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Wren Kitchens

  • InInteriors

    Kitchen & Dining Room Makeover

    When we first viewed our house back in October 2017, one of the first things we agreed was that if we were to buy the house, we’d want to change the layout downstairs. It originally had a large open plan living and dining room but we knew we would prefer a separate lounge and a kitchen diner instead. We moved in just before Christmas and lived with the existing kitchen for what felt like the longest few weeks ever. The kitchen wall cupboards were so shallow that our plates didn’t even fit in them!

    We started the renovation process almost a year ago now. It was a long and very hard couple of months but my god it has been SO worth it. I love the open plan kitchen and dining space we have created. And we spend the majority of our time in here these days! So I thought I should finally document how we got to this point including some before and afters. Let’s start with the ‘before’ shall we? The first photo is the original kitchen which we knocked the wall down and is now our dining area. The second photo is what was the dining area of the lounge / diner and we then built a wall and this space is now our kitchen!

    Josh did most of the work himself, bar things like plastering and fitting the worktops and doors. The first step was to rip out the existing kitchen. Annoyingly we couldn’t get a skip into either of our gardens. So we ended up dumping it all in the back garden then doing a million tip runs.

    Once the kitchen was out, we then had to rip out the old larder cupboard which was particularly stubborn! It was then time to rip down the wall between the old kitchen and dining space. I think Josh secretly enjoyed this part the most. Then the ceilings came down, the floors came up, the plumbing was done and we were left with what can only be described as total devastation. I remember shovelling piles of rubble out of the kitchen and wondering how an earth this was ever going to all come together!

    The next step (I think) was to build a new wall to separate the lounge. Josh did this and I remember I asked him ‘have you ever built a wall before?’ his response was ‘No never, it’ll be fine’. I think I just laughed at this point!! Once the wall was up, we had to put new ceiling boards up and then the plasterer came and worked his magic. Josh did all the electrics around this time too and put all the sockets and spotlights in. We then spent many late nights painting both the walls and ceilings ready for the kitchen to arrive!

    We bought our kitchen from Wren and I have to say, they were very good from start to finish. After much deliberation we chose a handle less gloss kitchen in the shade Pebble. This was very much out of my comfort zone as I had always loved more traditional style kitchens. But in the end we decided that for this style of house, a modern look would probably work better. For worktops we went for the luxury laminate in ‘Black Sparkle Gloss’. Josh and his Dad fitted the kitchen over a weekend. We sourced both the sink and tap ourselves as it worked out much cheaper. I was slightly hesitant when Josh suggested a black sink but I absolutely love it. It’s also super easy to keep clean!

    Next they then laid the laminate flooring. I would have loved tiles but to keep costs down we ended up getting this Albero Grey Oak laminate from Wickes. It was on offer when we got it so worked out super affordable. We’ve also run the same flooring right through the hallway, utility room and downstairs loo too.

    I always knew I wanted subway tiles in the new kitchen. I had my heart set on bevelled ones but Josh was adamant flat would work better. As he was going to be fitting them, I let him choose in the end! They were also from Wickes and on offer. But we had a bit of a nightmare with them when the order arrived lots of them were smashed! They were pretty good about it though and replaced them fairly promptly. We paired the subway tiles with a dark grey grout and I really love how they look together.

    For appliances we decided not to get an integral fridge freezer as we already had one and it worked out quite pricey once you’d added the cupboard in too. We did however get an integral dishwasher included with our kitchen price so that was a bonus. We kept our old oven as it was fairly new still and bought a new induction hob and hood from AO.com.

    Moving onto the dining room end, firstly we had a radiator put in under the window when the central heating was replaced. We also decided not to replace the door into the dining room end from the hallway but instead to have it as just an opening instead to save space. The door into the utility room was replaced with an oak effect one from Magnet.

