Choosing tiles and finishing touches for a new kitchen

The installation of floor tiles that Hannah has coveted for two years push the kitchen fitting date back, but the scheme is all coming together and it is time to make decisions about paint colours and final touches

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‘Progress’ is my new favourite word (it just pips ‘detail’ at the moment). Our renovation project has been taking huge leaps forward – I was promised that once watertight things would fly, and fly they have!

The kitchen

Despite the renovation progress, we have hit a few problems, most notably the oversight of the thickness of the floor tiles and underfloor heating, which led to a comedy step down to all of the other rooms. At best it would have looked ridiculous, but more likely we would all have needed a loyalty card for A&E! The solution? Dig out the floor, which is ok as it’s only 60m², but it did mean we missed the kitchen fitting date.

This was a low point for us all – the microwave balanced on a washing machine has served us well, but the novelty of choosing your week’s meals from the Waitrose ready-meal section has definitely worn off. Even the youngest member of the family is requesting broccoli. That was three weeks ago, and the disappointment is still lingering, and the vegetable cravings have intensified.

kitchen underfloor heating

It’s fair to say we underestimated every square metre of the floor tiles – the cost to buy, the cost to fit, the cost to dig out the floor, the cost of the sealant needed (five coats!), and the cost of the underfloor heating panels to support them. Luckily, we had amazing advice and service from The Underfloor Heating Store.

The one thing we didn’t underestimate is just how much we would love the finished tiles – they are spectacular and the proportion and colour is perfect in the space. The tiles are one metre square, off-white, hand-poured polished concrete – we saw them nearly two years ago and saved them in the ‘one day’ file. It’s certainly true that the best things come to those who wait – two years for tiles feels a fair illustration of that!

It would seem that any hopes of my early planning enabling a more hands-off approach at this stage were misplaced, not only because the decisions seem to be coming in thicker and faster than ever, but also because I must have momentarily forgotten that I am a (borderline) control freak.

I was stumped on kitchen door colour, but, after working through a few sample pots, settled on French Grey Pale from Little Greene. Handles were another challenge – luckily my Google searches introduced me to More Handles. The team there were a great source of information and matched my dwindling budget to handles that look less dwindling budget. Turns out you can get handles without screws showing for less than £75 each – thank goodness.

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Walls have been tumbling down, and white washes applied to new plaster quicker than you can say ‘George Clarke’ – so all sorts of decisions will be whizzing around my mind over the coming weeks. Thankfully, in five more sleeps we will finally have a kitchen. Which means, from Thursday, you’ll mostly find the Davey family eating broccoli!

Hannah Davey is an aspiring interior designer who owns and runs a performance brake disc manufacturing company. She lives with husband Robert, a relationship director at a bank, and children Claudia, 16, Jemima, six, and Rafferty, four.