Hi everyone

So after much time she is finally ready, Yay!  The renovation and makeover of my vintage caravan is now complete, the scene has been set and the photographs taken, all that is now left is the big reveal, hope you enjoy looking at her as much as I do, I’m thrilled…..



For those of you who have been following her story since my introducing Brigitte post back last February, you will remember the motivation and creation of Brigitte came about as a result of my love affair with St Tropez and it’s Boho chic vibe,  immortalised by the french screen siren and former resident Brigitte Bardot. Brigitte or BB , as she is often referred to in St Trop.,  brought this small fishing town international fame, following her risque film of the time, shot in and around the town and beaches of St Tropez, ‘When God created Woman‘ ‘Et Dieu… crea La Femme’ back in 1956. It tells the story of a promiscuous teenager in a small fishing village. The perfect roll for the ultimate sex kitten in the ultimate setting.


After having spotted a gorgeous little campsite, on Pampelone, the famous 1 mile golden stretch of beach of St. Tropez, we decided a few stolen weeks this summer just had to happen. This could have been easy, we could have just purchased a caravan, packed up and drove off, but hey, wheres the fun in that? Besides you know me, well you are probably starting to by now, if their is a renovation opportunity I’m sure as hell not going to miss it!


I decided that a vintage van was definitely the way to go and initially the inspiration was hippy chic so very St. Trop! but then, after searching for inspiration images of BB in St Tropez in the 70’s, the caravan is an Abbey 1974, I came across the perfect photo of BB in her beloved waterfront home ‘La madrague’ This was it, this was the concept image.

Brigitte, La Madrague

Sadly this is the best quality image I can get but as you can see the space is cool and white and the gorgeous flowing plants and trees are the stars of this show. She has added rugs and furniture in natural jute, hessian and wicker and there is a touch of feminine pink and I would kill for that white embroidered dress she is wearing! Obviously I couldn’t hang plants everywhere in a caravan owing to space, so I decided on this bold wallpaper design the gorgeous Summer Tropical Bloom by Sian Zeng which would give the feel of ‘La Madrague’s’ gorgeous plant filled terrace and even has that touch of pink in the hibiscus flower, it also features the cheese plant as in the photo. There is not currently a fabric in this design so with the help of Sian I managed to get the design printed onto a lovely linen/cotton mix. I’ve added a touch of gold to the mix as I think those are gold bracelets she is wearing and if not I think a subtle touch of bling adds a bit of BB class

Brigitte sample board

I’ve added a wood effect floor, Church Pine by Harvey Maria, to represent the tree trunks in the image background and the Calacatta marble  Formica represents the stone paving.

vintage caravan makeover


We got rid of the original bench/bed….


As well as the little cupboard you can see to the right which contained the porta Potty, yuk! and made a permanent double bed, with lots of storage underneath, ok it’s not kingsize but it is a double, I know it doesn’t look it in these wide angle lens shots..


..and added a super compact shower and WC  No more communal loos at festivals, yay!!





We’ve added a neat little vanity unit with sink by the bathroom.

vintage caravan vanity

The table, originally in rather ugly wood effect laminate, we have covered in another stunning Formica Hammered Brass from their DecoMetal range.


We kept the original enamel sink from the old kitchen, sadly the old oven gave up so we had to replace this and the fridge, bit of a shame as I did like the retro feel the old ones have but upside is the new ones work so much better 🙂


The new formica marble effect sets that lovely sink off a tad better, don’t you agree?


Plus a handy flap down surface for extra work surface in the kitchen..

vintage caravan renovationDSC_0020


So moving on outside..

Vintage caravan renovation

Yes we had her vinyl wrapped in the same design!



vinatage caravan exterior

Check out the amazing bespoke awning by Emma at Threadform I showed her this pic


And she improved on it!

vintage caravan exterior

I had great fun styling for the photoshoot last week, working with my super talented daughter who took all the photos…





Now I must give credit and thanks to all the lovely people who helped me with their enthusiasm and talents to turn my dreaming into a reality.

