Looking back to the door of Ivy's kitchen.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Rent or own? Rent
What does your kitchen need? I would like my kitchen to be a colourful and exciting place to be, full of personal touches. I have always dreamed of a yellow kitchen, but recent experience with blue and green kitchens have been equally inspirational. It needs to be pulled together by a few new elements - perhaps coloured cabinets, curtains instead of the broken blinds, perhaps a reorganization of the open storage, a mat or two. What does your kitchen need? (cont.) I've started personalizing it with a couple of collections - teaspoons, my mother's antique teacups - but the predominantly worn all-white backdrop feels tired. As our landlords are planning to completely redecorate our apartment in about two years time, we have pretty much free rein to do what we want - within reason.
What are your limitations? This two year timespan also means that we can't do anything that requires too much financial investment - it would be a bit of a waste. We also don't have the money. We are stuck with some seriously ugly 1980's prefab kitchen cabinets that we won't be replacing. We can't really afford to do anything with the floor either.
Light fittings, curtains, and other smaller items we can probably change out, for a minimal financial investment, of course. Being in New Zealand, most American retailers won't ship here (or it would be financially impossible to do so), so I'm looking for general direction with regards to colours and ideas, rather than specific items.
I am apprehensive about the idea of painting the walls themselves, as I have never done anything of this magnitude (or permenance), so perhaps smaller changes would be more appropriate for us.
Ivy, we actually think you have a lovely little kitchen! it's neat and sweet, and that big window must give you lovely light. You also have great storage, and the mirrors on opposit walls open up the kitchen and amplify the light.
We do understand about wanting more color, though. Here are a few ideas.
• Our primary suggestion is to paint the walls. Even though you are hesitant to take such a big step, you do have the freedom to paint and make other large changes. You actually don't have too much wall to paint, because of your extensive cupboards and storage. Painting this kitchen could probably be done in less than a weekend! Also, paint is going to give you the most color for your money; it will make an instant large-scale change, whereas small pops of color in accessories may cost more and not give such a full-scale effect.
• We have included a couple inspiringly bright painted kitchens, as well as a small roundup of some colorful kitchen accessories from New Zealand.
• Sharon Montrose's fabulous green kitchen. We think this color works especially well with older or vintage cupboards like yours.
• A bold yellow cottage kitchen from Martha Stewart. This sort of deep, non-insipid yellow would also work well with the vintage details in your little kitchen.
• Removeable Fabric Stickers - From Stickytiki in Wellington. One idea for creating some colorful patterns above your shelves.
• Bambina Vessels - From Popkraft in Auckland. Sweet little vases or vessels for small spoons.
• Linen Tea Towels - From Shaky Isles in Christchurch. We love these linen tea towels with designs inspired by New Zealand flora!
• Window treatment: A simple white or natural fabric Roman blind from IKEA or another inexpensive shop would look great in the window and not take away too much light. The color does depend, though, on what color you paint the kitchen.
Those are just a few suggestions to start your inspiration process. Please check back in and show us what you do with your kitchen makeover. Readers — what would you do with this kitchen?
(Images: Ivy via email; Sharon Montrose; Martha Stewart; linked Etsy sellers)