If you’ve ever attempted a semi-small renovation, you’ll understand when I say that it’s the final stages that seem to drag on forever. I think it’s because with demo work, the results are virtually instantaneous – here’s a wall and now it’s gone. But the fiddly bits don’t have such instant visual gratification for me and I really have to push through to see my vision come to life…

When you last saw this room, the door to the dining room was being shifted over to make way for storage and the fridge along the common wall. This is what happened next: Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 6.07.33 PMOver 900kg and 161 packages of flat packed kitchen arrived. (My excitement was extremely short-lived on this one.) The dining room became flat pack central and there was NO order to the mayhem. It took military organisation and the beyond-methodical book-keeping skills of my mother to tick-off and co-ordinate the pieces. Bless. But before I even started to put it together, there were the floors and paint work to be done.


Space and light and space and an outlook and space and light

IMG-1413689978672-V In keeping with the hallway and the common-wall throughout the house, the back area and kitchen were to be painted bog-standard white. Yes, there are hundreds of white colours to choose from but, for me, it was plain old non-tinted white straight from the paint factory.

I didn’t want to choose a white colour that ended up being too creamy or, to the other extreme, too “blue” and harsh.  I wanted this open plan space to be fresh, bright and light and a plain backdrop to the garden beyond. 

The French doors, huge kitchen window and sky-light let in so much light so I wanted to harness that. Certainly made the job of cutting in the ceiling and walls so much easier and quicker. So the painting was knocked off in a weekend.


Next came the floors. As you know, the kitchen boards were stained when the whole house was done by Jack and his mates. And the colour wasn’t as dark as I wanted. In order to match the newly laid floors, I had to strip back the kitchen boards. 

IMG_20140913_134145 I did this with a hand-held belt sander. Hmmm. I recently did some work stripping back and sanding the boards at my friend’s house. They hired the proper hard-core sanding equipment and I was in charge of the edger. It was extremely heavy and you needed your wits about you to handle it but I LOVED it and to be honest, if I had my time again, I would hire the edger (for about $40/day) and do my whole kitchen floor. Yes, not just the edges but the whole floor. Next time…! 

Flat packing

Mum methodically ticked off each flat pack component and labeled each and every spare screw and nut and filed them with their corresponding instruction sheet in zip-lock bags. Patience of a saint. While I discovered that sometimes, the best way to construct flat-pack is while sitting in it.

If you’re ever wanting to know how to fill two weekends, try putting together 21 flat-pack kitchen units! You start off all perky and driven and by unit 4 you’re over it. But you get the hang of it and the turn-around time gets quicker as you go. This is an Ikea kitchen. Ikea do not provide “flat-pack construction” service however do link you to trades people in your area who can do it for you. Their rough estimate can be between $50-$100 per unit to construct. Based on that, for the price of two weekends, some heated discussions, 100 cups of tea and a few good laughs, I saved myself between $1050 and $2100 putting them together myself.  And that saving was then put to good use. As the house was so old and the walls out of line, I ended up getting my builder to install the cabinets. I wanted to do it myself but the time it would have taken me combined with working full-time would have meant I would have installed about two per weekend. It was money well spent.   20141109_120614I did the tiling myself because a) I love it and b) again, to keep the budget down. It was fiddly work due to the dodgy walls being not so square and also sunk back in some parts so, I had to build up sections to ensure I didn’t have a wave effect going on.     20141109_160414 20141011_135248 I did the floors in 3 coats of Coco-black. I chose not to do high-gloss as it is will see a lot of wear and tear. It was almost there. I finally got to see my new cooker in place. As I was determined to have a 90cm cooker I had to get the gas installed. Generally, this doesn’t cost too much to get a line to your house. But because I live on a semi-main road, the council decided to charge me over $900 for “traffic management”. Don’t even get me started on that. But I got my cooker for $700 at auction. Retail price was over $2000! This was mainly because it had a few marks on the side, which were never going to be seen anyway but man, it saves you a lot of money. I love this cooker.

And so, I’m still to finish off styling including art works etc, but you get the gist.


Here she is. I hope you like it! SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES The kitchen, including 4cm stone bench tops and the large bank of floor to ceiling cupboards on the common wall all came in at less than $9,000. SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES


10 thoughts on “WE HAVE A KITCHEN

  1. Amy says:

    Hi Kimberley
    wow your kitchen looks amazing! I only recently discovered your blog & have been eagerly awaiting the next kitchen post. We also installed an ikea kitchen & have been so happy with it, especially how much money we saved- people don’t believe it’s ikea when we tell them! I would love to see more of your ideas & tips on tiling. The white subway tiles look fantastic. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring blog. Best wishes, Amy

    • girlupaladder says:

      Thank you so much Amy! It is so true that you don’t necessarily need to spend tens of thousands to get a great kitchen. I shall do my best to get some more tiling info on here for you too. Love the feedback – certainly helps keep me motivated to keep at it and get the rest of the house reveals up soon. Thanks again and take care, Kim – GUAL

  2. Melissa says:


    It looks amazing and I was also surprised at the IKEA range. Your reno looks fantastic I love the cabinetry. Can’t wait to see your styling images.

    Cheers Mel

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