Our kitchen is the heart of our home. I don’t think any other room works quite so hard to support family life.
It’s the hub from which I feed the family, and the place I create most of my work. The cupboards are crammed to bursting the washing-up is seemingly never ending.
It's a gallery space for my kids artwork, a social space I stand with a cuppa and chat to friends. It's a route to the garden, and home to all manner of cookery gadgets.
It sounds like chaos, but it's also my favourite place to be. It's where I go when I want to de-stress. I find keeping my hands busy with food is a brilliant way to clear my mind and lift my spirits.
I associate our kitchen with so many happy memories. Those tiny baby days spent pacing the kitchen to the tune of washing machine white noise. The first recipe I ever photographed for the blog, JD tiptoeing on a booster step beside me. Weaning adventures with mashed carrot up the walls and games of drop-the-spoon. Noisy gatherings with extended family and worktops groaning with food.
There’s a reason why everyone ends up congregating in the kitchen. Being in there feels like being at home.
A hardworking room in need of a refresh
When a room works that hard to support family life, it can eventually end up looking pretty tired. And that was certainly the case in our kitchen.
The old granite-style laminate worktops had begun to peel slightly where they were used most, so we had them replaced with Wickes blocked oat effect laminate worktops last year, which made a world of difference. Soon after, we had a new oven fitted, which worked wonders for improving the practicality of the space.
But there was a downside. With a fresh new worktop in place, suddenly the kitchen tiles looked more tired than ever. Having inherited them from the previous homeowner, I'd never been terribly keen on them. The magnolia grout and pastel diamond features weren't the colour scheme I would have chosen, and the panels of little mosaic-type tiles were a real pain to keep clean.
Fortunately, Wickes offered to come to our rescue and replace our tired old tiles with some lovely new ones.
Choosing a tiling style
When it came to choosing a style, I was inspired by the rectangular tiles at Sloane Square, fresh white and arranged in a brick pattern with dark grout. Modern, yet classic.
I had a look through the range of wall tiles on the Wickes website to see if I could match my tube stop inspiration. They have a good selection of colours, sizes and designs, and lots of pictures of the tiles actually on the wall in a room, so you can get a really good idea of what they will look like.
I found the perfect option for the finished look I had in mind: these gorgeous Cosmopolitan Gloss tiles in White Ceramic. They're the perfect size for the brickwork effect I was aiming for.
We toyed with the idea of a clean, bright grout but I’ve found that keeping white grout looking fresh is a job and a half, especially behind the hob where splashes occur.
Yellowing grout can instantly make a kitchen look shabby, so we opted gone for a muted grey grout, that will be much easier to keep looking fresh and new. It’s also really modern and contemporary, which works well with our stainless steel appliances.
Having made our selection, the Wickes team stepped in to do the hard work.
Fitting the tiles
The fitting process was really straightforward. The Wickes team came and visited the house to measure up and check what needed to be done, then they returned the early the next day to do the job.
The old tiles were removed and the walls were primed. Then the new tiles were expertly fitted. Incredibly, everything was done and dusted in time for the school run!
The finished tiles instantly change the look of the room, don't you think?
I love how they bring the kitchen up to date with a sleek, polished look and I’m really pleased with the grey grout too, which contrasts beautifully with the high-gloss white of the tiles.
With the tiles in place, is was time for finishing touches.
I never much cared for the old magnolia tones we had on the walls, and while I'd loved the flash of green on the far wall when we'd first moved in, I'd grown tired of it over the years.
It was time for a fresh, cool change, so we freshened up the woodwork with brilliant white, and gave the walls a coat of misty grey.
Suddenly our once tired kitchen is bright and beautiful again. The gleaming tiles and glossy paintwork are complimented by the matt grey of the grout and the brushed metallics of the appliances. And it's all warmed by the natural wood-tones of the cabinets. I think it works beautifully, the light bounces around the room, and I'm happier than ever.
Are you planning a kitchen refresh? If you’re looking for some inspiration it’s well worth checking out the Wickes website, they have a great range of fitted kitchens, tiling, flooring and accessories to help you create your own perfect room.
Wickes supplied and fitted the tiles