We had the fantastic opportunity to design and install an entire vintage kitchen for Scaramanga’s director and founder, Carl and his wife Emma. So we thought we would share our experiences and top tips for a perfect vintage kitchen and dining area. If you are looking to really stamp your style and personality onto your kitchen and you are inspired by vintage or modern rustic interiors, our insider tips will deliver all you need to know to create your own dream kitchen.
The first stage was to remove the old kitchen cupboards, which they were able to sell on eBay. We moved the water pipes and sink and dishwasher wastes pipes, so it’s worth allowing an amount in your budget for moving pipes and electrical wiring and even lifting floor boards / plasterboard.
Carl and Emma wanted colour and character infused into their kitchen, along with something unsual, but functional. Their existing kitchen was fitted a year before they moved into the late Georgian stone house in a rural village just north of Edinburgh and they felt it just did not work with their own style. Naturally, they chose original vintage kitchen cupboards and cabinets from Scaramanga.
They wanted an original old Belfast sink and brass mixer taps. The cupboard below the sink was custom made by Claws Joinery, using two small antique doors reclaimed from an old Indian window. If you are unable to buy a cupboard or cabinet to fit a specific space, consider having it custom made using reclaimed wood or repurposed furniture. Emma said, ‘it was a little daunting, removing the old kitchen and going for something totally unique, but we love the colour and quirkiness’.
They had been living in the house for several years before they decided they wanted to completely change the space to a vintage kitchen style. Emma was determined that the old white fitted cupboards and drawers were removed and replaced with antique cupboards and cabinets. They looked for pieces that were roughly the same height and depth, but because old wooden cupboards were unique there were differences in heights widths and depths, which added to the individuality of the whole kitchen.
Of course, a fitted kitchen is a relatively recent invention (post WWII) so to fit an entire kitchen with antique or vintage cupboards may mean going for free standing furniture. Although we were able to stand several cupboards together, you tend to lose space. We fitted extra shelves into a broom cupboard and turned it into a larder for storing tins, packets and jars of food. For the walls, Carl and Emma chose three off-white glass fronted vintage cabinets from India that were originally used as shop display cabinets. These were then filled with colourful vintage tins.
Don’t forget floors! Wood and stone are attractive choices as they give an authentic warm look. Nowadays, the patterning, texture and colours of ceramic tiles that are made to look like natural materials are so realistic it can be hard to tell them from the real thing. They are even more in demand with their relatively low prices and easy care. A patterned floor can transform a bathroom when other surfaces are plain. Remember to add 10% contingency to your budget for unexpected costs such as making good after removing tiles or positioning pipes.
Carl and Emma bought an antique extending French oak table from a local antique dealer at Pine Lodge Auctions, in Fife. The two industrial benches were repurposed from old wire mesh lockers, by commissioning a local blacksmith to make an iron frame with legs – Scaramanga have several industrial benches available
The walls were painted a very neutral Cookie Dough emulsion by Dulux and the far wall was covered in a coloured tropical inspired wallpaper by Cole and Cole for Habitat.
For fittings, use recommended expert tradesmen. Ensure that they are fully insured, get written quotes for every aspect of the work required and let the workmen know the schedule of works they are to adhere to. Carl and Emma changed the recessed halogen lights for original green factory pendants with twisted braided cord. The dishwasher and sink were moved 75cm, requiring a plumber services for half a day.
We were able to mix original vintage and antique fittings and interiors with quality reproduction fittings. The couple chose oak worktops to go with the units and reclaimed Belfast sink, adding a retro Smeg fridge freezer. The feature wallpaper was a limited edition wall covering from Habitat. The floor tiles were replaced with linoleum, which is warmer underfoot.
it’s all about size. If space is tight, use compact fittings designed to save those valuable inches and still give a open airy feeling. A sleek, uncluttered look will increase the sense of space. Wall cabinets and hidden storage will keep the floor area clear. Slimline tall cabinets will allow you to store more.
Do not be afraid to try something different. Emma chose a striking blue vintage armoire, which are usually better suited to a bedroom, but it works well storing plates, bowls, mugs and glasses. Now, they cannot imagine the kitchen without it!
Think about which style you would like, what will fit and will meet your budget. Do not rush into starting. Look online with style publications, stores, blogs and Pinterest as well as interiors and lifestyle magazines. Visit showrooms to give you an idea of their size and when it comes to buying, many retailers will match online sellers.
Do your research and decide what works for you in the kitchen. Avoid fitting a kitchen with all the latest trends, unless you plan to update your kitchen every few years as it could look out of date quite quickly. And do not be afraid to use the services of an interior designer for inspiration and help sourcing either fixtures, fittings, wall-coverings and more! We would recommend reading Sooz Gordon’s blog: How To Make A House A Home.
Belfast sinks: try Holyrood Architectural in Edinburgh
Vinyl and lino floorcovering, Millars Flooring
Original Coolicon pendant lamp shades Drew Pritchard
Try 30 Something Lighting for a selection of original and reproduction lighting
Claws Joinery: call Chris Laws 07788 636819