Bitchin’ Kitchen

Tips and tricks to create an artful home

Finally! It’s been a long time coming – this is the first instalment about my DIY home revamp.

When we started looking for flats summer last year we went in very open minded about area and age of the property. Other than budget of course the most important factor was that the space had to have character and “good bones”. As both of us are pretty busy in our separate businesses, we didn’t want to take something on that would’ve required gutting, or lengthy remodelling work of any kind (this time….). So what really sold us on this place was in fact the kitchen which had been remodelled quite a few years before to a standard that has and will stand the test of time for years to come! In a “small world” Instagram coincidence I was following the person responsible already. So thanks @jamesmooney for having such great vision.

One of my favourite artistic challenges has always been “work with what you’ve got”. Really look at a space, figure out how you use it, what atmosphere it should have, and think of ways how to achieve that without just throwing money at it (I mean who can anyway?!). What truly elevates a space from mere property to Home are the mirrors of your personality you add to it. In tune with that I truly believe the more hands on you are involved with any renovation or redecoration, the more you will have an emotional connection and feeling of satisfaction with it. Goes without saying that doesn’t mean I’d recommend going DIY on re-wiring the house or undertaking major works without any expertise in the field.

The easiest and many times most striking way to add your own twist to an interior is of course paint. And guess what? Anyone can do it, and if it doesn’t turn out to your liking….it’s an easy fix. Next in line are decorative items and artwork you can DIY… read further for how the paint pallete wall art came to pass!

In the example of my kitchen here is what my thoughts were on overall vibe and how I went about achieving it. Because of the size of the space with the big island and table in the “dining nook” with views of mostly sky and treetops, I knew this would be my space to work from home (sitting here writing this just now). It came with the pillar box red Smeg appliances, so as I wasn’t going to get rid off those I decided to work with them and incorporate the red into the overall colour scheme.

Kitchens and studios spaces are very similar to me, full of ideas brewing, experimenting with tastes and textures ,and an all round happy zing! Knowing that I was going to spend a lot of time in the space I went for an overall quite neutral wall colour, that would contrast and bring out the added bits of colour even more. When people come to visit the first thing they see is the massive crazy colourful custom wallpaper and vintage art print mural. When I work from home that is at my back and my actual view is this:

All business up front …
….due to glare you cant see the lush tree top right our there

…so overall a much a much more composed and serene scene. Whilst working I prefer more Nature and abstract views. When socialising, cooking and living in the space I love the fun, riotous, and colourful side:

all party in the back!

The space has of course really high ceilings which are painted the same colour as the walls. I try to avoid white ceilings as much as possible. The reason being is that especially next to darker colours they become an unwanted feature, drawing attention away from artwork placed on walls.

Which brings me to one of my favourite ever DIY wall art projects. The paint palettes. I was deliberating for quite some time what to put on that wall. A large original painting was my first idea, then practicality hit. Kitchens always have a decent amount of airborne dirt and grease. Extractor fan as much you like 😉 So I decided against the large painting that might get icky over time. Then i thought framed prints. After having observed the space for a while it was clear that for half the day the sun shines onto that wall which would mostly result in lots of unwanted glare and reflection off of the glass in the frames (i know there’s non glare glass and frames out there but generally the budget doesn’t stretch that far!). Then one days i hung one of my paint palette on there as I was working on something and boom, the idea was there. Next, went online and bought 16 wooden palettes off eBay, then spent an evening somewhat boozily painting them haphazardly with colours that would pick up the wall colour, the Smeg red and some green of the plants……and added neon for spice. Honestly cheapest statement art piece ever! Makes me smile every time I am in the space.

Next let’s talk about that custom wallpaper mural in the dining nook and my phobia of chairs!

Well ok it’s not just any chair but high backed dining chairs in particular. I’ll add that there’s only 2 of us living here and we’re not big on holding dinner parties, or sit-down events of any kind 😉 It was more important to make the space as versatile as possible. “Proper” dining chairs seemed much too awkward to shift and move about, not to mention would largely go unused most of the time. Here is a before and after of the space:

This layout gives us much for freedom of how to use the table, just push the stools underneath and its accessible from all sides. One big thing we are still mulling over is whether to have a custom corner bench seat built, or add another industrial style bench in there. Have i mentioned I’m obsessed with benches? It’s because they can multitask. As seating as well as shelf space or have hidden storage underneath…I also think they are more sociable than “everyone in their place” chairs.

Now for the colourful bits. Having an artist and a commercial sign guy do up a place (that’s us in case there was confusion) has its perks. Coming up with the design was the easy part. My man from Black Box did the wallpaper printing. Still the easy part. Putting it up was a bona fide nightmare without the expert hands of their installation team. We gave it a shot anyway and managed somehow, it just took an eternity! Heads up: next time a leave that part to the professionals!

The background floral design was of course designed with the idea in mind that it could have been painted….we cut the top to size so a pink brushstroke and some botanical details extend onto the ceiling. My other favourite part is the added clear vinyl to further extend the design onto the window, giving it even more texture an depth.

If you love the idea of this and think your home needs a bit of colourful oomph, get in touch I am always open for custom design projects to fit your space!

Right, so glad I finally had the chance to share the kitchen with you! Maybe it gave you some ideas for some hands on projects to do yourself….and if you do please share, I’d love to see them!

Next time…..a different room makeover. Until then,

Stare At Art Not Walls
Stare at art, not walls

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