8 Feb

Home tour – kitchen makeover on a budget

Welcome home.  Or, at least, welcome to my home.  How is it possible that after living in this apartment for over a decade I am only just getting round to taking you guys on a home tour?  Well… first of all we rented for 8 of those years and have spent the past two years redecorating at a snail’s pace (or maybe slower).  But one room at least is complete and here it is.


We worked to a pretty tight budget but man I gotta tell you, I love it.  You know when you go to a party and everyone winds up in the kitchen?  Yeah, that’s basically me – every single night.  Party for one.  This is my most favouritest space.  It’s open plan with the living space and with all signs of those ugly, brown, laminate cabinets removed, it is just an oasis.  Scroll down for the step by step, George’s tips and the dreaded ‘before’ pics…

So what did we do?  (And I use the term ‘we’ somewhat loosely as my father-in-law basically made this his pet project and I did not argue – thank you George).

First things first – the laminate had to go.  Enter Annie Sloan.  The beautiful thing about this chalk paint is that you can paint it straight onto just about anything.  No sanding, yep that’s right, no sanding.  We opted for Pure White and it is sooo fresh.


– Forego the recommended grey undercoat and start with a coat of white.
– Use three to four coats to get a really solid coverage and finish with lacquer to seal.

Next up – the tiles.  Now, I never hated my tiles but they were kinda… meh.  You know?  I mean, they were just so beige.  Hardly living out my Spanish casita Pinterest dreams.  And then a friend introduced me to Beija Flor World.  Mind officially blown.  Surely stickers over tiles were going to be kinda naff?  Well, you tell me.

I actually received samples of two different designs around four months ago so I can confidently say that even in that time there has been no peeling or any other weird side effect you might be concerned about with stickers.  Basically these are the bomb.  New tiles, without retiling.


– Wash and dry original tiles before beginning.
– Unscrew sockets to get stickers a few millimeters under each one for a neat finish.
– Ventilate your room well – the sticky back adhesive of 1000 tiles can get to you.

And then there was, what will forever be known in my memory as, the concrete saga.  In other words – me explaining to the husband, parents and anyone else who would listen that I simply planned to cover 2 whole sides of my kitchen bar/island in a skin of new concrete.  There was resistance.  There was confusion.  And then there was George – I’m honestly sure he thought I had also lost my mind but still he visited the building yard so frequently and asked so many questions that he made friends for life.  The builders, no doubt, also thought the concept was…  unusual.  But they shared their theoretical tips and guess what?  You know it.  I love it (like ‘heart emojis in my eyes’ love it).  I may even have crumpled myself under the worktop to use that concrete as my glamorous backdrop on occasion


– Use a staple gun to loosely fix a layer of pliable plastic mesh over the area you plan to cover.
– Paint the whole thing with a layer of PVA and when it goes tacky…
– Go to town fast with a trowel and smooth on your concrete (one coat or two depending how thick and or smooth you manage to get the first layer).
– Use a mix of 1 part cement and 2 parts white sand to get that beautifully light grey finish.

And last but not least – the details.  I’ve been hoarding blue and white kitchenwares for years and now they have their home.  I’ve picked up some gems from Anthropologie as well as growing my Blot collection from Habitat and finally my Marimekko ceramic pot picked up in Finland has its home.  My gran’s vintage scales keep pride of place as they always have and remain the only kitchen scales I own, still working perfectly and keeping memories of so many childhood scone baking moments with her.

Possibly my biggest revelation is these paper storage bags from Scottish maker Warm Grey – they’re durable and washable (yeah I know, I don’t understand either but I have tried and tested) and make excellent fruit bowls.

I searched and searched online for the right blue and white enamel jugs for utensil pots.  I was certain I had found just the thing in a lovely online vintage shop until I read the small print – *Please note previously used in French hospitals for enemas.  Could not make this up.  Luckily I stumbled across these wonderfully quirky pieces from Africa illustrated with accordian playing lions and dancing meerkats.  If you didn’t know already, I kinda have this thing with animal themed homewares…

Then the white Tolix stools because, you know, every kitchen on Pinterest.  They don’t disappoint.

