Kitchen Renovation – Part 1 – Before

July 19, 2018
kitchen, 90s, 90s kitchen

I’ve decided to do a short series of posts to cover the Kitchen Renovation, rather than try and cover it all in one post, for a couple of reasons: 

  1. if I were to wait until it is completely finalised, it could be quite a wait, and
  2. to cover it all in one blog post could end up very long! 

At the time of typing this, the kitchen is now functional again, but not complete.  Appliances are in and electrical and plumbing have been reconnected.  I’ve partially moved some stuff into the new kitchen but not fully.  Splashbacks are not due to be installed until 31 July, and there are a few little problems/faults to be fixed yet.  There is also some painting to be done!  The bulkheads and cornicing are new and raw (not yet seen a lick of paint) but the walls and ceiling will need to be painted too.  You see now why it could be a while before absolute completion!

So let’s look at a bit of background to our kitchen …

We bought this house in 2007 when it was already 10 years old.  We’ve been here 11 years, so the house is 21 now!  We’d sadly outgrown our previous home of 17 years.  I say sadly because we built that house in 1990 and the children were born to that home and spent their formative years there.  It was very hard to leave that house but it had become too small, had very little storage space, and quite frankly – it was a hot house in summer! 

Our new home was much bigger, had loads of storage space, a lovely in-ground pool and ducted air-conditioning, and most importantly, was close by to the children’s schools!  Tick, tick, tick, tickedy tick!  Ok, so it was not a brand new modern home, but it felt warm and welcoming and had everything we needed.  When we moved in, our youngest was in her final  year of primary school and our twin boys were in their second year of high school.  I was working full time in my previous corporate life.  We had enormous expenses – an increased mortgage (due to buying a bigger, better home) and 3 x private school fees.  Home improvements, apart from the inexpensive DIY type, were not possible.

Since then all kids have finished high school, graduated with University degrees, and are adults in the workforce.  We’ve done a few DIY projects around the place, had the roof repaired and spruced up, solar panels installed, but this kitchen renovation is the first big ticket interior renovation we’ve ever done. 

So, the kitchen is very 1990’s.  Cream/beige cabinetry and a ghastly green laminate benchtop.  Additionally it had the raised breakfast bar (is that what you call it?) on the island bench.  I quite liked the handles we had in that kitchen.  I thought they were quirky.  So, I’ve kept them and might re-purpose them.  The green theme runs throughout the house.  Slowly but surely I’m getting rid of it!  I actually do like the colour green, some shades of it, but not this one!  The kitchen laminate is also used in both the main bathroom, the ensuite, and the laundry!  The pool fence was green but it is now painted black.  The guttering of the house is green and a few other accents on the exterior of the house are green.  Slowly but surely, we will get there.

Here are the BEFORE photos. 

kitchen, 90s, 90s kitchen

Kitchen, 90s, 90s kitchen,

90s, kitchen, 90s kitchen,

kitchen, 90s, 90s kitchen

kitchen, 90s, 90s kitchen,

kitchen, 90s, 90s kitchen,

kitchen, 90s, 90s kitchen, fridge

What problems did you pick?

As far as kitchens go, this one is not too bad really, is it?!  It’s only when you look closely you might notice a few things, like the following:

  • Squeezed in fridge!  The space is not wide enough. We had to remove the skirting board in order to fit that fridge in (if you look closely, you will see)! 
  • Broken Rangehood.  Hangs down on one side.  Ugh! 
  • Very 90’s raised breakfast bar.  Cuts off the room and also the underside ends up accumulating clutter! 
  • Ghastly green laminate benchtops! 
  • That pull down cupboard over the microwave was stiff and heavy and a real nuisance! It also blocked access to the cupboard above. You would have to pull it out a bit in order to open the cupboard above.  We never chose to have it down to hide the microwave, so it really served no purpose.
  • Timber trims – very 90’s.  
  • Strange powerpoint above the windows (was there when we bought the place).
  • Ugly hook from ceiling near windows (also was there when we bought the place)

And here is the pièce de résistance, the scorch/burn mark on the bench top from when an electric frypan decided to self combust!  This is actually located on the benchtop just to the right of the pantry.

burn mark, scorch mark, benchtop

What will be different in the new kitchen?

  • The new kitchen will mostly have the same footprint as the old one. 
  • The fridge space will be widened by 10cm (or 100 mm) in the new kitchen. We couldn’t widen it any more than that because to do so we sacrifice pantry space and we can’t widen the pantry on the other side because there are windows there.
  • There will be gorgeous Caesarstone benchtops. The colour/name will be revealed in due course!
  • There will be the same style of rangehood installed (but brand new and updated) as we’re not willing to sacrifice cupboard space for a fancier kind.
  • The island bench will not have the raised breakfast bar and will be a larger surface area. 
  • The drawer configurations will be slightly different. 
  • No pull down cupboard over the microwave!
  • The cooktop position will be more centred then before, which changes the configuration of the cupboards above it slightly.
  • New appliances – oven, cooktop, tap, sink, rangehood, and dishwasher.  We intended to keep our existing dishwasher but one drawer decided to die on us just a few weeks before the renovation was due to start. The cost to have it repaired was not worth it, considering the dishwasher is as old as the house (well it was here when we bought the place anyway), so we bought a new one.
  • The new sink will be a double sink but won’t have the drainage area. This will give us more bench space. Lovely accessories come with the sink that provide drainage solutions.
  • Powerpoint above windows and ugly ceiling hook near windows will be gone!
  • … and more lovely stuff but you will have to wait and see!