English Caravan Company -The lovely Richard & Lynn Stark responsible for the replacement and repair of all the nasty bits, fitting of the shower and WC, all the new electrics, water heater etc..and all the carpentry – Full colour digitally printed vehicle wrapping, what a team, thanks guys! – Bespoke quality Canvas structures, thank you to the lovely Emma who designed and hand made the fabulous awning from a photo I liked.

Sian – the wonderful Summer Tropical Bloom wallpaper and design for the fabric and vinyl wrap

Jane Berry – who worked so hard to get the seating covers made despite feeling poorly, thank you Jane.

BJ – who hung all the paper and probably went a bit stir crazy doing so, best wallpaperer I know, is that a word?

Peter Briscoe – My darling multi talented Dad who tirelessly works on all the bits and pieces I throw at him on all my projects and tries so hard to get it just the way I want it, responsible for pretty much everything else!

Richy  – My super duper husband who not only puts up with my wild ideas but indulges me in them and I so love him for it, thank you darling MWAH X

And to B.B. for the inspiration X

We will be setting sail soon and I hope to bring you some travel news and updates of life on the beach, this will depend on internet connection but at the very least I will posting fun stuff on my socials so stay tuned.

So what d’ya think?

keep in touch














Hi Everyone,

You may or may not have been wondering where I’ve been lately due to the lack of posts since the Kitchen Design series, which had great feedback by the way so I will be doing more of these types of posts and my first foray into Vlogging, the LIVE intro to Brigitte?  Yeah yeah I know it wasn’t brilliant, but at least you got a live view of Brigitte and I will be subjecting you to another in the next couple of weeks when I reveal her in all her glory! (have you checked out the sneak peeks of her on my socials?) Plus I think vlogging may be the easiest way to stay in touch with you all when I am camped out on the beach with expected dubious internet connection!

You may also be wondering when the hell she will be finished and like ‘how long does it take to decorate a caravan?’ Truth is, I haven’t been working on my lovely Brigitte all this time, in fact she is all but finished even though we have had some hold ups, I’ve mainly been working flat out on an apartment refurbishment project in North London. This I will blog about in more detail in a later post, but, suffice to say for now, completing the renovation of a vintage caravan and ripping out and completely refitting an apartment in six weeks takes A.Stamina with a touch of masochism and B.a good team of tradesmen and it is on the subject of trusted tradesmen that I write today.

The extremely tight six week schedule on this project has reminded me of  just how crucial having  a good team of trusted tradesmen around you is. I’m glad to say generally I have built up quite a good team of people whom I work with, but on this project I had to use a couple of new tradesmen and the outcome was mixed, ie one good and one definitely not so, which resulted in delay and almost completely threw the schedule off! It’s all sorted and we are back on track, but it is seriously stressful when you find you are dealing with an incompetent tradesman not to mention often costly! There are a few things I’ve learnt you can do to help safe guard against this (none of them will ever be full proof obviously) and I definitely overlooked one of these when I took this particular guy on. I could kick myself, but when you are up against it managing a project schedule and doing all the other million things involved like ordering and specifying etc.. it happens and to be honest it’s the challenge of project management, getting everything to work together, materials ordered and delivered on time, co-ordinating the work and scheduling the trades, is part of what I love about renovations.

Projects are always challenging and inefficient or bad tradesmen are the kind of issues that can and often do threaten to throw things off track, but you have to hang on in there and with the help of pills and wine, bring it back. I jest obviously (though I’m not going to deny a glass or two can help at the end of a stressful day!) however the more trusted the team you are working with and/or the better the network you can call on, the easier this is to do. Not so easy if renovation works are not something  you are doing regularly, so how can you find a tradesman you can trust for your project ? Well if you asking me I think we should first take a look at what constitutes a trusted tradesman , this is what I look for and have found pretty much sum up my own favourite tradesmen:



This is obviously the key consideration. I’m looking for quality and a conscientious workmanship. Someone who cares about the work they are producing for both themselves and me. Pride in their work is their main motivator.