    Our dining table was a sale bargain from Next, it is the Bronx light range (this is similar). It seats 6 but also extends to seat 8 which is so handy from when we are entertaining. The white eames style chairs were a pack of 6 from Amazon. These ones are similar. I love the contrast between the wood table and the plastic chairs, it gives a real Scandinavian feel to our dining space. The galvanised tray on the table is also from Next.

    Our white chest of drawers was originally Josh’s grandparents as we have had it a few years. We gave it a new lease of life with a lick of white paint and some super cheap new handles from IKEA. It holds all our place mats and table cloths and is super handy to have in there for extra storage. The print above is from Desenio and was part of a previous collaboration with them.

    Last but not least, the two yellow chairs are from Homesense. They were a total impulse purchase. Originally we thought we might have had enough space for a small sofa against this wall but quickly realised this wouldn’t work. Josh then fell in love with these yellow chairs and we ended up squeezing them into our car somehow. We actually use them all the time and they are seriously comfy! They are the perfect finishing touch to our main family room.

    And I think that’s it! If I have forgotten to mention where anything in these photos is from and you’d like to know then please just ask!! We absolutely adore this room and I am so proud of what we (mainly Josh) has managed to achieve with this space. If I was doing it again, then I would have gone for the integrated fridge freezer as ours has now broken! I also may not have gone for the gloss style kitchen after all, but I’ll just have to save my navy shaker style kitchen dreams for our next house!

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  • InRecipes

    Triple Chocolate Brownies.

    When Wren Kitchens got in contact and asked if I’d like to share one of my favourite recipes as part of their ‘Little Kitchen’ campaign I immediately thought of my triple chocolate brownies which are dangerously tasty and perfect for making with your little ones.

    For Wren, the kitchen is the heart of the home. This is where families like my own experience some of their most memorable moments. Wren Kitchens’ new ‘Little Kitchen’ campaign aims to explore a number of different theories around ensuring the little ones are getting all the goodness they need. As part of this, I have been involved in the Little Kitchen e-book (going live in April) which contains a series of recipes, fun activities and presentation ideas for involving kids in the kitchen.

    Bella really enjoys helping me in the kitchen and I try to encourage her to get involved as much as possible. She insists on doing little things like buttering her own bread or pouring her own cereal daily and I think that its so important to teach children about how food is prepared from a young age.

    I love to bake with Bella at the weekends when we have a bit more time on our hands. She likes measuring out all the ingredients by herself and then helping me to stir the mixture. Her favourite part is definitely eating the ingredients as we go though I’m sure 😉

    This brownie recipe is my all time favourite and I have made this countless times over the years and trialled various different versions. Today I’m sharing my classic triple chocolate recipe which always goes down a treat but if you are feeling a bit more adventurous you can easily switch it up by a bit by adding in some of your favourite chocolate. Terry’s chocolate orange chunks or rolos are both super tasty 😉

    Ingredients

    • 200g dark chocolate, I normally use the supermarkets own brand
    • 175g unsalted butter
    • 325g caster sugar
    • 130g plain flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 100g milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
    • 100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

    Method

    1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees / gas mark 3 and line a 33cm x 23cm baking tray with parchment paper.
    2. Put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof glass bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth.
    3. Remove from the heat and add in the sugar and stir until well combined.
    4. Stir in the flour and mix well.
    5. Add in the eggs one at a time and stir until thick and smooth.
    6. Finally add in your chocolate chunks and stir until they are evenly distributed through the brownie mixture.
    7. Pour your brownie batter into your prepared tin and bake in your preheated oven for around 40-45 minutes. Your brownie should be flaky on the top but still soft in the centre.
    8. Leave the brownie to cool completely in the tin before removing and cutting into chunks. Dust with icing sugar to finish!

     

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    Please make sure to send me a photo if you make them, I’d love to see!

    Thanks for reading
    Harriet xo

    This post is part of Wren Kitchens #LittleKitchen campaign. Please note that I was not paid for this post. You can view the Little Kitchen ebook here.

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