My Modern Grey Kitchen Makeover – REVEAL

bodbyn modern kitchen ikea

I am so pleased to be able to share this article of what was one of the most exciting projects we completed in our first house. The Kitchen is so functional and pleasant to use. It’s where we start and finish most days. Let’s go back in time and see how we created this amazing new kitchen, and hope you will find inspiration in it too.


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When we first visited the house, we found an old tired kitchen – scroll down for the BEFORE-, with appliances used to the max, a heavily used flooring, old cabinets, cracking paint and a poor layout. If you read a few of my article you notice I talk about energy flow, in this case, the flow was so wrong! I mean look at the images and let me know what you think.

Our Kitchen and Bathroom are located at the opposite of our lounge and living room, the complete opposite. Our lounge is a spacious beautiful space with lots of lights but moving the kitchen to the lounge was simply not an option. The budget needed would have been huge, and I do not mind having the kitchen separate from the living room. I know it is against all the current trends, but I prefer to cook my bacon rasher far from my Sofa fabric. Maybe it is just me. I was keen though on the idea of “inside//outside” or “bring the outside, inside”. I wanted to be able to open the back door while cooking, and also thinking about the summer barbecues, to be able to enter and exit the flat directly from the kitchen, which was not possible before. I wanted a walkway from Kitchen to the back door leading to the garden and a stable door.

We knew we would need to do a full makeover, and somehow managed to pull funds together, a few vendors offering special 0% financing helped in starting the works just a few months after buying the new property.

Read my article about My Bathroom renovation project here: Minimalist Bathroom – My full journey from planning to reveal

Where we started

The house (maisonnette to be exact) has been used for years as a rental and was in need of much love. We found the appliances to be outdated, a heavily used flooring, old cabinets, cracking paint and a poor layout. The window is a single glazed window, we may change it later but this has come down on the priorities. I just repainted the window in black as my original idea was to have a black crittal window.

Perhaps a floor map will provide better visualization:

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Before Plan from the estate agents

360-degree view – BEFORE

Kitchen BEFORE #theta360uk – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


Finding Inspiration

We started by browsing lifestyle magazines, and online platforms for kitchen inspirations, to get our head around what designs were available, what we could afford and also reflect on how we would use the kitchen. I like the research side and I believe that there is nothing better than seeing the products in the flesh so we also scheduled a visit to a couple of retailers, unfortunately, a lot were outside of our budget, but the designs were inspirational nonetheless.
I’ve also attended previously Home Renovation shows for work reasons – I enjoyed watching the different products that the brands were proudly showing the public, all full of tech and convenience for the user. It ultimately helps in creating a picture of what brands are producing nowadays. I would recommend visiting one, even if you are not planning a makeover now and then. Odds are, if your kitchen needs an update, it will help you get around what is now on the market. There are many shows across the country with different specialties at different times in the year.

For a first Kitchen renovation project, it was daunting for sure and i felt we were going everywhere and nowhere at some point but we needed to keep moving so we visited another retailer, this time IKEA, the Scandi flat-pack furniture company, and I liked one of their collection: Bodbyn grey. Bodbyn is defined as ” a frame with a beveled panel that gives a distinct, traditional character. Soft grey brings a touch of sophisticated colour the kitchen”.
I was sensible also to the storage options and the kitchen cabinets size flexibility. I knew from a colleague recommendation that IKEA kitchen drawer and cabinets mechanism were developed in partnership with the brand Blum which are well known in the Kitchen sector as very good quality to withstand the rigours of everyday use. They had also a Online 3D Design Planner. Now that’s when I knew I had a new toy to play with 🙂 I spend the time to understand how to use the software inside-out. and I created the Kitchen plan below. We had some chats with the staff at the store and I decided to plan the kitchen myself at home and come back with a final plan.

Coming up with a Kitchen shape

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AFTER Floorplan
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My 3D Kitchen plan

Coming up with the “right shape” was interesting. I’ve read about the “triangle”: The Geometrical figure formed by the location of Fridge / Hob / Sink which guarantees ease of use. The L-shaped design appeared to be a sensible choice if you look at the room size and shape. The U-shape wasn’t possible, the one-wall wasn’t possible either because one wall was just not enough for our cooking needs. I also needed to integrate a Washing Machine into the design as there wasn’t any other room to put it in. The Shape and Floor Design were very much inspired by the triangle, other kitchen design rules, and our long list desires for our kitchen :
– A window facing double bowl sink so I could have one bowl for a Waste Garbage Disposal which I love!
– A pull out tap
– Full-size Dishwasher was a must
– Gas hob
– Glass see-through cabinet door
– Pull out storage for washing machine tabs and other products, separate from the kitchen items
– Tall Cabinet to hide the boiler
– Microwave
– Functional Storage throughout
I actually made a clear plan as to where would my existing Kitchen items be stored which was stress relieving. I plan a mindful kitchen where my cooking experience was to be facilitated. For example by the sink /dishwasher, I can store my plates, cutlery, and glasses by staying in the same upright position. Similar if I am in front of the oven I can reach a plate on a top cabinet, reach a pan on the bottom right and some potatoes on my left and some spices on my right-hand-side cabinets. A lot is common sense here but still, can you believe I lived in a London new build flat one of those fancy cubicles (there is no other description really), and the Kitchen U-shaped layout was horrible. I mean this is supposed to be designed by professional kitchen peeps. I’ll just give two example but I could write a pamphlet about it. 1. In front of the induction hob, there was a 1 pull-out door drawer for pans, so I needed to open it while standing in front of it (there were no handles), then pivot on the side to take a pan, to then close it and put the pan on the hob, there was about 60cm on each side of the hob only… Very pleasant experience that was. I end up putting my pans in another place.  2. The bottom corner storage cabinet (90cm wide, 60cm deep) was composed of 1 shelf, and could only be open by a small door of 20cm wide, and I had to stick my arm inside to store items like that. Fun…
I guess this is a problem when the price is put in front of everything even design… #rant over…

Moving on… My point is some things can look nice on paper but the daily use can be are a complete uncomfortable experience! Seriously moving on …
We now live in a London Victorian property, and they are known to be typically small which demands precise design planning to avoid any unused space and to ensure people can pass through the room whilst others are using it.

Top drawer includes spices, kitchen stencils, plastic containers, and the bottom drawer include all my sauce and frying pans

The real work process

Once the design was completed, we went to IKEA store and sat to register our dream kitchen design in the system and were given a final quote. We decided to go with IKEA all the way with their IKEA installation services for the cabinets and appliances with includes a site survey prior to ordering the kitchen where they confirm the design and quote for needed electricity/gas/plumbing works to be carried.  We also signed up to the Interest-Free 0% financing option via their credit broker company so we are paying the kitchen over 36 months, which was really appreciated by us as first-time buyers. They are running a well-oiled machine and order went through blissfully – no issues with my design 🙂 –  but later during execution, we faced logistic issues…. It may not happen to everyone but it did happen to us and our kitchen completion got delayed by a few weeks as a result BUT we made it through and have now a lovely kitchen, so all around worth it. From ordering to completion it was 3 months.
 IKEA tried to resolve the logistics issues to the best they could. It is a large kitchen to be fair (compared to my own experience of kitchens), with many cabinets and appliances. I think our total number of items on multiple delivery notes was more than 100! 

The Reveal

I simply love it. Using it is very pleasant, love the light coming through the window in the morning. I feel happy and cheerful when I use the kitchen everything has a place and a purpose. My kind of place.



This post is not sponsored by brands.