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Kitchen Renovation Conversations (Part 2)


PIC: Ansche and I with Apollo (the newest member of our family!)

Hello friends!

If you’ve been following along on my Insta stories you will have had a sneak peek into some of the behind-the-scenes madness. And now we’re DONE, and we’ve ended up with the happiest, loveliest kitchen we could have hoped for and we’re over the moon. And I can’t stop cooking and baking (and eating!) – so far in the last four days I’ve made three loaves of bread, a carrot cake, an almond sponge cake, an Aubergine Parmigiana, two kinds of sausage ragu, and a whole lot in between!

If you’re thinking of heading down the same path then you’re definitely going to want to pay close attention. This isn’t a sponsored post – what I have to say is completely sincere and I hope it will be useful info for you.

Stage 1 – The Bigger Picture
The process kicked off with a brainstorming session with Graham Schröder (Schröder’s Joinery, Honeydew, JHB) and his wonderful, super-talented designer Ansche to discuss all of the woodwork and cabinetry a few months ago. The computer-generated image above is where we ended up – it’s testament to Ansche’s magnificent attention to detail and creativity. Throughout the process, their biggest concern, above everything else, was what did I want, what had Rob and I envisioned, what was going to work best for our family and make our hearts happy. Throughout the process, they have paid attention to the smallest details (besides the usual inane ones like where the bins will go), even taking into account questions like where would you like Sophie and Isla to be able to leave their school bags and a thousand others that just show their dedication to delivering their very best.  They built in a blackboard for the scullery as a surprise – a little something extra for the girls to enjoy. Graham is the kind of person who does business on a handshake (and believe me I’ve met enough people in this industry that say they do but don’t), who can be trusted implicitly and who does what he does because it is his passion. I cannot recommend their craftmanship and commitment to excellence highly enough.

Stage 2The Nitty Gritty
This is where paint colours, wood finishes, plumbing, electrics, lighting, flooring, countertops, apppliances and all that jazz come in.

General contracting
For electrics, plumbing and paintwork we partnered with Fergus and Nonhlanhla Boake and their team from FBA Projects – we worked with Fergus on a small renovation that we did last year and he was exceptional. No mess, no fuss – always on time, always to the schedule, always excellent and such a pleasure to work with. They are also masters of attention to detail, including simple things that are actually big things, like leaving any rubble perfectly neatly and tidily, out of the way and arranged on plastic sheeting for effortless removal later. Fergus’ team is dedicated and hard-working, and as they come and go each day they start to feel like friends. Tshepo we’ll miss you and your warm greetings every morning, and how kind you are to our girls and our puppy being in your space while you’re trying to get everything done. I can sincerely vouch for FBA’s commitment to doing a brilliant job and we count ourselves lucky to have had someone as capable as Fergus at the front of this really key part of the process.

This is a really long conversation because there are so many options, from vinyl to laminate to wood-look tiles. In the end, we went with a good quality but still budget-friendly laminate in a light, warm oak – it is exactly what we were looking for, and has been masterfully installed by the specialist team from First Choice Flooring in Craighall Park. Michael, Fred, Candice and their team handled everything from the screeding to refurbishing skirtings brilliantly, thank you!

This is where it all gets REALLY exciting. As you might already know, I’ve partnered with Miele as their South African Brand Ambassador, and the next step in our collaboration was to fit my new kitchen with some of their latest appliances. As one of the very best appliance manufacturers in the world, their catalogue is astonishing, and they have generously kitted us out with everything from newest range ovens and steamers to fridges, washing machines and dish washers. It was LITERALLY like Christmas in July and I keep having to pinch myself that soon all of these beautiful goodies are now at home in our home.

Yesterday a team of three of my Miele friends spent over two hours with me meticulously taking me through all the incredible functionalities of the appliances, and now I can’t wait to play and experiment. Their steam combination oven is revolutionary – it steams, it bakes, it roasts, it proves dough, it ferments, it sterilises and it has incredible supporting programmes for maximum planning and efficiency. If you didn’t already know, Miele is 100 year old family-owned business, and family is right at the heart of what they do, which for me makes the partnership even more special. You can read more here.

It’s a rare and wonderful thing to work with such a talented and committed team and I know our kitchen will have so much more love in it because of the hearts, minds, and hands who have made it all happen. I can’t thank you enough! Here’s to drinking big glasses of celebratory wine together and feasting on some of my favourite food really soon!

Miele product catalogues and final master plans

Choosing appliances, brickwork and paint selections

Day 2! All the old kitchen cabinetry out, next steps are screeding the floor, laying the floor, electrics, plumbing, paintwork. Then in goes the cabinetry (around 10th July onwards), stone countertops and finally our beautiful Miele appliances.

PIC: A computer-generated mock-up of what the final kitchen looks like (actual pics and a fun behind-the-scenes video to follow in a couple of weeks!)