How to make a project last

Are you wondering what’s been happening in the farmlet kitchen? I mean any blogger worth their salt would have finished that room by now. We would have had the big ta-dah ‘before’ and ‘after’ reveal, and I would have moved on to another suitably impressive project.

Instead it still looks just like this (only a lot less tidy on any given day).

Don’t worry about those dubious looking jars on the bench. They are just my kombucha scobys.

Sorry about that. Progress only ever inches ahead around here. In some ways it’s frustrating not to rip through. I have a picture in my head of how this house will look when I’m done and I want to get there faster. To comfort myself I concentrate on the advantages of going slow. What, you didn’t think there were any? You’ve been brainwashed by too many ‘have it all and have it now’ reality tv programmes on renovation.

From where I’m sitting (with not much money and big ideas) the advantages of the slow approach are (1) more time for research, and thus a better likelihood of saving money, and (2) allowing for my ideas to change. I’m always pretty clear on the sort of look I want before I start a project, but usually only couple of key elements are really definite. In our kitchen the things I know for sure are that I want indigo blue cupboards, and square white tiles laid offset all the way from countertop to ceiling. See this tile inspiration pic.

One of my 357 inspiration pins for the kitchen. Now if only I could have that floor!

Having sorted out a couple of the basics in my head other parts of the plan morph as I creep forward step by step. For example, in this kitchen I originally hoped for a farmhouse sink (how lovely is this one?). And I still really want a farmhouse sink. Unfortunately the affordable IKEA sink is too wide front to back for our cabinets, and all the other models I’ve sourced are both cripplingly expensive, and because of the depth of the apron, would need a whole new under-sink cupboard built specially to accommodate them. Goodbye farmhouse sink; at least until I come into enough money for a full kitchen remodel (not holding my breath).

That’s okay though because as things develop I keep having EVEN BETTER IDEAS! The Forbearing Husband is used to this. As I announce each newly altered plan he looks a little worried and shuffles his feet, while saying supportively ‘What a fabulous plan my darling, if only I’d thought of that!’. As mentioned previously, the man is a saint.

So here are a few of my Even Better Ideas. Try to keep up.

  1. No farmhouse sink means, instead, a stainless steel sink (which on the plus side solves my worry about a porcelain sink cracking if we drop a saucepan into it).
  2. A stainless steel sink opens up the possibility of a stainless steel bench with integrated sinks (ooooh!). And because I’m slow working in a calm and considered manner, the good news is that I haven’t yet ordered the wooden bench-tops I felt sure I wanted, so I have flexibility.
  3. A stainless steel bench would remove all my worries about the stains, scorch marks and the water puddle induced warping that can befall a macrocarpa slab bench top (all of which were experienced at our old house, much as I loved the counters there).
  4. In the intervening ‘low-progress’ months Deborah has found a product which means we could have a solid tongue and groove floor at an affordable price (something I previously thought impossible). If I’d already ordered the macrocarpa benches I might have hesitated to use wood on the floors. Our kitchen is quite dark and we already have wooden ceilings, so some light reflective surfaces are called for to brighten things up. Now I’m thinking that floor and ceiling in warm rustic look wood planks, balanced by semi industrial style stainless steel counters and white shiny tile walls could be just the ticket. I’ll keep you posted.

What is your renovation project style? Are you a quick decisive type, or a slower sort with a mountain of morphing ideas? And what are your thoughts on wood vs stainless steel kitchen counters? The comment box is open.



  1. Love the idea of wooden floors. What about recycling what you’ve pulled off the walls?? ET says tongue n groove could be unhygienic??.? ( 2 old fogies;)

    • Now there’s a great recycling idea. Very smart. I will look into that, but I don’t think there will be enough. A great thought for the shepherd’s hut though. Hadn’t considered the hygiene angle. Is that if you have gaps for food to fall into?

      • We have tongue and groove cupboard fronts. I’d always assumed tongue referred to what to use in order to clean the grooves! All sorts gets stuck in there, and very hard to clean using traditional methods!!

        • Oh no, but whose tongue? Mind you I’m sure the tongue must be counted as a ‘traditional method’. What could be more natural? 🙂 🙂

  2. How about a glazed concrete sink??
    (Our first house had one.) Then you could have it made to fit whatever space required.

    • Sounds perfect! I WANT one! But from were do you obtain such a thing? Do you have to make it yourself?

  3. Renovation style: hands-off. Decision-making style: ruggedly decisive in all areas not involving the little woman. And a stainless steel bench will not be forgiving of knife throwing contests.

    • The ‘little woman’ will also not be forgiving of knife throwing contests. Especially not in the house.

  4. Where’s the fun in quick and decisive DIY? All those meandering conversations and musings missed out on. And the slower I am, the more chance I have of you designing my house for me. 🙂 Stainless steel rocks. And for Anitgene I mention that some of your wall cladding now resides in our airing cupboard as extra shelving.

    • Yes, a big part of the fun to be had is in discussing and weighing up the many possibilities. Happy to help design your house anytime. x

  5. I can take a Very Long Time with DIY projects. A single change of a door knob can last for months. On the other hand I can knit a sock in a week 😉

    • Few people can keep up with your rate of sock production. It’s a fantastic skill, and who cares about the door knob anyway.

  6. Personally I love a good stainless bench so easy to clean not that I’m overly obsessed with that… Love a slow project my trouble I do a bit on one area like the kitchen but now want to do deck without finishing kitchen 😉

    • Another vote for stainless steel.
      I think it’s fine to move from project to project as the mood takes you. Why not? Anyway it’s going to be summer and you’ll need that deck for happy hour! x

  7. I like that the wood has already been part recycled into Deborahs shelving!
    With the concrete sink yes you make it yourself over a box of the size and shape you want for your kitchen. Simple.! Then no one can sentvtì with messy dagger marks.😅

    • The House of Kragbol shelves are indeed wonderful, and there are plans over there to use more of our recycled pine crime for wardrobe shelving. I shall definitely look at how to’s for concrete sinks. They sounds interesting, and imperviousness to daggers would be a plus.

      • Oh, and I keep forgetting to say that some of the removed pine crime will also be recycled into skirting boards for House CEDAR. Those 120mm boards will replace the current miserly 40mm skirting boards (which to my eye look out of proportion to the height of the ceilings). I think the skirting board project alongside Kragbol’s wardrobe shelving project will account for a good proportion of the remaining wood. Nothing wasted around here.

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