I want someone who is as good as his or her word. Churning out great work is clearly the first criteria but if a project is going to run smoothly I also need someone who will turn up when they say they will, complete the job within the timescale that both they and I set.


Who wants to work alongside a grumpy, unhelpful person? I certainly don’t. Part of  what I love about a project is the team work and interacting with others and thats quite apart from the fact you often need tradesmen to ‘dovetail’ their work in with the next or work alongside to make things happen. So a friendly team player really does help!


This will vary but there has to be a reasonable level of tidiness and respect for where they are working. I find looking at the way they turn out and the condition in which they keep their vehicles will give you quite a good idea.


I’m always keen to get good prices from tradesmen and I am known to haggle quite hard at times but I’ve generally found that if all the other qualities are there, a fair price or day rate is usually a ‘given’ Sure some trades do charge fairly high rates but as long as they fall into that general rate and aren’t being greedy I’m fine with that. I’m wary of those that charge too low as well as too high. Most good tradesmen know the going rate if they need to undercut or they are charging up there is a reason and it’s usually not a good one!

How to find a good tradesman ?

  So how do you find one? Check out my top tips below:


This is a fairly obvious one and the first thing most people think to do if they need to hire someone for a job large or small and why not? its probably the best and most fool proof way BUT be mindful of the fact that everyone has different standards and ideas about what is good, acceptable and shoddy workmanship, you know it, its like, “I love Tesco’s Own label” whereas it could be “I won’t touch anything that isn’t Waitrose” Not only that but there is also a case for “horses for courses” there are some tradesmen who will happily handle something fairly straight forward very well but there are maybe other more complex jobs that require more skill, think GP, Doctor, Consultant. So if a friend of yours had a shower tiled on a basic wall with standard ceramic tiles and is delighted with the result, be sure that their recommended tiler is capable, read ‘accustomed to’, laying  and cutting your Fired Earth natural stone or Calacatta Marble! different ball game..


If you are likely to be wanting some work done in the near future or even if you haven’t anything planned when you are out and about keep an eye open for good workmanship. Maybe a friend may have something done, ask for the name of the tradesman and keep a note. It may be you are out and notice a sign written van that catches your eye because they are advertising something specialist or a way that makes you look twice, I usually take a photo on my phone or if I can I will strike up a conversation with the tradesman ask them about their work, get a card. It could be you are in a restaurant or shop and see some great workmanship or something different, ask the owner or manager for the tradesman’s details.


Do some research on the work you are looking to get done. Have some knowledge up your sleeve this will help you to see through some of the ‘BS’ that you will get fed. I’m not saying you need to be an expert but the internet is an amazing resource and you can find out so much about pretty much anything. Its my biggest yard stick, I’m not saying I could do it myself but after having being involved with so many renovations now, I am up to speed on the basics of how most of this stuff is done and what can and can’t be, I have to be to work a schedule, you may find my  previous post ‘when to ignore the builder’s advice‘ an interesting read at this point. Some, not all, but usually the ones I don’t end up taking on funnily enough, will use a smoke screen of BS to blind you with science and try to appear super knowledgable, this is usually to hide inadequacy in my experience, the good ones don’t usually need to. Its worse too if you are a woman I might add, but it happens to men also, we are all familiar with the sucking in of air scratching of chin scenario, this usually means they aren’t up to it, avoid!


See and get quotes from at least 3 and preferably 5 tradesman, you will definitely get a feel for price and who you feel comfortable with. Then when you have eliminated the ones you definitely don’t want, ask the rest to give you contact details of previous clients. Call them up and ask questions, about there time keeping etc.. not just about the end result, ideally ask if they would mind you taking a look, though I get that this doesn’t always seem the right or easiest thing to do. I would definitely ask though if it is a major build and if the builder is good they won’t have a problem with giving you names and details. If someone asked me, I wouldn’t mind would you?


This would probably not be my first port of call, but I have used it before and had mixed results.I’m thinking of Trust a Trader, Rated People, and the like.  The good thing about these sites is that they do run on customer reviews which can be helpful BUT as I said before everybody has a different idea about what ‘good’ is and so they can be misleading. You don’t really know what was involved in previous jobs they may have been more simple and  not requiring same skill set or level. So be aware. They work like Tripadvisor, one man’s caviar is another man’s, well, fish eggs!


If your project is a fairly large one, you may opt to work with a trusted professional. An Architect, Interior Designer or general Builder who who will already have gathered their own team of  trusted tradesmen this will take a big pressure from you if you choose correctly. If its a larger project you may want to consider all three of these. The Architect and Interior Designer would be involved at the earlier stages and can also help you by project managing if you feel thats what you wanted. If the work doesn’t require an Architect you could employ and Interior Designer to design and bring in their tradesmen to complete the works. If you are confident on your design a good general Builder can project manage and bring in his/her trusted tradesmen. You should check these professionals first though as l have ready suggested with individual traders. There are good and bad standards in all areas but you also need to be able to work with them and so you should feel comfortable to do that too.


Follow your gut instincts. If you get the wrong feeling or something just doesn’t feel right listen to yourself, this is often one of the best yard sticks.


I always like to put something in writing when I’ve agreed it, even if it is just a text to confirm whats to be done, the start and finish dates and the price. It may make no difference at the end of the day but I find it keeps it very clear. You must get their written confirmation though and if they don’t seem to want to give you that then I would question why.

So what do you think? Have you had good/bad experiences with Tradesmen? Would love you to share your ideas and thoughts with us?

And here’s a handy checklist to help you in your search for a trusty trader!















Yellow Industrial Table

Hi People,

Hope you all had a great Easter break and indulged in all that ‘floats your boat’  Been a week or so since I posted as I took some time out to spend with friends and family and I have to say it worked out pretty well. Since my Birthday fell in the week leading up to Easter I managed to extract every last drop out of the whole week, just like me to kick the proverbial ‘backside’ out of it, if it’s worth doing as they say..  I had a fab time, one of the best birthdays ever! Plus, if you follow me on the socials you would have noticed I went out with a bang after my country house project was chosen as Abigail Ahern’s House Crush, whoop, whoop! Such praise coming from Abigail, who has been revered as the current ‘High Priestess of Interiors’ is flattery indeed and I received an outpouring of wonderful positive response from so many for my style and blog, I was ‘made up’, head grew, needed to sit down!

As a result, lots of interior junkies have found me in cyber space and so I would also like to warmly welcome quite a few newbies to our little community. Really hope you will enjoy being here and I value your support and beg your patience, as I maybe an old hand at renovations and interiors but a definite beginner blogger! so feel completely free to comment, good and bad, on stuff I’m doing and showing to keep or put me on the track you want. This blog is all about me giving you guys the most helpful and entertaining interiors blog I can and I hope to do more and facilitate that as I get more proficient, so your feedback is really important to me.

I have a busy and exciting few months planned and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. There’s an apartment renovation challenge soon to get underway and the completion and reveal of the ‘Brigitte’ project, which is building momentum. Not to mention her maiden voyage, so watch this space and connect with me on the socials so you don’t miss any of the updates and I’d love to hear from you, so come on and lets get chatty!!

Anyway, Kitchens and despite storm Katie, (that seems way to nice a name to me to give such a destructive force don’t you think?) Spring is in the air, I can definitely feel it so I thought a kitchen, well kitchen/diner image featuring the ultimate spring colour was in order. I like daffodils but I really don’t think I could do a whole yellow kitchen, but certain shades of .. ie for me mustard-y  or certain objects by way of a highlight can be splendid. I have yellow Le Crueset pans as you can see in my kitchen (as old as my marriage, which you may also see) and I love sunflowers (it was summer time when this was taken) and I think I could definitely manage that yellow industrial table in a dining area, what do you think? pretty cool huh? ..gorgeous image is courtesy of the shootfactory a location agency that I mentioned in a past post about hiring out your house for shoots.. anyway enough of all that lets get on with this Kitchen renovation series, you’ve work to do..


Now you’ve stuck and pinned your scrap book to your hearts content, you should be a lot more focused and confident, less overwhelmed. It’s no mean feat pulling together and completing any large project so give yourself a pat on the back for ‘going there’ in the first place. For an Interior Designer, projects are a mixture of creative thinking and practical and ordered execution. Approaching your project in a methodical way will definitely help you stay on top of things.

The Design Process

  1. The Brief
  2. Design Analysis
  3. Mood or concept
  4. Design Development
  5. working drawings
  6. Quotes and costings
  7. Implementation and project management

4. Design Development

You will remember from part 1 that we looked at how to attack stages 1-3 of the design process, in practice a budget will be discussed at the brief stage, but as an Interior Designer I would now be asking lots of questions to ascertain how the budget should be apportioned, to take the design forward.

The Budget

What this will be is obviously down to you, but I can help you to consider it. You will probably have a budget in mind already but it’s now time to gather in some prices and work out how you will be apportioning it. Gathering in your costs and setting out the budget will in reality happen somewhat simultaneously, but you can start first by thinking through the main priorities.

What you can afford v’s what is proportionate and appropriate

Primarily the first consideration will probably be down to what you can afford and of course this is the most important but that shouldn’t necessarily be the only consideration. It will also depend on what you want, expect and need from your kitchen. You need now to set not only the total budget but where you are best advised to proportion it, so consider:

  • The amount of wear it’s likely to get – do you have children and/or pets? skimping on quality for the sake of looks and design in this case maybe a false economy, if it’s likely to take a daily bashing it will soon need replacing!
  • If it needs to be ‘hard core’ go for most hardwearing worktops and finishes and the best quality appliances the budget will allow. Better to go for basic good quality appliances rather than fancy non-essentials such as sleek built in coffee machines and sunken TV’s if this is the case. Sounds obvious?  yes, but those kitchen showrooms are nothing if not seductive, you can easily forget that it’s likely that rather than relaxingly knocking up a stir-fry for two over a glass of chablis on a moody lit kitchen island, you are more likely to be surrounded by kids playing tag and the labrador chasing them round that island whilst you drain off the potatoes for the mash! 
  • Are you a mad keen cook/chef? – a good range of high tech quality appliances will definitely be worth investing in if you spend a lot of time cooking for pleasure.
  • If not maybe better quality or more decorative items are worth the splurge.
  • How long are you intending to stay at the property ? – It’s probably not necessary to buy top of the range if you are going to be leaving in a years time, however its worth matching the expectation of quality and design to the type of buyer you are likely to sell to. From a resale point of view investment in a Kitchen is usually a good thing, as long as you haven’t spent £80k on a Bulthaup and your house is worth £200k! proportion obviously is the key here, but any estate agent will tell you that the kitchen can often sell a house today. People love the open plan living of a kitchen/dining space, so design and choose carefully.

Consider the route that works best for you..

You now know what you are aiming to achieve, the style and form you are looking for, you know your budget and the priorities for how it will be apportioned. There are three routes you can take to complete the design development and take you through the final steps of working drawings and implementation. Now to decide on which of the three routes will suit your needs the best:

  1. Kitchen company
  2. Interior Designer

Whichever of the three options you decide to take, now is the time to get yourself out there and check out the quality and features of whats on offer.

1. The Kitchen Company

Choose your kitchen supplier don’t let them choose you!

All kitchen suppliers from the top to the bottom of the chain will offer a free kitchen design service which is great but before you jump in and book in a design appointment first check out whats on offer and who’s got what.