In a perfect world, where money was no object, I would love to cover the floor tiles with floating timber floorboards but these tiles are throughout the whole house (apart from the lounge room and bedrooms), so if I were to do that, I’d need to do the whole house and somehow I think that might blow the budget somewhat!  So, the existing tiles will have to do.

Stay tuned for the next kitchen renovation post where I’ll share a few phone snaps and explain the DURING process.

Ciao for now,





Link up here at WOTM or with another of us in the Lovin’ Life Linky team:
Leanne of Deep Fried Fruit Kathy of 50 Shades of Age  |
Deborah of Debbish  |  Jo of The Hungry Writer – Joanne Tracey.
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  • Reply Jo Tracey July 19, 2018 at 7:41 am

    I remember when we renovated the kitchen in our first Sydney home – it would have been the mid 90s and the timber trims & mottled laminates were the ducks nuts. Can’t wait to see your after pics.

    • Reply Min July 19, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Yes I remember the same – when we built our house (the one before this one) and picked everything for the kitchen. Grey cupboards, speckled grey laminate, timber edging etc. I thought it was stunning! haha

  • Reply Chris July 19, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Looking forward to seeing the new look.

    • Reply Min July 19, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      It’s not far away! 🙂

  • Reply Ingrid July 19, 2018 at 7:47 am

    I can’t wait to see your new Caesarstone bench tops!

    • Reply Min July 19, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      They’re gorgeous! 🙂

  • Reply Natalie July 19, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Looking forward to reading your During and After posts.

    • Reply Min July 19, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Won’t be far away! 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee July 19, 2018 at 10:07 am

    OOOH that is exciting!

    • Reply Min July 19, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Yes, it is! 🙂

  • Reply Deborah July 19, 2018 at 11:49 am

    My mother’s kitchen is over 50yrs old and is SOOOO dated. The cupboards have had dozens of coats of paint and it’s really thick. The handles have been replaced but are all loose and the underside of the benches drop sawdust on the dishes. I’ve asked if she’d think about upgrading but she’s not worried and it won’t add much / any value to the house eventually so we’ve just left it.

    My kitchen is a pretty basic one – for a house with such potential the original owners did a lot on the cheap – bunnings cabinets that you can install yourself with screw on feet etc… They’re plain white though so don’t worry me too much!

    Exciting times Min!

    • Reply Min July 19, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      I’ve never had stone benchtops before so that is very exciting! Our first house’s kitchen was dated … bright yellow laminate and fake pine look cabinetry. 2nd house we built so it was new but very early 90’s – grey cabinetry, speckled white/grey laminate, timber trims/edges, then this house with 90’s kitchen.

  • Reply Jodie July 19, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    You are so brave to do this kind of renovation. Of course, it’s always worth it in the end, but the process can be so stressful. Only because nothing always goes exactly as planned, yet for some strange reason, we think it will!!
    Can’t wait to see the results!!

    • Reply Min July 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      I don’t think I’m brave but it’s been quite a bit more stressful and tiring than I had anticipated. Not everything has gone perfectly (hence the stress) but then again much of it has gone very well. I’m loving how it is looking but still splashbacks to be installed and painting to be done and a few other things. xo

  • Reply Jan July 19, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Stone benchtops are wonderful, we had them in our renovated kitchen in Melbourne and really missed them in our next home where it was not possible (long story). Our kitchen in Noosaville is quite serviceable but we would love to renovate it, sadly it is a ways down the list behind a new en-suite and outside landscaping. I think your tiles are fine and you will be so in love with your new kitchen you won’t notice them. Surprised though that you haven’t kept that hook for a lovely hanging plant 😉 Looking forward to seeing the final cut x

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 7:49 am

      I’m loving the stone benchtops and am very excited today because the splashbacks are going to be installed. They weren’t scheduled until the 31st so this is great! Your new ensuite and landscaping will be exciting! Oh that hook in the ceiling above the window was a big ‘ol chunky thing in a very weird position. A plant hanging on it in that location would look very weird! xo

  • Reply Leanne July 19, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    For a 1990’s kitchen it’s in pretty good shape and the colours and functionality are much better than some of the ones I’ve seen (and used!) If your new one is going to be much better and more beautiful it will be a sight to behold – so I’m looking forward to the unveiling with bated breath! BTW (on a side note) isn’t it amazing how different things are with our kids in a decade – for you it’s from school – uni – work. Such huge changes in their lives and time for some in yours!

