Our Ikea Duktig kitchen is definitely our most played with toy. With two girls under five, it has been well loved for over four years and was beginning to show a few signs of looking tired. I’ve always wanted to upcycle it, and over the years have had various designs in mind, but renovating two houses and a house move took priority over less essential (but way more fun) projects like this one. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know we have given our real kitchen a temporary update, whilst we save for an extension. This project, therefore, gave me a chance to put my plywood and ribbed wood dreams into real life, albeit on a smaller scale!! It has also meant I had a chance to change two of the only things I found impractical about the play kitchen – the fact that all the toys fell down the back, and the plastic hooks which the kids constantly pulled off and scattered around the house. I wanted to create something different from other play kitchen hacks I’d seen, so I looked at ‘grown-up’ kitchens and furniture for inspiration. I love the texture ribbed wood creates whilst still maintaining a neutral palette. This makeover took very little skill and is relatively simple to create, but it was a bit time consuming! I hope this quick tutorial will make it easier for you and give you the inspiration you need to finally get cracking with your play kitchen makeover. 1. First, you need to take the top section off the kitchen and remove the small white panel that Ikea provides (which goes behind the ‘microwave’ bit) – this is easy to do as it just slides out. Then remove the pole by loosening the sides with an allen key. 2. For the ‘splashback’, cut a 6mm sheet of plywood to size using a circular saw (or some local DIY stores will cut it for you). Drill holes in each corner of the plywood, place your sheet in situ, and then drill a small hole where your screw will go. Attach it with four screws in each corner to the back of the kitchen, and if necessary secure it with an extra screw in the middle at the top. 3. The wooden pegs are from H&M Home and were secured by drilling two holes into the plywood (use a spirit level to get them straight) and then I popped two flat screws through the holes with washers on the other side to tighten them and make sure there is no movement. 4. The tap and sink are sprayed with Rustoleum Surface Primer to start with, followed by some leftover PlastiKote spray I had in matt black. I then used Rustoleum Clear Lacquer spray paint to give them an extra coat for durability. I lightly sanded my tap and sink thinking it would help the paint to adhere to the surface but, being plastic, it just made the surface quite […]
Naff. That was the first thought in my mind when I came across tile stickers.
But then we moved to this house with a lime green kitchen and my opinion began to change. I knew we needed to come up with a quick and cheap solution so we could transform it (or at the very least, make it ‘liveable’) before all the major building works began.
You can find tile stickers on eBay and Amazon, but after heaps of searching, we personally struck gold with moonwallstickers.com. It’s an unassuming website, with limited and rather uninspiring social media activity but, my oh my, some of the tile stickers on there are gorgeous! (This is NOT an ad by the way!) There are also multiple size options available for every design making it compatible with the tiles you already have.
I can honestly say it’s the best £1000 we’ve ever spent. We’ve never had a huge budget for doing up this house, but to spend 1/6 of that on getting rid of the old UPVC door and transforming our homes curb appeal was definitely the best decision we ever made. I absolutely hated our old door, and I hate to admit I’m this shallow, but it genuinely made me feel embarrassed about the house. We’d worked so hard on transforming the interiors, but 95% of people only ever saw that horrible plastic white thing more akin to a static caravan home than a Victorian cottage in the beautiful South Downs National Park. I remember our first Christmas in the village, taking Darcey for a little walk in the pram to get some fresh air and coming home to Matt exclaiming ‘I swear we have the only UPVC door in the WHOLE village, everyone has beautiful Christmas wreaths on their beautiful Farrow and Ball doors and ours is just BLEURGH!!!’ (You may come to realise I’m never one to understate my feelings…)
Before we bought ‘The Otto House’ we rented a large, detached three-bedroom house with an enormous studio in the garden. Like many here in the South of England we had to downsize to get on the property ladder so storage has always been a bit of an ongoing challenge. I am a curtain-maker by trade and not only used the old garden studio for making curtains but also for hoarding HEAPS of fabric, wallpaper, paint, magazines, books and anything else remotely crafty. It was like a creative paradise to me and something which I am sure I will never have again, but I am so very grateful for the two glorious years I spent stitching away in there whilst the sun streamed through the double doors. (And the winters spent in a coat, hat and gloves bent shivering over my sewing machine, but, you know, that sounded less poetic!)
As first time home owners there are certainly many things you have to consider that I’d never even thought of before. Now don’t get me wrong, I am really happy with the overall finish and we certainly have made a huge aesthetic transformation to what we started with, but there are some aspects of our renovation that I would do differently if I could.
So, firstly, why the rush?!
We were living in rented accommodation and managed to get a three week overlap where we could live in the comfort of one home, whilst drastically changing the next. Most of the work required was dusty and messy and in a small two-bed, we knew there would be no ‘give’ once we’d moved us, a baby, and all our stuff in, so we really needed it to be liveable and child-safe by the end of those three weeks.
People often ask us how on earth we do it all whilst looking after the children and to be honest with you, there is no magic answer. There is no wand that turns a dingy and dated hallway into a new fresh, practical and modern entrance unless you’re willing to put in the hard work (or hard-earned cash). Whilst we don’t have much of the latter, we have attempted (and completed) many DIY jobs around the house so here’s a few tips that we’ve learnt along the way…
Two of the things that get the most comments over on my Instagram @theottohouse are our bathroom tiles and this exposed brick wall. It really was so very simple to do and at next-to-nothing cost, is a great way to add character to a room on a low budget, but despite that we still felt pretty intimidated by the job and almost didn’t go for it. Do you have similar apprehensions? Read on to see how we did it and how we feel about living with exposed brick, one year on.