And so the kitchen is complete.  Now for the rest of the apartment…


With thanks to Annie Sloan and Beija Flor World for their help.

Posted in finds | 19 Comments, go on leave another


  1. Ally Posted 8 Feb at 8:49 am

    Amazing family job!! Looks more Spanish than our place in Ibiza. Sangria, paella & churros on our next visit?

    • Thankfifi Posted 8 Feb at 10:12 pm

      Erm yes please! I’ll provide the kitchen if you can provide the sangria, paella & churros?!

  2. Anastasia Posted 8 Feb at 10:12 am

    All I can say is one word DREAMY!!!
    Perfectly designed-I loved the concrete idea-and how lucky to have George by your side ( and local builders to provide him with advice).
    Thinking of it we all need a George in life, could I please borrow him for my DIY living room project?

    • Thankfifi Posted 8 Feb at 10:13 pm

      Sure… I think I could hire him out the number of George enquiries I’ve had today 😉

  3. gaylesbury Posted 8 Feb at 7:09 pm

    I LOVE it! What an amazing transformation!!! I have literally followed all the links here, that paint sounds amazing!!!!! X

    • Thankfifi Posted 8 Feb at 10:13 pm

      So pleased you like it.x

  4. Gillydhu Posted 9 Feb at 10:50 am

    What a fabulous finish. Well done to you Wendy for the vision and to George for obtaining the finish. Love it.

    • Thankfifi Posted 13 Feb at 9:57 am

      Thanks Gilly.x

  5. Adriana Posted 13 Feb at 3:21 pm

    Babe, this is gorgeous! I was totally fooled by the sticker tiles, they look so good! I wish I could renovate my kitchen too, but Barcelona’s rent is expensive and my kitchen is so small.

    Congrats to George for the hard work, too! 🙂

    • Thankfifi Posted 13 Feb at 6:00 pm

      Thanks lovely – the stickers are honestly amazing – a whole no look with none of the hassle of retiling! It’s different when you are renting – hard to justify spending the time and money.x

  6. Dolores Posted 13 Feb at 8:58 pm

    What a stunning transformation Wendy. We love what you and Scott have done. XXXX

    • Thankfifi Posted 23 Feb at 5:29 pm

      Thanks so much 🙂

  7. Dash Dash Posted 28 Feb at 8:59 am

    So inspiring 🙂 great job! Can’t wait to see the rest of the house once you’re done with redecorating 🙂

    • Thankfifi Posted 5 Apr at 9:39 pm

      Thank you – more coming soon!

  8. Barbara Parsons Posted 17 Mar at 6:24 pm

    Who would paint over wood.

    • Linda J Hoffecker Posted 29 Mar at 12:26 am

      I’ve always wondered that, too but after 35 yrs of the same dark wood cupboards, it would be a nice change to have some white cupboards and cheery look!

    • Thankfifi Posted 5 Apr at 9:40 pm

      They were just laminate actually, not real wood so I had no qualms whatsoever about painting over them!

  9. AJnabi Unjana Posted 5 Apr at 7:51 pm

    I love what you have done. I am in the process of redoing my kitchen. Since you did not say anything about the floor I assume you did not have to do anything to it. Can you please tell me if they are tiles, hardwood, or laminate? I am looking for the similar finish. Can you also tell me where can I get it?

    • Thankfifi Posted 5 Apr at 9:39 pm

      Thank you! We did the floor a couple years ago – it’s engineered wood from the solid wood flooring company and we went for engineered white oiled oak in the 220mm wide as we loved those extra wide boards that are Matt and pale. The dirt is somewhat engrained now but we still love them. Good luck with your renovations.x

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Fashion, travel and life with Mr K and Tux (they're the furry ones). By Wendy H Gilmour.

Contact: thankfifi@gmail.com


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