Introducing The Inbetweeners kitchen

Day 6

Deep down I'm a pleaser. I may give off an air of I'll-do-what-I-want-thank-you-very-much, but actually, I'm happiest when we're all happy. In interior design terms this means occasionally (VERY occasionally) I have to take one for the team.

The Newbury midnight kitchen by Magnet 

The Newbury midnight kitchen by Magnet 

Our kitchen got delivered today and whilst I am really, really, really, really happy with it, I'd like to put on record that this is a team kitchen. If I had my way, it would have been handmade to my exact school girl sketches. It would be part fitted kitchen, part freestanding vintage units. There would open shelving, a lot of glass and a lot of brass. 

Thing is, ALL my boys pleaded for modern. Having never paid an ounce of interest in our interior choices, they suddenly developed very clear-cut ideas of what their dream kitchen looked like ...  and it was nothing like mine. As well as the boys, there was also the small matter of the purse strings and the builder's timescales to please. To cut a long story short, I was frogmarched to Magnet and told to leave my sketchbook behind.

Luckily, Magnet's newest kitchen technology direct from their expert German boffins has been applied to a traditional kitchen concept. The Newbury is a soft-closing, internally lit, slab, in-frame door. It's neither super modern or wholesomely traditional - more of an inbetweener if you like. It's a crowd pleaser of a kitchen, just like me ;)


The Newbury kitchen comes in grey, white and most recently midnight (ours). I allowed the boys their modern bendy tap (no boiler tap mind) and I got my Carerra marble-esque white grained granite. 

Installation day is tomorrow when House Candy Andy has persuaded a very busy joiner to "Stay until it's finished." He drives a hard bargain does HCA, whereas clearly, I'm quite the pushover??

So Whadyathink? I am absolutely loving this regular dialogue we've struck up and your genuine concern for our family Christmas. It's OK people, I will get them a tree this weekend, I promise. I may even give them a branch to decorate since I'm feeling so accommodating.

Hope to see you tomorrow for installation day.

Claire x

No more window pain

Day 2 

Aluminium roof lights, window and double sliding doors in the new extension.

Aluminium roof lights, window and double sliding doors in the new extension.

It's the second day of My House Candy advent calendar which, in case you missed yesterday's post, is my daily update on our ridiculous, self-inflicted schedule to get the kitchen extension finished for Christmas.

Today the black aluminium windows arrived and Oh. My. God. 

windows 2.JPG
One happy (and warmer) builder and plumber after the sliding doors finally get installed.

One happy (and warmer) builder and plumber after the sliding doors finally get installed.

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View of the old outbuilding, now totally re-built and featuring aluminium windows

View of the old outbuilding, now totally re-built and featuring aluminium windows

The window debacle has been a complicated one. I wanted Crittal of course ('cos cool), but they are about three million quid. **gross exaggeration but you get the idea** 

Then I found an alternative supplier to Crittal - Fabco, which as its name suggests is a fab company in that it manufactures a nearly identical product (steel-framed windows and doors) at a more reasonable price point.

However, for the scale of my project, I had to concede that steel windows were over my budget and I settled instead for aluminium.

I'm actually really pleased I did. I mean, aluminium isn't exactly cheap but I feel it's enough money to pay for windows. We have spent our life savings on this build and although I didn't want to have to make compromises, this 2nd best option actually doesn't feel like one at all. As my sons would say, it looks SIK.

I opted for black frames and I feel like it's made the same difference to the build as when I used to draw marker pen outlines around my drawings as a kid. It gives definition and elegance and - although it's a stark contrast to the white sash windows on the original house - it somehow compliments them.

We went for two huge sliding doors in the end instead of french opening doors. It gives a cleaner look than the metal bars in Crittal windows would have created, which in hindsight would not have worked well with the panelled wall at the back of this room.

So as well as opening door 2 of their chocolate advent calendars, today the boys and I got to open the door to the newly enclosed kitchen extension for the first time. It feels massive (it IS massive). It's a luxury I have to pinch myself to believe is ours.  I vowed to the builder at the start of this project that we weren't going to be one of those families who live in the kitchen when we've got a beautiful big house to spread out in. Well, I'd still prefer it if we didn't but I've got to admit, once I'm in here, it may be very difficult to get me out.

