It’s been a long time since I wrote, which I’m blaming on two things – having a baby and moving house. Now that both amazing things have happened, I have a huge project to work on – because the house – and almost no time to do it – because the baby.

However, this is blog about making stuff which isn’t babies, so onto my first and largest project.

Our new house has no kitchen on the ground floor. It’s a three storey Victorian Town house, and the previous owners were using the ground floor as a business, so when we moved in there was nothing at all on the ground floor where you’d like to find a kitchen. While this is odd, we do have a kitchen on the first floor, which although not ideal does mean I can work on the new kitchen without the pressure of not having a kitchen while I’m doing it. This is a good thing, because the baby.

We also don’t have much of a budget – because the baby – so I’m trying to get the best quality kitchen I can in the most economic way I can. I have had to admit defeat and ordered three units from a cabinet maker, which will come unpainted for me to finish, but the rest I am trying to upcycle and source myself.

I found three pieces on eBay, which were taken out of a much bigger and more expensive kitchen than I can afford, and the first one I’ve finished is a large plate rack.

The Plate rack had been stored in a barn, and the top section was suffering from a bit of damp and dirt.

As well as that, it was very heavy as it’s mostly oak, and a bit over powering, so I decided to cut the top section off, to stop the damp spreading and to lighten it all up a bit.

I took all the plate rods (not sure what else you call them?) out, then copied the curved detail from the lower section to give the top shelf some shape. As you can see, it took me a while to work it out, so if like me you have several ideas, make sure you mark the one you want clearly enough so you cut the right line! I finally simplified it down and got out my new toy, a black and decker Jigsaw (which I love.) And zip – there is is, cut down to size.

I want to keep the detail to the inside, as the kitchen space we have is not large and I don’t want to over power it. We do have a diner space too, which means I can spread my old kitchen contence between two room, but even so. If you want to see my pintrest board with my mood board for the project, this is a link here.

First of all I used Rustoleum chalk paint in clotted cream to paint the whole thing, giving it two coats and then sanding back. I have bought a bundle of retro printed napkins, all of them using advertising images from French and American magazines from the 1930’s-1950’s, and these are the pattern element I’m using. Because life is short and I only have little bursts of time to work on this, I am sticking them randomly onto the back of the units, over lapping and then sanding some back to create a weathered feel. I’m thinking of the walls you see in Mediterranean villages, with years of posters layered up and peeling in the sun.

Once they’re been glued in with my pva and water glue, I waxed the outside of the cabinet and then varnished the inside. I use floor varnish and give it two coats minimum, which means it can be wiped clean in the future. Once it’s all dry, I put the staves back in (Ahh, staves, that’s a better word) and replaced the old cup hooks with new, thicker ones – and it’s done.