Matilda & The Metalman At Home | Renovating On A Budget
Welcome to an inside peak of my (Eiligh's) farmhouse project!
The kitchen is my second favourite room in my house - second only to the glorious hallway that sits 2 meters wide and almost 4 meters high with pressed tin and stained glass (a work in progress and a post for another day!)
Drenched in natural light I love being in the kitchen, which is a good job considering you’ll usually find me working on my laptop at the table or making endless snacks for the kids.
We found this retired farm house through word of mouth, and on Christmas Eve 2016 a year after moving to Albury from the Gold Coast myself, husband Callum and three children Tilly, Sophie and Lennox moved in.
It is a sizable project but from the minute I arrived to “just have a look” I fell head over heels with the place, it felt like a bright family home that you would want to grow up in. Even though it was colder inside than out and you could see your breath as you walked around, I knew it had good bones and old world beauty with character features in every room. I often think of the previous tenants and the things that have happened here and it feels like my duty to keep bringing it back to life and making it a complete home once more.
When we first moved in we had to prioritise over aesthetic and focused on installing central heating, insulation and new electrics. We installed an amazing Hunter Herald fire which runs radiators through the whole property - game changer!
But by late 2019 with a then 7, 5 and 3 year old I decided that we just couldn’t live with the kitchen space we had for a minute longer and with no actual plan began dismantling an adjoining wall through to the laundry, much to my builder husband's horror! Armed with a very small budget and a lot of determination we set about with our plans to renovate. The main goals being to fit a table big enough to seat several and as much bench space as we could possibly fit/afford and most importantly to stay truthful to the house, I am very passionate that the renovations and changes made retain the theme. I don’t want to lose the nostalgia that initially drew me in by making things too shiny and new.
After pinching around 2.5m² from the laundry and changing the location of the exterior door we were granted a surprisingly larger area to work with, I had big dreams and a pinterest board full of kitchens with island benches and walk in pantries so I really had to dig deep to work with what I had and make this space functional (and pretty). I have always had a passion for restoring old bits and pieces, and also live for a bargain! Two habits that came in handy. The windows and french doors were all picked up for free and painstakingly sanded back and given a fresh lick of paint, the corrugated iron that lines the wall behind the wood burner came from the roof of an old shed in the paddock but the best surprise was removing the chipboard walls and ceiling to find original tongue and groove hiding behind, in immaculate condition.
We brightened the tongue and groove with Resene triple sea fog paint on the walls paired with a white ceiling and trims. Choosing a patterned black tile from Mitre10 we did all the painting and tiling ourselves and Callum installed the kitchen and laid the wood look laminate flooring. The kitchen itself is also from Mitre10 and out of sight behind the DIY chalkboard pantry doors is a section of the old kitchen. I love this little nook that I can have the toaster and all the other crap out of sight and leave the bench clear of any clutter.
The statement piece of the room is definitely the dining table, after completing the renovation and splurging on a new oven there was no budget left for furniture. Luckily for me, some years ago my father in law felled a huge macrocarpa tree on the family farm in Albury and kept some slabs. I picked the best looking slab (pictured while in the shed below) and with some elbow grease and a lot of sandpaper it came up amazingly and was the exact size to fit the dining space, like it had been made especially for this kitchen. Topped with some epoxy it is stunningly imperfect -my chemistry skills leave a lot to be desired and there was an unplanned chemical reaction that caused one batch to go slightly cloudy, but it’s all part of the story.
Artwork also fell short in the budget, luckily I live with some pretty creative small people so some white warehouse frames and crayons came to the rescue!
One thing that is a must for me in the house as a whole, but especially in this space is scent, I always have wax melts or candles going in here. My day feels complete, no matter how chaotic or wrong it's gone, I get the kids to bed and the dishes done, light a candle and make myself a cup of tea (or something stronger) I am immediately in my place of zen.
Hopefully this is a bit of inspiration and proof that you don't need to break the bank to make an amazing space, sticking to the budget is absolutely achievable!