Tag Archives: kitchen

Things are looking up

24 May

When we first moved into our house seven years ago, it was a chintz palace. Everything was bright yellow and blue; there were frills everywhere; and the shell-shaped bathroom sink was very special indeed. Slowly, we modernised, but on a shoestring budget, which meant the faux-beamed artexed kitchen ceiling had to stay. I painted the beams black, and replaced the cast-iron chandelier with a row of spots, but frankly, it was still hideous. And gloomy.

So, when we’d finally saved enough to give the kitchen a little facelift, the ceiling was the first thing to get sorted. We couldn’t afford to redo the layout, meaning there was no room for fancy light fittings, so we decided to go for low-fuss spots instead.

But how easy is it to get a whole new ceiling and put in new lights? Surprisingly easy, as it turns out. Here’s how…

First, our friendly builder, Neil, built a frame a few centimetres lower than the old sagging ceiling. New lengths of wiring were joined to the existing central light fitting; then plasterboard was then screwed into the frame to create a new, flat ceiling.

Neil then spread a thin layer of plaster over the board to make it smooth; painted the ceiling; then drilled holes for the spotlights:

Finally, an electrician fitted the spots. We wanted good quality fittings that would look unobtrusive, but which would make bulb-changing easy, so we went for these brilliant recessed White Gloss Twist & Lock Fire Rated Downlights, £5 each, from FirstChoiceLighting.co.uk fitted with long-life LED bulbs (also from First Choice Lighting):

Extra safe (because of the fire rating), you simply twist out the bulbs when you need to change them. We wanted fittings flush with the ceiling, but if you’ve got more room to play with, they have a HUGE selection of modern lighting fittings – for all rooms in the house – that look a million dollars but don’t cost it.

And here’s the finished ceiling! The building work and electrician cost £350, and the light fittings themselves came to just £40 for eight. Honestly, it’s made SUCH a difference. Even my other half, who said he didn’t care about the old ceiling, loves the fact he can now see what he’s cooking. It’s like a light has been switched on (erm, because it has!).

What do you reckon? Have you completed a long wished-for yet simple project that has transformed your home? Let me know in the comments below or email me at thetreasurehunteruk@gmail.com – I’d love to see your photos!

Purple reigns

4 Nov

I’ve had a reader request! Claire has a new house with a boring kitchen and wants to jazz it up a bit with purple accessories. Only thing is, like most of us, she doesn’t have oodles of cash to spend.

She particularly wanted a cheap bread bin. I’ve done some research and crikey, bread bins are expensive! You’re usually looking at around £40 for a metal box that’s just going to sit on your worktop and get filled with crumbs.

So, I was pleased to find this stylish little number for just £12.99 at good old Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com). It’s part of the Spectrum range (below), and there are other matching purple accessories from just £1.49.

Alternatively, Debenhams (www.debenhams.com) have a good range of purple kitchen bits, including this traditional-shaped bread bin, £20, below.

If anyone else is looking for something specific, or has a shopping/interiors dilemma, let me know, and I’ll do my best to hunt down a solution!

Canvas opinion

15 Sep

Want to jazz up your walls quickly and cheaply? Canvas wall art or ready-framed prints seem to be either ridiculously expensive, or look obviously mass-produced. But not the new range of pictures from Next…

This pleasingly retro Tea For Two canvas would go well in any kitchen or dining area; while the London Names printed canvas (below) copies those bus blinds that are everywhere, and which usually cost upwards of £150.

Prefer something framed? This Life Is Good print comes in a classy oak frame and would look brilliant above a door or propped up casually on a mantlepiece.

The canvases are just £15, and the framed print is £20, all from http://www.next.co.uk. Bargain!

Bake to the future

8 Jun

I’ve been away on holiday (Istanbul) for the last week but I got back in time for my road’s Big Lunch street party. The bunting was up, the stalls were set up, the band started playing… and then the heavens opened. Still, we managed to have a couple of hours of fun before the whole street resembled a swimming pool. And the cake baking competition still went ahead. To give myself the edge (well, that was the excuse I gave myself), I invested in some new kit from Marks and Spencer’s gorgeous retro baking range (www.marksandspencer.com). In this year’s hottest ice-cream pastel shades, it looks almost too cute to use, and starts from just a couple of quid. Did it help me win? Nope – the Swedish guy from a few doors down, who wins every year, won yet again. I’m trying not to be too bitter – at least my kitchen looks a tiny bit more glamorous as a result!

%d bloggers like this: