I’m So Excited To Finally Reveal My Harvey Jones Kitchen!
Our Harvey Jones Kitchen story started over three years ago, before we had even bought our house. I can remember my boyfriend taking me into one of their showrooms and chatting kitchens to a designer before we had even exchanged contracts. I was in the ‘I barely remember what the house looks like, I’m praying it’s not a dud’ phase, whilst he was debating Quartz over Corian with a designer. At the time I thought he was really excited about our new house, but actually, he was just determined to have a Harvey Jones kitchen and he wanted to get the ball rolling before I chickened out!
Why Harvey Jones?
The reasons my boyfriend was so adamant that he wanted a Harvey Jones kitchen is because because they are handmade, handprinted solid wood kitchens in five classic designs. They are fitted to your kitchens exact measurements and specifics and they have the best tradesmen to make sure the finish is perfection. Plus because you have oodles of options in terms of colours and worktops, you can be really creative with your ideas. And not only that, these kitchens are built to last, so even if over the years the paint gets a little scuffed or the colours start to look out-of-fashion, they can be repainted and take on a new lease of life. To prove my point, my mum has just had her kitchen repainted after 15 years and it looks phenomenal, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought she had a whole new kitchen installed. Oh and remember in your student houses with your cutlery drawer gave way under the ‘weight’ of your cutlery? Well, that’s never going to happen with a Harvey Jones kitchen, these bad boys are built to last! I’m going to stop now, because I’m starting to sound like a salesman, but basically, we wanted a Harvey Jones kitchen because we are control freaks and we wanted to have the ability to have the exact kitchen we wanted and we wanted it to last. After all, you spend a third of your life in bed and the other two thirds making food or eating it… well, I do at least!
It Was A Long Road!
I honestly feel jealous and impressed when I hear of people moving into a house and instantly fitting their new kitchens and bathrooms. It took is two whole years to get here! No joke!!! People always say if you are doing a full house renovation, then save the kitchen till last because you don’t want to risk damaging anything. I think I can safely say, we did it ALL in those two years! It was a big ol’ project, we had our entire house rewired, we moved radiators, changed doors, knocked down walls, knocked down ceilings, built new walls, replastered, stripped and painted wood on the walls and floor and sooooo much more. It’s honestly a bit of a blur now, but we got there eventually! Also, that whole time, we were working with our kitchen designer to keep her updated on our renovations and chat about appliances, ideas and needs. It’s fair to say she had the patience of a saint and as you might expect, over those two years, our ideas changed a fair bit and she worked with us every step of the way and it was all part of the service. Oh and in case you didn’t know, we lived without a fridge, oven and washing machine for two years! Yep! There was even a phase where we did the washing up in the bathroom, remind me and I’ll share some ‘before’ shots soon!
The Final Design
Our house was built in the 1860’s, so it’s classic Victorian style with high ceilings, big fireplaces and large rooms, if truth be told, it’s has always reminded us a little of a pub! As much as we like sleek modern kitchens, we felt in a house this old with so many original features, a classic shaker kitchen suited us and the house the best. We love the way the shaker kitchens are traditional enough to suit the house, but still feel modern enough to paint in bold colours and accessorise with really good handles. We were heavily inspired by Pinterest and we fell in love with the darker style kitchens with open shelves and marble worktops. We figured if in five years time we were tired of the navy blue, we could always have the kitchen repainted, which was one of the main reasons we felt confident enough to take the plunge! We toyed with the idea of dark grey but we wanted a hint of colour, we also considered a racing green, but I find green can be a tricky colour to accessorise. Both my boyfriend and I love navy blue and it seemed to feel right, plus in certain light, it looks like more of a blue black and in brighter sunlight it has more of a peacock blue tone to it. I love how it changes colour with the time of day, it keeps things exciting!
We loved the idea of having an island and for months we kept adding and taking away an island, until our designer suggested a freestanding unit which had a butchers block feel to it which would keep the sociable mood of the kitchen but also make it feel more open with it’s legs, I think a traditional island in our kitchen would have felt a bit too big and chopped the space up a little too much. The unit we have also has more of a traditional butchers block feel to it, which we were really into. My boyfriend was the one who thought a mix of both wood and quartz worktops would look great and I have to agree, I love the contrast of the two and it again helps to break up the kitchen.
As for the worktops, as much as we love marble, we decide to go for a marble effect quartz rather than real marble, mainly because as beautiful as marble is, it’s actually a really porous substance and it’s really easily damaged and marked, everything from splashed water to food spillage or even cleaning products can ruin it. It seemed like a huge risk to take, especially considering how clumsy I am. My main worry with not having real marble was that the grain of the marble effect would look too uniform, but actually, it’s a really organic looking piece of stone, I can’t see any pattern repeat and believe me, I’ve looked for it and we have had for a year now.
