading bad memory, it was time to apply all the new finishes.

White Knight kitchen makeover

Kitchen makeover

We chose a grey-tinged white for the walls to make the white-white cabinetry pop. A soothing neutral is a definite treat for the eyes after the previous patterned wallpaper. Unfortunately the nicotine-stained ceiling took five coats of paint, including one of stain-blocking primer – ew!

White Knight kitchen makeover

We ummed and ahhed about the benchtops but ultimately opted to try out hand at concreting (which is a post unto itself). I love the textural and earthy aspect to complement the other sleek, white surfaces.

White Knight kitchen makeover

Having painted tiles in our old home’s kitchen, bathroom and laundry I was pretty confident and it turned out just as well as expected. I did the whole thing with a brush, because being oil-based it is somewhat self-levelling (although it’s important to use one with very fine bristles to avoid brush strokes). The paint is super thick so unlike the ceiling (along with everything.else.in.the.entire.house.so.far) two coats were sufficient as promised.

White Knight tile & laminate paint

Next up were the cabinets. I painted them in situ and used the same fine-bristled brush, which meant I could do the cutting in as I went along (gotta love saving an extra step). I thought I might have to switch to a roller but the first coat turned out nice and smooth so I stuck with it. I did two rounds (inside and outside) each with two coats.

White Knight tile & laminate paint

The difference after the tile and laminate paint was like night and day. The tiles are a high gloss while the laminate is a satin so together they reflect so much light; a godsend in such a dim room.

White Knight kitchen makeover kitchen-makeover-54 kitchen-makeover-56 kitchen-makeover-57 kitchen-makeover-59 kitchen-makeover-62

Remember what it looked like before?

White Knight kitchen makeover

What a difference! We are still planning a few finishing touches (lighting, primarily) but I’m happy to say we added three decades just with a few tins of paint and a bag of concrete!

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Nespresso machine

To round out Birthday Month, how about a peek at a very special pressie?!

The Man (whose birthday is 6 days after mine) and I received a coffee machine from his family for our birthdays. Hooray!

My father-in-law was chatting to me quizzing me about coffee makers a few weeks ago. In hindsight clearly doing a bit of sneaky research however I was completely oblivious and thought he was asking for advice to upgrade their machine. How clueless am I?

Regardless, I still managed to convey that in the (to my knowledge, hypothetical) situation of us getting a coffee machine it would need to be a very compact piece to fit in our kitchen. A great hulking appliance was not going to work in our little nook!

I also wanted one that uses pods because coffee grinds can get messy (I used to work in an office that had a regular espresso machine and my coffee was cold by the time I had cleaned up). The bonus of pods is that you can have multiple flavours on hand and they’ll always be kept fresh.

Nespresso machine

My clever in-laws chose the Nespresso U D50 with separate milk frother. Look how slim the profile is – it fits perfectly in our tea/coffee station and the milk frother stores easily in the cupboard below.

We had been thinking of getting a coffee machine one day – perhaps as a 30th present request next year – but we were very surprised by the generous gift.

Working at home it really is a lovely treat every morning to have a proper coffee instead of the regular instant.

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Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed celebrating Birthday Month with me! I still can’t believe I’ve been blogging for three years. My longest full-time job was three years and I was hating it by the end and I still love blogging so that’s a good sign!

What did you think of this month’s Book Nook Things I Love by Megan Morton? Share your thoughts over on the review if you’ve read it!

June’s theme is going to be bedrooms, so if you have any questions about closet decluttering/organisation, jewellery/accessory storage, bed linens, bedroom decorating or similar please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Tea print by Handz

Brr! The temperature is dropping by the day as we head into winter next week. I’m on my third hot drink of the day just to try to warm up a bit.

With tea and coffee on the brain I’ve chosen to round up some of my favourite tea time essentials for you kitchen.

Click over to see all 20 picks over on Houzz.

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Tomorrow morning we are picking up a new car (!!) which is a tad exciting. We are planning to drive to the coast tomorrow and the hills on Sunday to take it for a spin.

Do you have any fun adventures planned for the weekend?

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bar cart

I have wanted a bar cart for the longest time. I was picturing a gorgeous rounded art deco or mid-century piece, but – even if the budget stretched to an antique – we simply would have nowhere to put it.

My brother-in-law’s partner is a keen painter and when we were admiring the latest piece in her studio recently I spotted the cute Ikea Råskog cart she used for her art supplies.

Not long after, I spotted it on the Ikea website for a steal ($49 down from $79) and immediately raced down to snap one up.

bar cart

It makes a great bar cart for a small space. The middle shelf is adjustable so we could fit the tall bottles on the bottom shelf and glasses on the middle shelf.

We certainly don’t need hard liquor on hand on a daily basis (we’re mainly wine/beer drinkers) but it has freed up almost an entire cupboard in the kitchen. And you know how excited I get about additional storage space!

I’m also happy that the original mid-century anodised ice bucket that I inherited from my late great-auntie now has a suitable place to be displayed out in the open instead of shoved at the back of a cupboard.

I would still love an antique bar cart one day, but I didn’t hesitate about buying this for the same purpose as it’s such as versatile piece I know we’ll always find a use for it. We’ve already discussed an artists’ trolley and a bar cart, but how about a mobile craft station, bedside table, bathroom storage, cleaning supplies storage or perhaps its advertised use: extra kitchen storage?

Til then, I think I can feel a cocktail party coming on…

What do you think about bar carts? Do you have one?

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Tea & coffee station

About this time last year, we installed a small rack in an awkward, unused corner of the kitchen to form a tea & coffee station.

