Our kitchen

April 2023

Almost four years after moving into our Hebridean home, we’ve now completed the last of the major renovations to get our house how we want it. The most urgent work was on the guest rooms, the living room and the garden, and the final room of our house to be given a makeover has been our kitchen. This is what the kitchen looked like before:

The logic for the kitchen being at the end of the refurbishment queue was because it was the ‘most acceptable’ of the rooms, in that we could function with what we had while we focused our energies on other projects. But it really was in desperate need of overhaul. Helen has been experimenting more and more with her recipes, and Rudi with his beer brewing, and we simply needed a more practical workspace which could enable that.

For this reason, a critical thing we needed was to create more space, and to do this we decided to move some of the major appliances outdoors. So the first thing we did was build a utility shed to house the washing machine and freezer, both of which are powered by solar panels on the roof.

Then we more or less gutted the kitchen, taking everything back to the bare brick to enable us to re-do the electrics and insulate the external walls.

An interesting feature in the kitchen is a disused chimney breast, which is the back of the living room chimney that is no longer in use. We decided to cover the wall with what are called ‘brick slips’ – the front sides of bricks which are applied to a surface like tiles but which ultimately look like a real brick wall.

The layout of the room we designed ourselves, ordering the units, sink and oven/hob from a local kitchen store. When we dismantled the old units, we decided to retain the solid wood doors and upcycle them, which involved sanding them down and giving them a new coat of paint.

For the floor, ideally we wanted stone, but that wouldn’t have been possible with the existing floorboards, so we used laminate tiles which have been designed to look like stone.

Finally, we ordered worktops and bar stools online and made a large breakfast bar/workspace in the middle of the room. The result is a spacious and welcoming kitchen which is a pleasure to work and sit in!

3 thoughts on “Our kitchen”

  1. Wow that’s great. Do the solar panels on the utility shed actually produce enough electricity even for the freezer? Have you though of wind or air/ground source for heating?

    1. Thanks Duncan. The freezer is not actually a problem since it doesn’t need that much energy, so yes, even throughout the winter we were able to power it from the solar panels. (We’ve since come to realise that we very rarely use the freezer anyway, so it’s been switched off for the past few months.)

      The washing machine needs more energy, but we don’t use it that much in the winter, so our storage batteries are usually sufficient to power that. And in the summer, when we have guests and therefore do more washing, the solar panels should provide what we need. But we do also have a wind turbine and can store energy from that as well.

  2. Is it a british type machine? They have a hot water inlet so you could save water heating current by boiling the supply on a woodfire. Pleasing to read that a deepfreeze will run independently. I generally empty my 3 units over the winter. Just swedes potatoes and leeks overwinter without it. Of course i bottle a lot of stuff too. Jimbo

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