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Real homes: a mini kitchen makeover

I've been at the kitchen already here this week, with the great table revelation. Now for another recent update.

This is how the back wall in the kitchen looked for a very long time...

As well as the obvious repainting, which took me about a year to get around to, I thought it needed a shelf above the bin. After about three years of talking about it, the shelf finally happened – by which time it had turned into an open box, to hide the bin. 

But painting it all white, which was the original plan, seemed like it would just make a feature of the bin – it being black. It is a new bin, a very pleasing matt black Brabantia to replace the broken, dented thing I bought from Woolworths in the 90s. I like the bin, but not so much that I wanted to frame it and show it off.

I thought maybe we could put some nice fabric up. A bit like this lovely Sanderson arrangement (it's called 'Amy' and is from their Maycott Collection).

But my boyfriend was violently opposed to the idea of fabric. I hadn't found this photo at the time to try to sell him the idea, and could only rustle up some images that fuelled his fear that it would make the kitchen look like an early 1980s cheap caravan interior.

So we pondered doors. But concluded that would just be a pain in the ass when trying to bundle in in armfuls of rubbish with no spare hands. But before we get to the solution we finally went for, I just want to share this this really old photo I found on a recent iPhoto trawl, of the same area in the kitchen, very soon after I moved in.

Which makes it all the more satisfying to finally have got to here...

The mirror, which used to hang at the end of my gran's hallway, replaces the impatiently stuck up Ikea mirror tiles that had previously been there, and I – slightly reluctantly – dislodged all my treasured postcards. But they will find new homes. And having the mirror reflecting the garden without lines criss-crossing the view, and it reminding me of my gran is bountiful compensation.

The whole idea of the shelf became even more enticing after I saw the amazing tea shelf featured in Geraldine James's Creative Spaces book recently. Kettles are such worktop wasters – it was a brilliant idea. So we tried installing the kettle there, but it was too cluttered and it made me hate the kettle, which had already become quite hatefully leaky and spitty. So much so that the whole revamp inspired the move to a nice, old-school on-the-hob number (more of which in a future post).

The brilliant Bjorn Wiinblad wall plaque was a present from a friend. It is a reproduction of the Danish designer's 1970s originals.

The little lamp, from Habitat (along with several other little lights around the room) give a cosy glow in the evenings. And I like having the cutlery right there where you want it, in three of these, from Ikea. The teaspoons live in a 50s cup my very nice neighbours gave me, and the 70s-style internet radio is this.

The shelves above (Ikea again, but they don't seem to stock them at the moment) are a work in progress. Can't quite find the right thing to put on/in them yet. I'd like them to store beautiful trays in them which could lean against the wall like pieces of art. But I haven't got enough of the right trays yet. I got the general idea of multiplying these shelves from the inspiring Australian stylist, Jason Grant

The bin solution was simple in the end – simply to paint the inside of the box the same colour as the bins, so that they'd visually vanish inside it. I also painted two other walls black to doubly avoid the "feature bins" theme. There's one, above. I'll post up some before and after photos of the other wall soon. 

They also match the cat.

Post by Kate


  1. Genius ! Where are the plate racks from, on the black wall ? Thanks.

    1. Just cheap bare wood Ikea ones that I painted. I spoke to the PR and sadly they don't sell them at the moment. Good luck finding the right thing!

  2. That is a genius solution! That area looks so lovely and stylish now, with the black paint and the styled shelf. I've just found your blog and am enjoying your kitchen posts!

    1. Thanks for the kind words - and I like your blog too! Maybe we could do a pair of swapsie posts some time. Shout if you'd be up for that - kate at x

  3. Your kitchen looks lovely! Great idea to paint the inside f the shelf to hide the bin! We have the same problem with having a kitchen bin on display so this post has definitely got me thinking :)
    I have just come across your blog via 'Jane Fosters' blog, looking forward to reading more x