The Kitchen Larder

What a difference a day makes. The other day, Handyman Glyn, turned up in the evening as we sat there having a guilt free chippy tea and lamenting that the chips have gone down hill, Glyn picked up our keys and said the magic words I'm finishing your larder tomorrow. Now those words have a real impact on us for we have lived with the kitchen in a number of guises, from neglected 1950s chic with hidden fly casts behind the paneling, to stripped away paneling to reveal layer after lay of horse hair and finally, in the below picture, walls being stripped back to stone and house full of horse hair and dust no matter how many plastic sheets you place across doors. At each step Glyn has been there to advise us and recommended electricians and plasterers that he has worked with. That's important to us, to have recommended people doing work for us, and people who are proud of what they do. We like to share those before and after shots with you, because we're proud of all the work that has been put into this space. So, here is the kitchen as it was in 2014, full of dangerous wires, ankle deep in dust and providing opportunities not just to write your name in the dirt but to pen a full book on the history of filth.

Before and after photos of the kitchen

After three years of plastering, rewiring and new ceilings, we can now reveal that final larder cupboard built by Glyn.

Kitchen larder ideas

Kitchen larder ideas

Carol's already filling it, she was filling it as Glyn was tidying up, she knows it all has to come out so we can oil it but she was thrilled. Years of planning, saving up and making pinterest boards on kitchen larders has resulted in something we're thrilled with. Sometimes when doing up a house you forget how far you have come. Sure we have to paint the walls, oil the worktops, seal the stone floor but we have storage for the first time in years and that will put pay to our mice problems. That's the downside of country living, there are mice and they tend to be wood mice, and cute, and lovely, and totally immune to poison because farmers have been trying to kill them for years and they have now become super mice, the kind of mice that show up when you're cooking and yell at you to hurry up! As we have improved the kitchen, for you can only improve something that looked like it had been partying with a chainsaw and mallet, we have plugged up numerous holes and the mice have dwindled. Things have changed in this kitchen, we actually moved it from where it was, which was originally in the centre of the room.

Come and see how we change this

This has freed up space for a kitchen table and better lighting, whoever invented the strip light must have had a life time of migraines and nausea. We have yet to build the kitchen table but the old door to the original larder, which is where this new large larder resides, is waiting to become the new table. Waste not, want not. We even moved the kitchen sink up, the old one was 1950s sink, too little, too short and back breaking to wash up at. We'll actually miss this sink, it survived a lot, from crumbling partition walls, to a ceiling collapsing on it and ignorant heating engineers thinking it was something to stand on. It was a sad day when we waved it goodbye.

Kitchens that need a change #lifeonpigrow

The new sink is in place, with a new cupboard and home for the washing machine. This is all purpose built stuff by Glyn for us, mostly built in situ because we don't have straight walls. You could all draw breath now, we know what you are thinking, must have cost a pretty penny.

New kitchen

Actually, the final cost came nowhere near where a fitted kitchen would. We had one quote from an off the peg kitchen maker for £10,000, and we are nowhere near that figure. How did we cut down costs? Well, when the kitchen is finished, including the skirting and shelves we would have spent less than it would be to buy a decent second hand car. Think hatchback. We cut costs by finding the sink and taps ourselves, we spent weeks finding the best cost, best reviewed sink and taps, same with worktops, we decided we needed only three metres of work top, some in the larder and some around the sink. Why not more? Because we know from experience you only need a certain amount of space to cut veg. The rest is waste, we worked with Handyman Glyn to design the kitchen so we could slot in our own furniture, a Welsh dresser, a sideboard, each to have glass tops fitted to them to protect the wood and give more work space. The new kitchen table will be built at a height where Carol will be comfortable to make bread. At each step we cut costs not by being cheap but buying the best quality, we found our own handles, the handles alone came to only £19 (including postage), that includes wooden handles and bespoke metal handles for the drawers. We have wooden knobs leftover for other projects around the house, so nothing has gone to waste. The handles alone on the £10,000 pound quote from the kitchen fitters came to £175. Finally, you have to be willing to take on some of the finish yourself, we'll paint and oil this kitchen, finish the floor, paint the walls but we would have had to have done the floor and walls ourselves even if we had the 10k fitters in. We're not taking anything away from kitchen fitters, there are some excellent design companies out there, but if you're on a budget, you have to be willing to roll your sleeves up and learn some new skills. By being careful, buying clever, we are getting the kitchen of our dreams and people on our Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter, think we are spending a fortune. We're not. We're spending carefully. With what we have saved on the kitchen, we can now pay to plaster our bedroom, the office and the upstairs hall. That means the house is nearly finished structurally. All we would say is, find someone good to do your work, this is work that you yourself can't do, don't be clever and think you can because you can't afford to make mistakes on such jobs.


  1. You know what? As I was reading this, all I could think about was 'Wow, this must have cost a fortune!".

    It's amazing to hear that an awesome kitchen is achievable on a budget at the price of just getting your hands dirty. That's an easy sacrifice!

    Carol sure must have been happy about finally having that storage space! And I certainly don't blame her haha.

    What is the next step in completing your kitchen now? I can't wait to see!

    - Kevin