You will have already spotted who has got designs you are looking for (you will have done this in step 1). Now go and physically check them out for the quality they are offering and at what price. There is quite a variation. According to Which, their survey on several big kitchen companies including Ikea, B&Q and John Lewis, revealed prices for a basic, standard set of eight units for a small kitchen, varied from around £500 to almost £5,000 (these prices include units only and are excluding installation and appliances). The majority of the kitchens cost between £1,000 and £3,000 at this end of the market. Further up the scale bespoke kitchens will obviously be more expensive but even these can vary enormously.

Whatever your budget you are going to want to get the best value you can for your money so look at the quality of the actual carcass. More expensive units will tend to be made with thicker and denser material, look at the drawers runners, hinges, and the backs of the units, what are they made of? These are the areas that will wear first, so be sure they are going to be what you need them to be. What are the guarantees being offered?

It would be a good idea now to get some comparative quotes from two or three different suppliers. Ask them for a price list or a quote on a small basic kitchen, comprising:

  • Sink and base unit
  • Two base units with a drawer and shelf
  • A base unit with four drawers
  • Two wall units with a door and two shelves each
  • A housing unit for an oven,
  • All including handles, hinges and fixings, and a 40mm worktop.

Its worth remembering the kitchen designer is in reality a salesman for the company and their job is to sell you as many and as much of their product as possible. They normally won’t let you take away any design they draw up until you have agreed a deal and paid a deposit, so you won’t be able to take it away and get a comparative quote and they will invariably add in items that other suppliers don’t have etc  so you need to keep it simple. Getting a basic price like this will allow you to gauge prices more accurately. Once you have started going down the route of kitchen design appointments you will have jumped this stage and may find it very difficult to make direct comparisons, especially once they start offering you all sorts of deals and discounts. It’s important to stay ahead and in control of the game remember you are doing the choosing not the other way around.


NEVER agree to a deal on the day, however attractive or ‘about to end’ the offer is, this is hard selling and should put you off anyway! always go home and sleep on it, that deal will still be there next week, trust!

Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantage of a kitchen company is mainly convenience. They will design your kitchen and supply working drawings and supply and fit. However you will need to ensure that any other remodelling works are done before they fit. For example if you are removing walls, extending, moving services etc.. you will need to get tradesmen in prior to this. The convenience will also come at a higher cost. Designers, showrooms and advertising are all costs you will ultimately be paying for in the price of your kitchen.

2. The Interior Designer

You might also want consider on-boarding an interior designer on a consultancy basis for to help you with the design development and drawings. You will have a clear picture of what you are looking for and most designers will be happy to take on consultancy for certain stages and aspects of your project. If you are keen to manage the project yourself  but find the idea of working drawings and space planning a bit more than you want to take on, this could be an ideal solution. 

Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantages of hiring an interior designer are that they are not tied in to any one company and will be looking to design the best solution for you. In contrast to the kitchen company, who in the main offer a kitchen space planning service, they are designers as and will also be considering the whole space including your dining area etc..and how it will also work cohesively. They can give you great design ideas and features and probably give you the confidence to add the extra wow factor that you really want but are not quite sure how to achieve and hopefully help you to avoid what I call ‘kitchen laboratory syndrome’ which I will cover in another post!

They will charge you for their services but the cost maybe off set by the discounts they maybe able to obtain for you (most will pass these on to their client). They may also, as I did in my kitchen, work directly with joiners, who will execute their designs to create a bespoke kitchen at a much lower cost than an upper end kitchen company.

3. DIY -Be Your Own Interior Designer

Its not as easy as 1 and 2 but its do-able. Basically It will involve all of the above. You will need to go and check out the suppliers for quality and gather basic cost kitchen prices. If you are going it alone you will have to get your design together but there are now plenty of online programs to help you with this. Many companies such as IKEA and Homebase have their own programs. They are obviously provided to help sell their product so are fine if you have decided on that particular kitchen but these will be of limited use if you want a general plan. I would suggest that you draw up a plan on a generic design program such as Easy Planner 3d there are a few like this around and most are free. If this feels a bit scary you can always buy some graph paper and cut out pieces of paper to scale, representing the units and devise a layout this way, it’s a bit more basic and you won’t have the advantage of 3d but at least it will be to scale and you will know if it fits! You can then either buy off the shelf units from your chosen supplier or submit your plans to smaller joiners in your local area for quotes.

Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantage of doing it yourself is of course the cost. If you can lose the cost of the design fee via the more expensive kitchen company or the Interior Designer’s fee, you are definitely going to save. However this is only worth it if you feel you are going to be confident in getting the design that you want. You don’t want to be making expensive mistakes.

“Take your time, kitchens are a major investment and the heart of the home”

A few things to consider then. Most importantly I think is take your time kitchens are a major investment whatever your budget and the heart of the home, so it’s important to give it plenty of thought and planning, it’s not something you are likely to be doing again for a while and it causes a fair amount of upheaval so you want to be in control and sure you are going to get exactly what you want.

In the next post of this Kitchen Design Series I’m going to look at adding personality to your kitchen and avoiding ‘Laboratory syndrome’ hope you are enjoying the series? would love to know your thoughts and if there are other areas you would like me to cover? Drop me a line in the comments below.. or at


PS If you need Design Consultancy and would like more information on working with me would love to hear from you, find out more here




“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” 

I’m one of those people who loves, no NEEDS to be organised. I like lists and plans as I approach a project, well its not just projects  its day to day life to be honest. Darling Richy finds it rather amusing when he sees me religiously filling in my Action Day Weekly Planner  for the week ahead. Laugh he may, but I live by the old Benjamin Franklin saying ‘Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” I find it helps not only so I make sure I don’t miss anything, with so many things flying around my head, the words memory and sieve spring to mind, but also I like to be focused or I find that it is way to easy with all thats out there to get side tracked down another completely unrelated path! So if you’ve decided on or you are thinking about a kitchen renovation and you’ve started looking around at what is available, I’ve no doubt you are already feeling a little overwhelmed and rightly so it’s a nightmare out there!

We are now lucky enough to have an enormous amount of supplier choice and access to a huge selection of kitchen image inspiration thanks to the web and we can even design our own kitchen with the help of numerous online design tools and resources. If only we knew where to start right? Even more reason then you need to be fully ‘prepped’ and mentally focused on what you are looking to achieve if you are not going to drown in that ‘kitchen sea’…makes me feel queasy just thinking about it! Therefore the first post in this Kitchen Design series is looking at what I call the ‘Pre-Planning‘ phase, the bit before the actual designing, think of it as diving training, but you don’t need to hold your breath or shout for a raft I’m going to give you an oxygen tank!

If you were to hire an Interior Designer to help you to renovate and redesign your kitchen they would take you through a design process to enable them to ascertain and focus on the style and function you are trying to attain in your Kitchen Design. They would be looking at several aspects so that they can work out the best way to do this within your budget.

To be guided through this Kitchen design process by an Interior Designer is obviously much easier, but a service you would pay for. However it could save you money in the long run whether on the cost of the actual kitchen via trade contacts and discounts that most Interior Designers these days will pass on to you and/or by ensuring that you don’t make expensive mistakes. They would also design and draw up a bespoke kitchen especially for you, with extra design features and a layout to suit your needs, not the needs and/or sales targets or limitations of the kitchen company! (More about that later in the series) Oh yes and they would also take care of the organising and managing of  the project, phew! However if this is not for you, do not fear, with some desire and stamina. it’s completely possible to guide yourself through a similar process and be your own Interior Designer, read on..


  • The Brief
  • Design Analysis
  • Mood or Concept
  • Design Development
  • Working Drawings
  • Quotes and Costings
  • Implementation & Project Management

These are the general steps an Interior Designer will follow to get you to where you want to be. Maybe you will be looking to manage the whole Kitchen renovation from the brief to implementation or perhaps you are planning to hand most of the process over to a kitchen design company. Either way the pre-planning phase, that is the Brief to the Mood or Concept Board, would be well worth spending some time on and here are my tips on how.



