Designing my dream kitchen 

Chris and I started our self build in Feb 2015 (after a long time prior to that getting plans designed, planning permission granted, building control, getting our mortgage approved and saving, lots of saving).
We had got engaged in April 2014 but both remained living at home saving up as we had to get the house built to walk plate level with our own savings before getting our first drawdown of money from the mortgage.



To save we even went to Australia for 6 months. We had both been there travelling previously and Chris had been out to work before in the outback on a farm so we jetted off to Sydney on what would be a very different visit compared to the previous time we were there living it up carefree.

This was all about saving!! Kerry and Oran were out there too so Kerry and I ended up living with each other most of the time as the boys were living and working in the outback. Kerry and I ended up doing traffic control 🙈 yes standing on roadworks or on building sites holding a stop and go bat.


We had the best craic but the main reason we did it was because it paid so well! We made some great friends and saved a lot. Declining nights out and day trips over there is all worth it now as it put the foundations of our house in and we felt really proud that we had got so far ourselves but we’re very relieved when our mortgage came through!
Having this meant our Pinterest boards of inspiration could begin to become reality (well kind of!). I actually first got Pinterest when I was in Australia and was pinning away pics of my dream home and namely my kitchen.


pinterwst home

Chris got hooked on it on our honeymoon as we were mid build and had an idea about beams and exposed stone but found it hard to visualise at times so Pinterest was great for that!

For us it was great to go to suppliers with all of our ideas and inspiration (for them it may have been slightly annoying and there were a few eye rolls 🙄).

Below is my main Pinterest inspiration. I was toying between a cream and red aga and this image sold the red for me. I am usually a bit of a plain jane so for me this was a real statement.


We got 3 quotes for each thing we were pricing during the build be it windows, bathrooms, tiles, block or our kitchen.


We had two kitchen designs drawn up with other suppliers. One a simple bird’s eye layout based on a design in their showroom, the second was a CAD 3D drawing. These are impressive and do help you visualise what the kitchen will look like but with Paul from the Ebanisti (the kitchen supplier we went with in the end) he work with hand drawings and sketches. Which themselves are works of art.

The Ebanisti is a cabinet maker local to us in Killyleagh, we had visited the showroom and I had fallen in love with one of the displays which reminded me of some of my pins on Pinterest.


We showed Paul our plans, our Pinterest board and went through all of the things with liked in the showroom. Which doors we liked, handles, colours, curves etc. It was all very country kitchen but with a bit of a modern edge I like to think with the handles and the lighting we had chosen.
We then set out a brief of what the kitchen needed to include. Ie, oven, fridge, dishwasher, larder, Belfast style sink and my ultimate goal an Aga. 🙌🏼
Paul went away from this initial consultation and came back with a few sketches. We were blown away. The detail really helped us to visualise how it would look.
We had even told Paul how we planned to divide our open plan kitchen and living area with a stone wall using field stone and distressed beams and he drew it up for us to help us visualise how it would look.


Paul’s initial design/drawings



From a bird’s eye view. We made a few changes, namely the island but it took to see both angles to get a better feel for it.

image1 (1)

Initial stone wall feature idea. We removed the lighting and the windows and changes these for shelves.

I remember sitting in the mobile home we were living in looking through these with Paul as he had come out to the site to see the build and get an idea himself of where the kitchen would be.

I am not an amazing cook, but for me the kitchen is the heart of the home and with our open plan living and an Aga I think it really accentuates that.

So my dream kitchen/living area is what really got me through the cold nights in the mobile home we lived in once we got married. It wasn’t all bad we had made it our own but that is a whole other blog post!

Here is a sneak peak at the before and after of the kitchen though 😀

And here are some of the progress pics during our build :


We used reclaimed red brick for the surround and a reclaimed beam from Wilson’s Salvage yard.




Stone wall feature making progress – we had little shelves inserted on both sides for pictures/candles/general nick nacks!


Kitchen cupboard templates to help us decide if the island was too big or too small!


Underfloor heating going down


Floors Poured!


Floors Poured

We even got to go to the workshop to see the kitchen set up as it would be in our home before it got painted. It made it so real and it felt like we were really involved in the whole process from start to finish with Paul and the team at Ebanisti.

Colour choices:


Decisions Decisions on cupboard door colours! Check out the Aga tin for colour ref. Santa got me this in my stocking pre build!


We actually went with the muscle (grey) colour on the cupboards and a cream on the island unit in the end, but to be honest you can hardly tell the island is a different colour. There isn’t enough of a contrast. I just couldn’t decide and so we went with both.


Prepping for painting was like a scene from Mr. Bean (only some of you will get this!!)


We did go over our budget on the kitchen as we ended up adding curves, pelmets with lighting which also house a good proportion of the roman blinds which means we lose less light by having them inset into the pelmet going around the edge of the windows.



Paul worked closely with Blenheim fabrics who did all of our blinds in the kitchen to ensure everything fitted correctly. I think though in your forever home going over budget a wee bit is better than wanting something redone a few years down the line. (This is probably why our house will never get finished because we are set on doing it all right the first time around, but that suits me as it nice to have a wee project and not rush!).


The only thing on our to do list in the kitchen is to tile behind the cooker and the Aga eventually but other than that it is finished.  The Ebanisti also did our utility room in the price but this was done in a lower grade kitchen and without the costly granite worktop! It is finished bar the backsplash too. I have Laura Ashley tiles picked out it’s just not on the top of our list yet. I also have rustic shelves planned for the utility room but again that’s another post in itself and I feel I am beginning to ramble!

This is not a sponsored post in anyway. I just wanted to share the process of designing our kitchen and the stages involved. For me this is like an online scrapbook/diary of the build sharing it with you all and if others hadn’t have done the same I would have had nothing to pin in those early days! Plus it’s nice to share!

You can find more info on the Ebanisti’s website HERE, their Facebook page or their Instagram.
Tara x


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