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Four biggest kitchen renovation lessons learned

1.  A beautiful kitchen should function beautifully too

I feel like this tip could be applied to a lot of things but when it comes to one of the hardest working hubs of the home, having a kitchen with ample bench space and powerpoints right where you need them is just as appealing as having it present beautifully. 

Even better, if you can take the time to figure out where all your pots and pans will go and where all the kitchen must-haves will live before you begin, you’ll prevent any unwelcome surprises or ‘if only’s’ when it is finished. 

2.  Learn from the old, to elevate the new 

This should be a given but any part of the home where you are investing in heavily requires some due diligence, even if that due diligence is learning from less than ideal circumstances. 

We’ve always lived in old houses, so while we’ve had to learn to love the kitchens that came with them, you begin to create a wishlist of non-negotiables for how your new kitchen might be one day and I knew, having lived without a dishwasher for over a year or a reliable fridge, that not only did I want new appliances with an excellent track record but I also wanted ones that would grow with our family while also being efficient.

3. Being open to new ideas doesn’t mean you’re compromising on your dream kitchen.

We all develop preferences for how things should look but at times you’ll come up against a fork in the road (or you’ll create that fork in the road) that will force you to look at other options. Whether that’s your dream tap not being available or changing the configuration of the kitchen completely, not everything is as straight forward as the idea you have in your head.

I learned fairly quickly that small changes can lead to big delays in renovating and so to keep things moving forward without burning an even bigger hole in our pockets, having an open mind and embracing all options meant that if there was a problem we weren’t too set in our ways to solve it.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

Buying the wrong paint for the application or purchasing lights that weren’t properly certified (yes that actually happened) can mean that you’ve just spent some of your precious reno budget making decisions that could have been avoided.

In renovating our kitchen I realised quite early on that there were a lot of calls that needed to be made that I wasn’t always certain of. Stylistically, I knew what I liked but functionality wise, I needed more guidance which came in the form of asking.

The beautiful thing about advice is that you can be informed by it and take it on board or you can leave it and do what you feel but whatever the case, when it comes to expertise, knowing more before you make a purchase is better than the regret of buying the wrong thing having never asked.  

About the Writer

Erena Te Paa is a stylist and Mum of two. When she’s not running around after her two boys or hosting guests in her Airbnb you’ll find her redecorating her mid century home and sharing the results on her lifestyle blog and on instagram.

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