Before and after: self-made cabinets kept costs down in this kitchen makeover

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  • With a kitchen needing a complete overhaul and only a small budget to play with, the owners decided to get creative…

    When the owners bought their house in 2014, the kitchen hadn’t been updated for years, which suited them perfectly, as they wanted to start from scratch. “We needed to keep costs down, so we decided to do as much of our kitchen makeover as we could ourselves,’ they say. ‘We designed the layout and spent a week stripping the room, moving pipes and replastering.’

    The couple wanted to build the units themselves, which was something they had never done before. ‘We figured it was worth gambling the cost of the materials to build the first unit,’ they say. ‘And, luckily, it was a success.’ The same was true for the concrete worktops – the owners learnt how to make them by watching videos on YouTube.


    Wanting the kitchen to feel rustic, rather than polished, the couple chose a simple, classic look. Geometric floor tiles add a hit of pattern. The kitchen carcasses and doors were made from sheet MDF and oak. The pair then painted them in a deep grey and finished them off with antique brass door furniture that they found online.


    The worktops were made by pouring concrete into templates and coating it in a wax sealant once dry.


    The old shelving, made from old scaffold planks, provides an industrial touch.


    There wasn’t space for a dishwasher, so a double sink is a good idea for easy washing up.


    Grey grout on the white metro tiles creates a colour contrast and adds to the industrial-style feel.


    Iron rods around the edge give the brick tiling a neat finish.


    The project took five months, as the owners both work full-time. ‘Cooking Christmas dinner in the microwave was a low point,’ say the DIY duo, ‘but overall we had fun doing the project together.’ And they’re thrilled with the results: ‘It feels so much bigger,’ they say. ‘We love everything about it, especially as we did all the work ourselves.’

    Shopping list

    Cabinet paint, £55 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

    Floor tiles, £44.95 per sq m, Walls and Floors

    Worktop cement, £14.40 for 25kg, Travis Perkins

    Shelves, £25 per m, Etsy

    Cup handles, £6.85 each, Door Handle Company

    Oven, £149, Indesit at

    This kitchen originally appeared in Ideal Home, February 2017

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