After months of researching then months of going through the mess (grrrrrrr) we finally came through, fed up of microwave foods, but ridiculously happy with our new kitchen.

Here are our choices with the reasons why along with tips based on our experience to help you on your design journey. I’ve broken each area down incase you want to scroll through and look for anything in particular (is my obsessiveness with structure and organisation coming through?! ha ha)


Layout-wise we turned one half of our old kitchen into a banquette area so we could use the formal dining room across the hall as a playroom. The other end of the kitchen gained a peninsula and space which we stole from the downstairs cloakroom on the other side. Here are the before and after pics:

The full details of how we went about creating a banquette, including recommended dimensions, whilst gaining more storage and making the rest of the kitchen work can be found here.

One thing I’d recommend to anyone changing their layout is to mark it out on the floor using masking tape before making any decisions. It really helped us to physically see how big the clearances would be to determine whether we could have an extra cupboard at the end of our peninsula and how big the dining table could be.

So, down to the nitty gritty…

Choosing a supplier

Knowing our budget and knowing that I wasn’t going to compromise on bi-fold doors or quartz worktop meant also knowing that made to measure cabinetry and really high-end kitchens were unlikely. However that didn’t stop me looking to them for tips and inspiration and I fell in love with the Tom Howley ranges; rather than it ‘dangling the carrot’ for something I knew we couldn’t have, I saw it as research and an exciting challenge to work out what it was I loved about them in order to recreate the look for waaaaaay less. Armed with all of this information it gave me clarity when knowing what I was looking for with the suppliers in budget like Howdens and Magnet.

There wasn’t a huge difference between them to be honest as their ranges are in the same ball park and very similar, so it became more about having a rapport with a designer who got me and having trust in their ability to pull together the best combination, which is the main reason I chose to go with Magnet. She made recommendations that worked with my vision as opposed to upselling and really thought about our kitchen project in its entirety instead of focusing solely on what they were supplying. There was also a huge amount of difference in the time she spent in the space before going back to create the plan in comparison to the others.

We managed to get a huge discount through our builder/fitter at trade price so it’s always worth asking what accounts they have.

Door fronts

From the get-go I knew I wanted shaker-style cabinetry rather than sleek units. My Pinterest board trends made that pretty obvious: