Finding things, Our recycled home

Our recycled kitchen – a makeover from new to old

9 August, 2012

Around this time last year I posted that my dearly beloved had ripped out the kitchen due to us finding a retro cooker that we wanted to install. It just felt rude to bung such a nice nostalgic beast in our existing Nineties kitchen so we decided to let our love of all things old reign supreme.

Another year later and it is about time I did the final update, our makeover from new to old.

The before pictures aren’t terribly good. They never are, eh?  I think this is because there is often nowt to shine, but also because of some deep reluctance to spend too much time peering at it all. Let’s just say there was ALOT of pine cladding.

Left hand side BEFORE

A low hanging ceiling with weird fake beams. Laminate flooring covering up stunning Victorian boards.

A huge pantry – it was an original, ancient cooling sytem but it just took up so much space. A boring tin sink with an ill fitting cabinet.

It was all so very dark and dreary.

*extreme makeover  voice* It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears but here is our new bright and cheery family kitchen….

We ripped out the cupboards. We were lucky to find some exactly matching vintage tiles in the basement of a derelict house round the corner, we popped those up to cover the spaces we’d exposed.

Tim runs a youth club in the place I used to go to Seacadets as a kid- they were chucking out the old benches so we made shelves out of them. The very benches I would have been resting my sorry, freckly young ten year old self.

The enamel tins are our new pantry- we found them in France when we drove 12 hours to a car boot.

Somebody close by had hired a skip for a house renovation so we pulled the excellent bench tops straight out (with permission, of course!)

These are old lights from a butchers- we found them on Ebay, £17 for the pair. To find them we didn’t type “vintage” or even “traditional” but “trditional.” Is it terribly wrong to benefit from other people’s mistakes?

Tim found this whole sink for £25 on Gumtree, and got to grips with plumbing to install it. Using some old table tops and doors from an old cabinet he carpentered a unit for it. (Cor, Kiwis are bloody ace. Do marry one, if you can.) The tiles, we  swapped with a local cafe, in exchange for building them some veg beds.

The retro blind is really a sneaky table cloth, and some of our Midwinter crockery sits upon a shelf we found in a bin and painted blue, and you can also spy the hooks I made from vintage spoons.

And here is the star of the show, our beguiling old oven. He was casted off, into the streets, along with these cupboards either side. A good clean, and a lick of paint on the cupboard doors, and they add a cheer from yesteryear to our kitchen.

When our fridge broke we took the opportunity to get one that fitted in with our theme. We had to hire a van to bring it home from the furtherest corner of Essex but we are so glad we did. It isn’t that old so is still efficient (although its huuummmm would tell you otherwise) but hails from the States which is why it looks so different. It has an ice maker much to my husband’s utter joy.

And this little corner adds a little pop of colour – we found it in someone’s garden and snazzied it up with some paint.

We had help with plastering the ceiling, and Tim picked up enough to some other walls, but other places we just exposed the brick. I love the texture of all the rubbly walls, recycled wood and shiny, colourful kitchen paraphernalia.

We spend such a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking, drinking coffee and eating so we are pleased we did this, despite saying we initially wouldn’t bother. I know it isn’t your usual makeover, and loads of you are possibly looking at the BEFORE pictures thinking it looks miles better HAARHA. But we love it’s quirky little self, it gets my heart all a flutter.

What do you reckon on this cornicopia of found objects?

PS The small and superior photos were taken by Jenny Harding during the Pretty Nostalgic shoot. She does a lot of gorgeous vintage style shoots.

PPS I’d love you to enter my giveaway – retro and Cath Kidston fabric, a 1982 Twinkle, a Midwinter tea cup and a glue gun! (An obvious mix!) Come over and say hi!

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  • Jem 9 August, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Cannot tell you how much I adore this makeover! Just gorgeous and a lesson in retro-fitting in a responsible, environment friendly way. Can’t decide whether I am more in love with the cooker, the white and green cupboards or that brilliant sink.

    Jem xXx

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Ah, thanks so much Jem! Yep, I find it so so odd when people kit out in brand new, earth’s resource draining retro style- when truly there is better made stuff to be dug out. I think people still struggle with the concept of secondhand, even while loving the look.

  • One Sugar Please 9 August, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    This is so wonderful! I love what you’ve done to your kitchen in every way. Your sink, lights, cooker and accessories are gorgeous, and all so thrifty. You should feel mighty proud of yourself by creating such a vintage kitchen haven x

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      THANKS! There were definitely times when we lost all motivation and wondered what we are doing. Stoked now though 🙂

  • pyoorkate 9 August, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    That is a *gorgeous* kitchen. I love the way you’ve incorporated so many found elements into something so beautiful. Inspring 🙂

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you 🙂 We are addicted to finding things!

  • Janey 9 August, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    This is possibly the best house makeover project I have ever come across! It’s just perfect! The thrifty aspect of it must make you even more proud of the result.

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Wow *preens just a little*
      It’s easy for us to forget how different it is, as it happened in so many stages you know?