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 7:53 am

      You’re right Leanne. It’s a lot better than some kitchens I’ve seen … but still had to go – cos of big burn mark on the benchtop and all the other things I listed within the post. The new kitchen is looking gorgeous. Splashbacks go in today so that will be exciting! Yes – incredible how much change can happen within a decade with our kids! Things were very different around here 10 years ago! xo

  • Reply Kathy Marris July 19, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    I agree with Leanne that your kitchen looked in pretty good shape for its age. However I can understand why you would want to modernise it. I’m looking forward to seeing the end result.

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Thanks Kathy. I need to get myself organised and put the next Kitchen post together! haha

  • Reply Sanch @ Sanch Writes July 19, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Can’t wait to see the after pics! 🙂 I still have some kitchen envy even the way it was before.

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 7:55 am

      The before kitchen was not bad I know but gotta keep up with the times and increase value in the house. During and After pics coming soon! 🙂

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond July 20, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Hi Min, it certainly is a major renovation but will be so worth it. We are starting on our kitchen at the Gold Coast. It has similar benchtops to yours but in a blue colour. At this point we have put in our new appliances and we are keeping the doors which are a timber laminate and will look fine once new benchtops, splashback and floor tiles are in . It is a much smaller renovation than yours but still exciting to be having a makeover. Can’t wait to see your end result. 🙂

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 7:56 am

      How’s your Gold Coast renovation going Sue? Sounds like what you’re doing will make an enormous difference! 🙂

  • Reply Kristin Alicia July 20, 2018 at 8:57 am

    I adore the big windows in your kitchen that look out into the yard. I feel like kitchen windows make the space feel so much more spacious. I look forward to seeing the post-renovation pictures. I’m glad I came across your post. I’m midway through a kitchen reno and have been waiting until its complete to post about it. However, it’s been 9 months now and I still have much to do. I was thinking perhaps I should do a “mid way” post, and then I came across yours. I think I will go ahead and do that. Perhaps posting about it will motivate me to complete it.

    By way of introduction, I’m Kristin. I was pretty active in the Aussie blogging scene for several years, but had closed up shop by the time you opened up your blog. I’ve decided it’s time to step back into the scene and write publicly again. I’m a fellow fan of mindfulness and nature. It’s nice to “meet” you.

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 7:59 am

      Hi Kristin – pleased to meet you! I’d love to see your kitchen reno posts and photos. Yes go ahead and do progress posts! I’m glad you’ve decided to step back into the blogging scene. Sounds like we have much in common! 🙂

  • Reply Natalie @ Be Kind 2 You July 20, 2018 at 9:54 am

    I can’t wait to see the new kitchen. We moved into the current house we are in and renovated the kids bathroom. That was 5 years ago and it needs to be done again. Argh!!! Paint peeling, mold in the shower. With 4 kids using it all the time, I should be ok with it,

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 8:00 am

      I feel you! We still have two bathrooms and a laundry that need renovating (soooo expensive!!) as well as the entire inside the house needs painting!

  • Reply Sue July 20, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Min, if I’d still been struggling in our (dark, dim, with creepy things in the corners of the cupboards……..) old 1950s kitchen, your 90s kitchen would have given me “storage envy”!! But now that we have our new kitchen (also “not quite finished”) I’m in storage heaven!! I look forward to seeing your “after” photos!!

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 8:02 am

      There sure was a lot of storage in our old kitchen – that’s true! Not quite as much in the new kitchen because they only do square cupboards whereas the old kitchen was bespoke – and included the pokey corners … which are now sadly ‘voids’. A sacrifice I had to make. The pantry is a lot more practical and useable now though and still lots of storage – just not quite as much as before!

  • Reply Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama July 23, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    LOL Min when we built our home in 1993 we were in love with gum leaf green, it felt so modern, light and airy so we had it everywhere – carpet, walls, kitchen cupboards and bench tops. But then it became the next big thing! And when something becomes trendy, it eventually goes out of fashion. We sold that home in 2004, but last year it came back on the market so we went and had a sticky – most of the green was gone except for the kitchen and yup, it was ghastly, I would definitely change it if I lived there now! Luckily we had the bathrooms and tiles done in neutral grey, black and white so they still looked good. Though the tapwear – ugh!

    • Reply Min July 26, 2018 at 8:07 am

      Gum leaf green huh! LOL That would have been sooo strange to go back into your old home that you built. I’d love to have a sticky at a couple of my past homes but then again I think I could find it a bit upsetting? Not sure?! When we built our home in 1991 (not this one we live in now) it was all about pink and grey but in the main bathroom it was all about ‘apricot’. We had an apricot coloured bath! As for the tapware – your ‘ugh’ covers it! lol

  • Reply Anne Downing July 27, 2018 at 9:17 am

    I am jealous, I need a new kitchen!

    • Reply Min July 27, 2018 at 10:01 am

      I have had to wait a long, long time to have a new kitchen … and it’s lovely! 🙂

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