It has been working quite well, but it still meant I had to go to various drawers, shelves and cupboards for some of the essentials like teaspoons, mugs and sugar. Actually, the term ‘station’ was probably a bit of an overstatement now that I think about it.

I didn’t want all these little things cluttering up the kitchen benchtop and having to move them to wipe up every day. What I needed was a tray (“You’ll need a tray!”).

Tea & coffee station

Turns out I had the perfect thing already under my nose, in the form of this adorable strawberry crate that I bought for this shoot. There’s lots of red and a bit of green in the kitchen already, plus I’ve been wanting to add some natural textures to soften the stark whiteness so it couldn’t have worked out better!

I already had the mason jar, sugar dish, milk jug, mugs and hooks (the latter I borrowed from the spice rack) so it was a totally free project. Gotta love that!

Tea & coffee station

We only use the milk jug and sugar for guests now (I’ve succeeded in one of my 2013 goals to eliminate sugar from my coffee – go me!) but I still wanted to have that all in the same place too. When we entertain I can now just remove the kettle, add some teacups and take the whole tray into the lounge.

I love how streamlined the process is now. Sure, it only saves a few seconds, but instead of needlessly fussing about getting out my coffee making things, I can do something more useful like put away last night’s clean dishes or open some mail.

The only thing I haven’t managed to find a solution for is the teabags. They’re currently in a divided box in the pantry – it’s too large to fit here as is, and I quite like how it separates the flavours so I’m not sure what I will do about that yet.

Tell us: how do you store your hot drink essentials? Convenient and out in the open or neatly tucked out of sight?

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Valentines strawberry sauce title

This strawberry sauce recipe is really easy, I challenge you to screw it up. It’s super tasty on pancakes or ice-cream. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, no?

Find my recipe and the free printable labels over on Polka Dot Bride today.

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Coupon storage before

We’ve had this little basket in the washstand in the living room to corral all our vouchers (coupons) and gift cards. It needed a good cleanout anyway (why were there piles of business cards and expired ID/membership cards in there??) and I decided to take the opportunity to somewhere we’d be more likely to remember to check before heading out shopping or ordering a pizza.

Coupon storage after

I picked up this cute magnetic box for $2 at a random Japanese bargain store in the market district (seriously they had the best stuff! I could have gone nutso on the cute storage on beautiful glazed stone and bamboo tableware).

Turns out it was the perfect way to keep our vouchers neat and tidy. I put it on the side of the fridge so it’s out-of-the-way but still easily accessible.

I should point out that here in Australia there’s no such thing as ‘couponing’ – the supermarket price is the supermarket price. It was a foreign concept to me until I started reading US blogs. So thankfully we don’t have a zillion vouchers to cut out, store, use and keep an eye on the expiry so there’s no need for a complicated category system. We only have the occasional pizza flyer (which we rarely use) and a handful of gift cards from birthdays. (Which reminds me, time to go shopping for free!)

How do you organise your vouchers/coupons and gift cards?

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prep & serving cupboard before 1

Firstly, apologies for the dreadful photography in this post. Taking shots of the inside of cupboards is not easy!

Moving on. Let’s talk kitchen storage.

We have these cavernous lower cupboards in three corners of our kitchen. They might be large but they are so awkward to use, especially this one because the adjacent fridge sticks out.

prep & serving cupboard before 2

Looking at this ‘before’ is probably enough and I don’t need to explain why a makeover was required. However, I will point out a couple of functionality issues we were having.

prep & serving cupboard before 3

  • The serving platters were all stacked on top of each other so it was difficult to pull out and replace the item you needed (there are more of them underneath the shelf riser on the left).
  • Some frequently used items (such as the Pyrex dishes) were at the back while the once-in-a-blue-moon food processor attachments took up prime position.
  • There was no real system of placement so the everyday prep items were mixed in with the servingware.

One day I’d had enough and pulled everything out and started over and it now looks like this:

prep & serving cupboard after

Ah, so much better right? (And not just because of the improved photo quality.)

I separated it out so that the top shelf is all for food prep and the lower shelf is all related to serving.

prep & serving cupboard after

The enormous array of ridiculously specific food processor attachments remain out of the way for one day when I have a sudden urge to make Russian dumplings.

prep & serving cupboard after

Another change that made a huge difference was the addition of a couple more wire shelf risers (I bought mine from Howard’s Storage World but you find them in plenty of places). It is a much better use of the space and avoids too much stacking so things are far easier to access. (There are a couple of items which you may spot are missing, these have either been gotten rid of or relocated to elsewhere in the kitchen.)

The stacking of platters was particularly inconvenient and it also didn’t allow for a variety of sizes. I picked up a stainless steel pot lid rack from Ikea and it is the perfect way to organise my platters. I thought they might be too heavy and push it out but it works great! It’s so much easier to access and put away.

prep & serving cupboard after

Oh and in case you were wondering, I think I’m all set for white platters for the time being.

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Pantry with drawers
Shelf Genie via Organizing Made Fun

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come home from the shopping with another bottle of soy sauce or packet of cashews because I forgot about the spare one I already had in the depths of the pantry. Sadly I can’t fit this kind of setup in my pantry in an awkward corner base cabinet, but if you have a full-length pantry I reckon you’ll love these retrofitted drawers to solve all your forgotten food woes.

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DIY kickboard drawers
Family Handyman

Hands up who could do with some more storage in the kitchen? Yep, me too.

These fantastic drawers installed into the usually wasted toe-kick space have to be one of the cleverest ways I’ve seen to cheat more storage. They’re perfect for those awkward large items such as baking trays and best of all, they can be retrofit into your existing cabinetry.

Here’s the tutorial if you’re game to DIY it, otherwise ask a kitchen company or your local cabinetmaker.

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