  • eliminationcommunication 9 August, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    So shabby chic! My cousin in in the midsts of Shabby chic-ing her kitchen, foyer, dining, and living room with antiques and some of the original wood in the house. It is much darker but so unique! What I like is that each space is so unique — a nest no one else has. It’s actually one of the reasons I don’t care for modern or even 50s decor…sure it’s “nice” and even “sexy” but there’s no individuality.

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Actually since doing this I joined Pinterest and realised that I hadn’t made up this open shelves, tin thing! It’s kind of a popular look, must have been subliminally impacted by something 🙂

  • melwiggins 9 August, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Oh Luuuuu, I want to marry your kitchen. So so great to have such beautiful snaps of it! Those cupboards and the cooker are totes my fav bit. And the fridge. Oh oh, and the open shelves. And the blind! Ok, I’m moving in.

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      Yeah come move in! Just make sure you bring your Canadian thrifting swag with you 🙂

  • Olivia Huszak 9 August, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Lucy, I LOVE your new kitchen 🙂 Everything about it is just awesome.. I want your house! Please come to NZ and design me a mint house just like yours!!! love love love it 😀

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks Olivia! Maybe there’s a business in that – “second hand house design” *starts thinking*

  • Liburuak 9 August, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    That kitchen is beautiful. Would you like to pop over and do mine? 😉

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Ohh yeah! I have a business now! (see above comment) it’s er kind of in the early stages…

  • Penelope 9 August, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Gosh, this is all just STUNNING. You guys must know that all the blood sweat and tears were well worth it. I love that you have thought of every little detail and upcycled boring bits to colour happy bits. Well done, enjoy! xox Penelope

    • lulastic 9 August, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you Penelope 🙂 I think we get the equivalent measure of happiness from it so it’s worth it 🙂

  • Patch 9 August, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Who could honestly think it looked better before?? Huge improvement. Well done. Mine needs lots of work… One day!

    • lulastic 10 August, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      Ah thanks. As someone pointed out on Twitter, it would have made an excellent sauna!

      • Patch 10 August, 2012 at 6:01 pm

        Ours has a weird t & g ceiling on half of the room… Also sauna like :s

  • Lady Demelza 10 August, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Speechless. I just love you more and more with every blog post.

    • lulastic 10 August, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you! You were so beautifully kind in your post 🙂

  • talkinboutnothing 10 August, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I love the green

    • lulastic 10 August, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you, we took our old colander to the paint shop and matched it with that!

  • Danielle Askins 10 August, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Just shows that it is worth reusing objects to make some wonderful and more personal to you 🙂

    • lulastic 10 August, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      A huge, resounding “Here, here!”

  • mummyjc 13 August, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Congratulations on the makeover. I know how much work was involved. My kitchen is definitely a work in progress but I’m happy with my bathroom (even though it needs basic things like tiles!!!). It inspires me to get on with the kitchen again and make it even more of a family space (the house has been even more neglected since I have a new obsession – an allotment).

    • lulastic 15 August, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      It is funny how new obsessions come along and sweep everything else away – I am so very much like this. Even struggling with my blog a tiny bit as I have begun work on another personal passion of mine – an ethical Christmas Fair. Must. Keep. Blogging!!!

  • Valerie 14 August, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Aha aha, so has Tim had any sleep at all this year? Looks fantastic though, so cosy.

    • lulastic 15 August, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      The DIY has nothing to answer for when it comes to lack of sleep compared with our little night-lark!! Hahaha. Lovely to hear from you Valerie x x

  • Claire 15 August, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Your made-over kitchen looks dreamy and wonderful.

    • lulastic 15 August, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks Claire 😀 I wish I could have a dream-fest meeting of lovely online types like yourself in there with copious amounts of tea and crumpets 😀

  • Kylie 15 August, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Your kitchen looks awesome. Waaay better than its before shot. I love your oven and all of your other bits. Fantastic.

    • lulastic 15 August, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks!!!!! We love our oven too, it cooks things so briliiantly fast – however it has never heard of the word “Simmer” 😀

  • Angelika 16 August, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    i’m a little late in replying but wow, wow, wow. i LOVE the “new” kitchen. you did a fabulous job. love the stove – is that a warming space between the oven and the burners? and is that your washing machine in the kitchen? we experienced that quite a bit when we were travelling in scotland. i love that idea. most north americans hide their washers in their basements and then end up schlepping clothing up and down stairs. why not have that machine where you are most of the time? anyway, i think your new kitchen is brilliant. well done!

  • Scarf_lady 18 April, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I’ve only recently discovered your inspirational blog, and love it. I just have to tell you that I’ve ‘pinned’ your entire kitchen renovation! its fab!
    and I want, no NEED, your cooker 😉

  • helen 28 September, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Hi there, you’re kitchen looks awesome!! I know this is from a long time ago but I’ve just stumbled upon this page when looking for a retro cooker. I’ve found one like the one you have but I was wondering if you had to do anything to it to make it work/compatible with modern gas fittings?

    • Lucy 29 September, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Nope- just gas fittings for us- but so get someone in to get an opinion 🙂

  • Anthony 31 January, 2017 at 1:03 am


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