Also, you might notice there are no wall cupboards in our kitchen. As much as we would have like them for storage, we felt that because of the height of the ceilings, they would just be floating around in the middle of the wall and look a bit strange. We loved the idea of a larder style cupboard which have become really fashionable recently, but again, we were worried that it would chop the kitchen up if we only had one and if we banked them up along the whole of the back wall, it would have looked amazing, but also added a hefty sum onto the price of the kitchen and we just couldn’t go there. We discussed it with our kitchen designer and she was able to create a kitchen with no wall cupboards, but enough storage for everything we needed, whilst still hiding the white goods away. Impressive!
As with everything in life, the devil is in the details, because our house is quite old, nothing is perfectly straight. Our tradesmen worked hard to correct the bowed walls and uneven floors, but the fact of the matter is, our house was made 150 years ago and it’s not a perfect square. We never gave much thought to the kitchen fitters until the time came, but honestly, the kitchen fitter, Gary (if you are in the South East area, ask for him!) did an amazing job at working with the bowed walls and slightly wonky floors to make the cabinets fit perfectly. Also there was a surveyor who visited a few times to make sure the measurements were spot on because you don’t want your cabinets to slightly overshoot, especially in our kitchen as we had a ‘step’ along one wall. If I’m honest, a lesser set of tradesmen would have butchered it, but Team HJ were amazing. Once the kitchen was fitted and the dust had settled, the cupboards were painted in-situ. It took him a few days and a fair few coats, but he did an amazing job; every join, every line, every seam was perfect, it turns out the painter has a degree in fine art and works half of the week for Harvey Jones and the other half of the week on his own work. This might be a good time to mention that my degree is also in fine art painting, but honestly, I couldn’t do what he did, the finish is amazing!
The Devil Is In The Detail
One the kitchen cabinets had been fitted, the worktops were in and the cabinets had been painted, our kitchen designer came back to do a ‘snag test’. This basically involves her checking every single inch of the kitchen to make sure it is perfect. She was on her hands and knees checking for paint splashes, raw edges and basically any imperfection she could find. She found a few tiny patches of patchy paint (which we hadn’t even noticed, but oil paints can do this) and the next thing we knew, the painter was back to make a few changes. The kitchen wasn’t signed off until we were happy and the designer was happy. Beyond the final sign off, the kitchen comes with 10 year guarantee on the cabinets, including the hinges. Impressive right?!
This Girl Loves To Accessorise
Once the kitchen was in, it took us a few weeks to feel comfortable using it. I know it sounds crazy, but after two years of not having a kitchen, it felt really weird to put food in the fridge and turn the oven on. We were almost high-fiving every time we fired up the Miele hob and my boyfriend even drove the laundry down to the road for a service wash because he completely forgot we had a washing machine! We quickly got used to our modern way of living and we started to enjoy the kitchen and think about adding in the final accessories. The first thing we bought was a Dualit toaster in chrome and copper, I balked at the £200 price tag, but my boyfriend reminded me there’s no quicker way of ruining a beautiful kitchen with a used-to-be-white supermarket toaster, we also got a Le Creuset kettle for the hob for the same reason. Our joiner made us some chunky oak shelves to break up the wall space on the right which I accessorised with jars, jugs, bowls and plants in shades of white, blue and grey and after a few months we decided three rows of Fired Earth tiles would finish the kitchen off nicely and also provide a bit of splash back. Back when we were designing the kitchen we made it a financial priority to fit all Miele appliances in the kitchen. Again, this was something my boyfriend was really insistent on and I have to agree, not only is everything beautifully designed but it all works to perfection too. It just felt like if we installed anything less we would be doing the kitchen a disservice. I’m so glad we did, the Miele still feels like the cherry on top of the cake. I know it sounds weird, but I honestly feel like if we hadn’t gone for Miele, we would have regretted it. We are both pretty picky when it comes to design and function and Miele looks beautiful and works perfection. Just an FYI here, Harvey Jones have Miele in all their show kitchens and in terms of reviews, they out perform everything in Which? Magazine too.
A Year On…
This month marks almost a year since our kitchen was completed and over 3 years since the first time we stepped into a Harvey Jones showroom. I can’t deny, we spent more money on this room than any other part of the house, but the kitchen is the heart of every home and for us, it’s physically a large space in the house, so it made sense to reach for the dream. My boyfriend and I pay half for everything and even though it was more than I ever expected to pay for a kitchen, it’s 100 times more beautiful than I imagined as well. Like with most things in life, hard work pays off and in a funny sort of way, having a dreadful non-kitchen with no fridge, washing machine or even an oven for two years, made the end result feel even sweeter. It’s been a year since we installed our kitchen and it still makes me feel happy every day!
AD: This post was created in collaboration with Harvey Jones, however, I would like to be 100% transparent and let you all know that my boyfriend and I bought and paid for this kitchen in full with no blogger discount.