Kitchen on a budget

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OK so for all the interiors lovers reading this blog I thought I should start doing some ‘get the look’ posts. I am, after all, a journalist – so if I can’t do the research for you then its not much of a blog. You want links right? You want to be able to buy the stuff I’ve bought for my house and recreate it in your own home. Such an interiors addict am I that some of my children’s first words were ‘tear books’ and ‘mood boards’. So here in the first of a series is my GET THE LOOK page…. first up – kitchen

VÄRDE Base cabinet IKEA Free-standing; easy to place and move. Adjustable legs; stands steady on uneven surfaces too.

Ikea varde base unit

Kitchen units – IKEA VARDE and as I already explained – my particular Varde units were bought via ebay making them even cheaper than IKEA! As this is a freestanding kitchen, it seems that people quite often buy these as a temporary measure while having a kitchen fitted so there are lots of them on ebay in really good condition. And they come with worktops so you can just buy and throw into a room and you are done!

VÄRDE Wall shelf Width: 50 cm Depth: 21 cm Height: 140 cm

ikea varde wall shelf

VÄRDE Drawer unit IKEA Freestanding unit; easy to install and move. Adjustable legs; stands steady on uneven surfaces too.

varde drawer unit

 

 

We had planned to mix and match a bit more with our kitchen but having bought all this varde stuff I also had a tear in my famous tears book for some amazing wicker lampshades that came from IKEA. And so I decided to get those too. Full price. Imagine that?

LERAN Pendant lamp IKEA Handmade shade; each shade is unique. Gives both directed and diffused light, good for lighting up a dining table.

ikea leran pendant

And then we have amassed loads of great rustic looking things. We have loads of open shelving with our Lincoln crockery piled high which Peter buys up on ebay all the time. The best place to buy it is chinasearch or ebay. It originally came from BHS in the 1980s and sadly they no longer do it. But in later posts you’ll see my other great BHS finds. Im not saying I’d buy clothes there BUT the homeware is really great and the sales AMAZING. Check out bhs.co.uk

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BHS lincoln – rustic from the high street

And we have loads of French yellow confit pots. Some provided by Madame Landauer and some picked up for next to nothing at Vide Greniers. In the UK they are quite desirable and some places sell new ones for a fortune. ImageYou can find something really similar in terms of french rustic cook pots at Toast.

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French pots from Toast.co.uk

 

Or for more french style homewears try Plumo where I stumbled upon this lovely vase that looks just like one of our vide Grenier finds.

amphora vase from Plumo

And finally, I love giant clocks. And the best place I have found to track down giant clocks is Graham and Green. I have clocks from there in my London home and I splashed out and bought this one for my french kitchen.

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Wall clock from Graham and Green

So there you have it. Add in lots of blue and white plates which I am adding to all the time buying them up at vide greniers for 1 EURO or less and lots of empty vanilla yoghurt pots lined up on the fireplace. I could tell you where to buy the pokemon game pictured on the worktop here – but it is possibly the worst thing we’ve ever bought. Kids love it. Its interminable. Stick with the cook wear!

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Tidings of joy?

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And before you know it, it was Christmas again – this time with partial heating AND my parents. In less than two years we had managed to take a house with no water, heating, walls or heart and turn it into a family home. A warm, bustling, family home for the first time in twenty years. With noisy meals, heated games of table football and plenty of rowing about what time bedtime is. Regular, family stuff.

We had learnt by now via neighbours a little about the enormous french family who once lived in what we, the White family now refer to as La Maison Blanche (see what we did there?) It was once home to a family called Mouledous. The Mouledous had eighteen children and they all lived in our house in Gensac. Like the old woman who lived in a shoe. There are now dozens of Mouledous scattered around the local area. There’s Dr Mouledous in Maubourguet who we took Seb to once for scurvy or some such Victorian illness for which Seb is a magnet.

Then, there is the genteel and elegant Francoise who is no longer a Mouledous by name as she married. She is a retired paediatrician and lives in a beautiful old windmill on the edge of our village and invites us over for aperitifs and speaks such posh French we can understand every word (unlike Serge our other neighbour, with whom a conversation is probably the French equivalent of a chat with Gazza). Francoise’ daughter is married to an English Dr and they live in Ealing with their three ‘English by birth but French by manners’ children.

Finally, the best Mouledous of all is Frank Mouledous. Frank recently returned to his family home in Maubourguet with his Hawaain wife to open up rural France’s, one and only California surf shack, burger bar. Called The California Kitchen it’s the kids fave place to eat in France – go figure – but it’s not just the enourmous burgers which are made from scratch and delicious. Or the american style cheesecake which Mrs Frank makes from scratch and is delicious. Its not even the fact there is no loo at the California Kitchen so you have to run across the street to the Town Hall if you need a pee which the kids think is way cool. the big draw of the California Kitchen is the fact that Frank is a big bear of a man in a chef’s outfit who talks to the kids in a French/American accent. He might have stepped out of one of those dreadful shows they watch on the Disney channel where the Dads are always overweight and bufoony, and the Mum’s naggy and in charge. And Frank always offers up free desert for which my children would happily follow the child catcher, never mind a man who could be Selena Gomez’s onscreen Dad!

So this Christmas we would have a family Christmas the like of which our still a bit shabby house had not seen for about twenty years or more. A Christmas to make the Mouledous memory proud.

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Peter and the boys bought a huge tree that filled one ‘kings speech’ style corner of our salon. And because we now had a concrete floor in the salon, we moved all Christmas operations into it. The table we normally use in the garden with a white linen tablecloth to disguise the fact it’s an outdoor table. And mistletoe found in abundance in our woods.

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And my mum had brought onesies for the boys from Primark so they could feel cosy when they got up on Xmas morning to see if he’d been. Which of course he had.

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And we could begin to see how our holiday home could actually be a real home. With a sofa, (ikea natch) and lots of rooms that we could spread out into. We may not be a family of 18 but when all our new Mouledous friends pop round for a glass of wine and some cashews we hope they’ll be impressed. And perhaps explain where they all used to sleep! Because readers, next Xmas we’ve got our friends the Candys coming to stay and they are the closest thing to Mouledous we know as there are six of them! We may need a bigger goose!

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