Goodbye 1987

The time has finally come to say goodbye to 1987.

Current kitchen – installed in 1987


It has served us well over the past 3 years that we’ve lived at our house, and I’m sure it served the previous owners for the 29 before that. It’s a quality kitchen with all the mod-cons for a glamorous 80’s lifestyle, complete with warming drawer and even a wall mounted toaster! Which I can honestly say I’ve never seen before, and will probably never see again. It has certainly stood the test of time, being in immaculate condition, and as good as the day it was installed.

But as most things in life, all good things come to an end, and in 2019 this house makes way for a new type of luxury – a modern kitchen.

Grey Family Kitchen traditional-kitchen

This kitchen by Tom Howley is probably as close to a perfect kitchen as they come. It’s fresh, contemporary yet traditional, and just oozes quality. I love the color of the cabinets and the light flooring, and the warmth added by the wood. With a little bit of glam added by the sparkling polished nickel hardware. It’s everything I love – it’s a little rustic with the wood, it’s definitely country with the traditional inset door cabinets, and it’s very chic. There’s just one problem, Tom Howley kitchens are based in Manchester, UK, and our house is in Minnesota, USA, just a few 1000 miles away. So I began the hunt for a similar style…

White Painted Inset Cabinets kitchen-cabinetry

That’s when I found Cliqstudios. I actually happened upon them via a Facebook ad in my feed, and when I had a look at their site I found that they did in fact have the inset door style that I liked. After searching quite a few online kitchen retailers and big box stores, I found that Cliqstudios had a niche in their offering of the inset door style. So I ordered a sample and was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the door. They’re 3/4″ solid wood with 2 1/4″ mortise & tenon joints, and the paint is thick and lustrous. Funnily enough they’re actually based in Edina, MN but are purely an online retailer with the cabinets being made in Indiana and because they’re sold factory direct and online they’re 40% cheaper than most similar cabinets you can buy on the high street. And the best bit? We ordered ours today!

I have to say I was a little nervous about ordering cabinets online. But we had a great designer who we called and emailed frequently to get us to our final layout. He also had the patience of a saint, having started the original enquiry about 2 years prior to actually ordering the cabinets, and going through many, many revisions. But we’ve arrived at the best layout for our needs now and we’re really excited about seeing them in situ in a few weeks time.

Kitchen Moodboard
Mock-up of the new kitchen

If you can ignore the terrible PowerPoint skills to make this mock-up, you can get a feel for what the end result is going to look like. We’ve chosen light grey inset cabinet doors with exposed hinges to get that old English handmade cabinet feel. We’ve added touches of warmth with a French Oak engineered hardwood floor, and a light oak distressed beam. And the glam is provided by the polished nickel hardware, faucet and show stopping crystal halo chandelier.

Kitchen Moodboard 3
Mock-up of new kitchen

Here’s the moodboard:

Kitchen Moodboard 2

And a close up of the samples:


We’re using Eternal Calacatta Gold quartz by Silestone, and Austin Urban Stone painted doors in the kitchen, Carbon in the bar area, with polished nickel solid brass hardware by Emtek and Baldwin. The floor is Vintage French Oak by Lumber Liquidators.

Stay tuned for the gradual reveal as we go through 6 weeks of chaos to get to the end result.

Thanks for reading, until next time,


High-End Modern Bathroom on a Budget

A high-end modern bathroom shouldn’t cost the Earth. In this post learn how I used savvy shopping, some IKEA hacking, and a bit of creativity to remodel this master bathroom in under $13k.

The Bathroom Before

The master bathroom in our house was probably the worst room in the house. It was cramped, dated and well-worn.

The bathroom was separate from a small dressing area adjacent to it, making the bathroom a very small room. We decided to knock through the two rooms to make one larger room.


If you want some tips on what not to do when renovating a bathroom read my blog on ‘6 things to avoid when remodeling a bathroom‘. The bathroom stayed in this state for the next 12 months, far from ideal.

Remodeled Bathroom

Eventually we got there…

Modern bathroom remodel
Modern bathroom remodel
High-end vanity hack using IKEA Godmorgon

We moved the sink area further along the wall into the old dressing area where it was recessed to make more space in the new bathroom. In the area where we used to have the sink we managed to fit a tall storage cupboard from IKEA. The wall-hung vanity was also from IKEA. We added our own handles to these units to make them look a little more custom.

IKEA vanity hack - high-end look for less
Live edge countertop and Kohler sinks

We used a piece of live edge oak as the countertop for the vanity to customize the basic IKEA unit and make it look much more high-end than the standard countertop that it comes with. We also used Kohler sinks instead of the IKEA sinks, again to make it feel more high-end.

High-end modern faucet by Grohe

Grohe wall-mounted faucets add a touch of luxury, instead of having standard vanity mounted faucets.

We saved money by using the IKEA cabinets, but upgraded the look by opting for high-end sinks and faucets. I love the contrast of the minimalist white high gloss cabinets with the rustic live edge oak countertop. They are two materials you wouldn’t expect to go together, but they compliment each other so well and make the bathroom feel rustic country chic.

I used an over-the-top Rococo style mirror to contrast with the rustic oak countertop and sleek modern cabinetry. After hours of trawling through the internet for the perfect mirror, I realized that I already had the perfect mirror leaning against the wall in our bedroom. This mirror was bought in the UK as a leaner mirror for our dressing area, yet it looks so perfect hung on the wall above the vanity.

The vanity lights are modern like the cabinetry and the polished chrome ties in well with the faucets and shower, and contrasts against the opulent mirror.

Herringbone floor tiles

I chose fairly traditional tiling in wood effect herringbone and stone effect porcelain large format tiles in the shower, for easy maintenance. We bought the shower tiles from a discount tile shop (Kate Lo), they were end of line so greatly reduced at just $5 per sq ft. To add a high-end feel to the shower we accented the tiles with real marble hexagon mosaics on the floor and tile pencils around the shelves, with added sparkle from Fired Earth glass mosaics from The Tile Shop that compliment the natural stone and porcelain tiles.

Tiled shower floor

The mosaics were expensive, but using them sparingly in this way means you achieve a luxury look for less.

Tiled shower niche

We used a rain-head shower in conjunction with a hand-held. The actual shower heads are from, where we managed to save considerable money over the named brand equivalents. However we bought the shower controls from Grohe (Eurocube). We saved money where we could, with the shower heads, where they can be easily replaced, but the important things like the shower controls we spent a little more.

I chose solid brass fittings with a polished chrome finish. I would highly recommend brass, as it feels so much more solid, heavier and higher quality than other metals. You know that it will last well too.

Frameless glass shower door

The shower door is frameless glass with chrome hardware. It was only around $450 from Glass Warehouse and has the same look as much more expensive custom doors that were around $1500. Well worth buying and either installing yourself or getting an installer to do it. They come in increments of 1/4″ so will fit most situations.

Before and after

List of products:

Thanks for reading! I hope you like the end result of this high-end modern bathroom project on a budget just as much as we do. If you like this and want more home makeover tips, follow my blog below.

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Jo @britflipper