The Kitchen Is Back!

Dinner was delicious!  I cooked my old favourite, Minestrone soup in my pressure cooker and the reason that I did that was because our kitchen is back up and running.  Here are a few photos of the entire deconstruction and rebuid and I will describe some of the eco features that we incorporated.

So firstly out with the old space for the fridge.

Then up with a stud wall, made from plantation pine.  We reused all of the old electrical cabling and switches.

Then removed some cupboards so that the new doorway could be cut out.  This is looking in from the hallway.

This is with the entire kitchen removed and the tiles jackhammered from the floor.  Looking towards the hallway in the picture above.  The blankets are to stop some of the dust from the concrete slab.

Totally gutted and new stud wall fully completed.  We couldn’t avoid the plasterboard because of our budget.

The first of the new cabinets go in place.

Cooker and tiles in place.  All it needed now is the grout.

And the other side of the galley, with sink and dishwasher fitted.  Note the Ecology dinner set that Kim sourced.  I thought that it was a nice touch.  We gave our old dinner set to the Salvo’s.

So what is so eco-friendly about this kitchen?  Well, 50% of building a new kitchen is removing the old one.  We recycled most of it, and very little went into landfill.  We gave away the gas cooktop and dishwasher on freecycle, sold the oven on ebay, and gave all the old cabinets to the builder who is going to put them in his shed!  I kept all of the old wood from the walls that were removed so that I can build things with them later.  The only things that went into landfill were the old floor and wall tiles which were beyond saving, and the old bits of plaster board from the demolished walls.

As for the new kitchen, we went for eco-wood cabinets, however they are plastic coated with a pretend wood grain and rebates.  I couldn’t convince Kim otherwise.  The tiles were made in China and Thailand, which are not very green, however I just could not afford any Australian made tiles, not that I could find any locally.  It was a low point in the reno.  At least the grout and glue was made in Australia.

The appliances are all energy efficient.  The dishwasher uses 8 litres of water per wash.  The cook top is natural gas, and the oven is gas and electric just in case we loose either supply, and the gas component works without the need for any electricity should we have a blackout.  You can actually light the oven with a match like the good old days.  The range hood uses 20 watt halogen, which I cannot find a replacement for.  20 watts is OK, and we rarely use the lights. 

The lighting is very cool.  We bought a combination light and ceiling fan, with the light being a circular 40 watt T4 fluro, and the fan uses 55 watts on max.  The cool part is that the blades of the fan retract when the fan stops and it just looks like a light fitting.  When you start the fan the centrifugal force makes the blades pop out again.

The paint we has started to use is low VOC and has no smell to it at all.  I just love that no paint smell.  We have started to put on the undercoat and will be painting it all over the next week including the ceilings.  The builder comes back tomorrow to sand down the remaining walls in the new hallway that runs past the laundry and toilet and still has to put the finishing touches on the pantry, so we can put all the food we have in boxes in a central place.  The pantry is opposite the stockpile cupboard so it is very convenient to replace items that we have run out of.  The stockpile cupboard is right next to the front door, so not far to carry bulky items from the car.

The fridge is back inside and in its alcove at the end of the kitchen, with the cheese fridge next to it.  I was starting to get sick of having to go outside to get the milk.  If I had a house cow, that would be a different matter.

All I can say is that we tried to lower the impact on the planet the best we could, within the budget we had, and reused or recycled as much of the old kitchen as we could practically manage.  It is Kim’s dream kitchen that she has been waiting for ever since we moved here in winter 2000.  I am not telling how much it has cost us, but suffice to say, we saved up all the money in cash and we are not in debt because of it, and we are still on track to pay off the house in 5.5 years.

It is a joy to cook in because Kim has designed it so well that everything is where it needs to be.  Kim even told me that this was the last renovation she is ever doing.  My reply to that is thank goodness for that.  I don’t think I could go through another one.  It was stressful enough as it was, but well worth the effort.  Next weekend, I will be making cheese again!

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  1. says

    You might want to get Kim to sign a waiver on that “last renovation she is ever doing” thing as it can get in your blood. I predict eighteen months and she will start to look at some other area of your home with a glint in her eye 😉
    And yes it looks lovely.

  2. says

    Looks great, well done. You should have many happy cheesemaking days in there.

    I have found that you need a better designed and organised kitchen when you are cooking from scratch and preserving your own produce. I am researching new kitchens myself at the moment but think it might be easier just to move. Our walls are solid brick and about a foot thick.

  3. says

    Wow, well done! We’re trying to re-do our kitchen as well, and figuring out the greenest way to do it has been quite difficult. Very inspiring work here :)

    re: tiles – think of their impact divided by the length of time they’ll last. On a ‘cost per use’ basis, it’s not as bad as some of the other options out there.

  4. says

    @ Julie,

    I think I will get her to sign that in blood! She is already talking about the laundry in a months time.

    @ Green Gal,

    Thank you very much. We tried our best.

    @ greenfumb,

    Thanks Deb. I agree. We made sure that there was adequate bench space either side of the cooker and that the sink was right behind it.. It works really well.

    @ ecoMILF,

    Thanks Megan. That would be hard work and heart ache!

    @ JulieG,

    Never thought of the tiles in that way. They are never coming up again so they will get a lifetime of use.

    @ Lauren,

    It is a calming space, yet practical. It brings joy to our hearts to work in it.


  5. says

    You have both done a great job. It looks like a kitchen you will be very comfortable in and comfortable using. Well worth all the work and time (and money).

    I must say – making cheese is addicting. I have 3 wheels in the cheese fridge and I am waxing two more wheels today (another Mont. Jack and Cheddar). Trying to stagger the aging time so we can eat and enjoy and not run out. Monterey Jack, Cheddar and Parmesan are in the fridge aging….YUM YUM. Next on my list is a Pepper Jack and a Cheddar with peppers or caraway seeds. Now I am drooling. Thanks for sharing your new kitchen with us. Emily in Texas

  6. says

    It looks lovely! Would you mind doing another post some time about the decisions you made, products you used and so on? I’m working on a retrofit and kitchen reno atm and it is so hard to get decent information — the nearest eco-friendly kitchen company I’ve found is in Canberra! I could do with some help.

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