Enjoy your Saturday night all. I'm going to try not to drink too much as I celebrate this little milestone because it's another busy day of the build tomorrow and another early start. I'm looking forward to the update already.

Claire x


Why my Bake Off dresser is the icing on the cake

There are three things that the latest series of The Great British Bake Off has influenced:

1) My choice in lipstick

2) My view on men wearing aprons

3) My latest upcycle

It was a subconscious decision to paint a knackered old pine dresser bright sky blue, but when it stood in place - like a giant, fondant covered cupcake ready for a baby shower - I knew there was more than a bit of the Bake-Offs about it. 

It was inevitable for a weak willed interior junkie such as me, that all this BBC candy coloured cabinetry would get me in the end. (It was either going to be that or the predictable Paul Hollywood crush and frankly it's just better this way).

Now as we are all well aware, baking is sexy again. Everyone's at it. Bun wars are rife, flaky pastry envy is a Thing and bread consumption is very much back in vogue. But all this comes at a cost and, to my husband's dismay, in our case, it came at the expense of a clean white minimalist kitchen.

You see, there comes a point in your baking journey when packets of chia seeds and fat juicy dates start hogging your cupboard space and you realise that a kitchen dresser could come in very handy. 

Now, the kitchen dresser situation can go two ways and I was keen for mine to be more of a Candice than a Mary Berry if you know what I mean?

The difference is ALL in the styling. 

My bright blue painted dresser

My bright blue painted dresser

Here's my recipe for creating a show-stopping piece of kitchen house candy, whilst avoiding all notions of middle aged twinset and pearls.

1) Be brash about your colour choice

Go as bold as you dare. Remember last week when Candice went all 'nude' on us? Oh the disappointment. Followed by the stark realisation that; if this is what a colour pop of lipstick can do to a face, what can an in-yer-face piece of painted furniture do to a room?

Sky blue has always been on my fave colour spectrum. In fact, this old stoneware tea pot kicked off my first ever vintage collection of Poole Pottery, also in this sweet 'n' tasty shade.

Vintage teapot from my collection of all things sky blue (Did someone say hoarder?)

Vintage teapot from my collection of all things sky blue (Did someone say hoarder?)

So, when the spray paint guy, desperate to get the damn dresser out of his workshop, pushed me to make a colour choice, I finally ripped off a sky blue corner of a copy of the Evening Standard magazine and waved it in his face.

"This will go with everything", I said... Well think of it this way, when has a bright blue sky ever looked out of place?

2) Use the top of the dresser to prop up pictures. 

If room height allows, go up a bit to knock out the safe proportions of the unit. A propped up picture is an easy way to achieve this and also an opportunity for you to display your favourite pieces of art. Better still, add a few framed prints and overlap them slightly... I don't know why, but it works.

3) Add greenery.

I know you know about shelfies and Ivy plants etc. but me not mentioning the importance of greens here would be like forgetting to prove during bread week. Doh!

4) Jars

Get de-cant happy and enjoy the added texture and subtle interest brought to your newly geeked up kitchen by nuts, seeds, grains etc all in different shaped jars.

Try Wilko, for airtight Kilner jars with clip lids and be sure to raid the charity shops for some retro styles as well.

5) Vintage vinyl


OK so it's confession time. The real reason I HAD to have a kitchen dresser was because I needed somewhere to put a Crosleys record player.

Crosleys record player £160  Urban Outfitters

Crosleys record player £160 Urban Outfitters

Oh, but have you seen the selection on offer from Urban Outfitters? A million swoons and then some. 

I went for the cream leather gold trimmed carry case and it works a treat with the bright blue backdrop. But imagine it sat on top of a blush pink sideboard too... I mean, pass me the cupcakes, it deserves a baby shower all of its own.  

Don't tell him, but I'm treating the House Candy Husband to 16 vinyl records (one from every year of marriage) to mark our wedding anniversary this month. Too cute, I know.

Here's what romantic gesture he's bought me in return...

Wilko  alphabet letter mugs £1 ... Because everyone loves a geek, right?

Wilko alphabet letter mugs £1 ... Because everyone loves a geek, right?

Happy Monday all (Now there's a vinyl I need to buy) Pucker up and let me know how you have been inspired this week, Bake Off or otherwise. I'd love to know your news.

Claire x