This is where the Interior Designer, thats you, would establish the client’s, also you, aims and objectives. Before you start, get yourself a nice note book, label it up Kitchen Design and ask yourself some questions and note down the answers: What you are trying to achieve and why? Do you need more space? Do you want to modernise? How will you want to use the space ie cooking and/or family dining, entertaining? home study area? What functions will it need to perform? Are you a keen cook ? What will be the scope of the work? Will  you be looking to or need to extend? can you extend? what is your budget, what are the time scales? Really drill down into who, how and what is  required and needed.

Yes it sounds obvious but sometimes it’s good to just take some time to define your reasons and specify your goals before you take steps to action them. It could be that you and your partner have different ideas and now is a good time to make sure you are reading from the same page!


Right so now you know what you are trying to achieve, let’s see what you need to do to get there. Take stock of what you have in your existing kitchen. Are you going to revamp or renew? Perhaps you can adapt and/or add or just renew parts of  what you have already to achieve the desired affect? You may have already decided that you want to dump the lot and start again, thats fine, but even if you do there is still value in taking a view on whats working and whats not. So take out that note book and note your findings..

What exists?  What is desired ?  What is possible?

Look at your current layout, appliances, finishes etc and analyse what you think about them so that you can ensure that you can carry things (even if not literally) that are working over or not as the case maybe, example:

  • Definitely like wooden worktops but wouldn’t have them in the sink area again.
  • love that my sink is under the window so I can look out into the garden
  • Units are in quite good condition but I hate the door finishes.

…that kind of thing. Plus once you move on to the budget phase you may need to revert to a revamp rather than renew if what you are aiming for is falling way out of the budget!

Mood Board kitchen


“your mood board is your visual reference whilst sourcing and designing”

Before you even start thinking about walking into a showroom spend some time just getting your head around the sort of style and feel that you want to achieve. You may be inclined at this stage to want to start visiting showrooms and contacting suppliers but I would suggest you don’t do that yet for two reasons. a) You will get completely confused by the choice available and likelihood is that you will be attracted to more than one style, so its a good idea if you get focused on what you are going out looking for before you start. Its a bit like going into the supermarket hungry and without a shopping list…see where I’m coming from? and b) this is a big deal and a long haul you will need all the preparation and motivation you can get to keep you moving on to the final result once you get started!


Get into Blue Peter mode, Start pinning and tearing and sticking!

If you haven’t done so already sign up to Pinterest and start pinning your fave kitchen images, search the web, pull out pics in mags, spend some time on this at least a couple of weeks or more time if the project is planned a way off. Then when you feel you are ‘kitchen’ed out’! start to edit and analyse. A theme will have probably emerged and you will now see what you are most attracted to in terms of colour, style, finishes etc..Edit it down so that you don’t have lots of repeated images but make sure you have enough of all the features, colours and decorative looks that you love. Include decorative lighting wallpaper tiles etc.. If you have the sources of these take a note of them now, this will help later. Pinterest is effectively a bookmarking tool linking you back to the original source so its really useful for this purpose too.

Now you can create a mood board, this is the fun and creative part of the process and used properly this will really help you to stay on track. You can do this on Pinterest or even better I find is a physical board, get yourself down to hobbycraft and pick up some board (you can print images from the web if needs be) so you can keep it in your sight. This isn’t obviously set in stone and you can adapt and add other things you might find, but the more you can drill down into what style and design you really want the easier and more enjoyable you will find the journey! The more detail the better, knobs and handles styles, decorative lighting that kind of thing. Narrow it down as much as you can.

Your mood board is your visual reference whilst sourcing and designing your Kitchen and will help you keep focused. Once you are happy that you have the look and finishes you want start collecting samples of tiles, wall/floor coverings etc.., many companies will let you order these on line, often free of charge. Collect a few different qualities and price ranges so that you have some options when it comes to making your selection. Once you move on to budgeting you will then be able to bring together your actual sample board, ie the finished selection.


Next Kitchen Design post – Design Development, Quotes and Costings.

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