Mum quoted extortionate £18,000 for stylish shaker kitchen upcycles it herself for a fraction of the price

A mum-of-two who was given an eye-watering quote for a new kitchen has done the job herself and saved a fortune.

Jill Oliver, 50, was quoted a staggering £18,000 to transform her kitchen into an on-trend shaker style.

But as a DIY enthusiast, Jill decided to take on the project herself to avoid spending thousands on the makeover.

Using just MDF, colour-matched paint and buying new handles, the mum-of-two spent just £155 on the renovation.

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Whilst spending just a fraction of the price she was quoted, Jill been left with a gorgeous, modern space in her home.

“I painted my kitchen in the first lockdown with a dark gray paint as I had seen other people do this but I loved the shaker style kitchens,” Jill told DIY On A Budget UK.

“I just followed lots of home accounts and saw different people doing similar things.

“We had quotes a while back and it varied but it would have been something like £12,000 to replace the kitchen and I couldn’t justify that kind of money when I knew I could update the plain doors to a shaker style myself.

“The £12,000 price was from a joiner we have used for years but the bigger companies were much more, some as much as £18,000.”

Jill’s gray kitchen before

Not wanting to give in to the extortionate quote, Jill set out to transform her kitchen by herself

“I was desperate to do my kitchen and after doing the hallway myself I knew I could do it,” she said.

“So I contacted a local timber merchant and asked them to cut a sheet of MDF into 70mm strips, which meant it would cover all the old holes where the handles had been.

“I chose 4mm deep as I tried different depths of MDF and any thicker it would have caught on the door next to it.

“I cut each length with a miter saw, just a cheap manual one. I had to clean with sugar soap, sand, then started sticking on the MDF.

“On each door I glued the sides of the MDF first, using a spirit level to make sure they were straight then the tops and bottoms.”

The stylish new kitchen

Jill went on to explain exactly how she created the shaker style kitchen by revamping her 18-year-old cupboards.

“When I added the tops and bottom of the MDF I kept them a little bit short to create a very small gap as I knew I was going to fill these with caulk to create the shaker style,” she said.

“Once all the MDF was on I then had to caulk all the little gaps.

After this, I primed, then used an eggshell paint. I did three light coats with a sponge roller which gives it a nice finish.

“I used the Valspar v700 eggshell paint for wood and metal. It was color matched to Farrow and Ball Purbeck stone.

“Then I drilled new holes for the doorknobs.”

Inside her upcycled kitchen

The savvy mum says that doing DIY is her ‘therapy’.

“I love to upcycle furniture and have been doing this for years,” says Jill.

“What I think is really important is that the way the economy is going, everything is going up in price and our wages aren’t.

“This is a great way of not spending a fortune and updating your home to a beautiful finish.

“The other thing is we talk about the environment and recycling: well, what a great way to not waste furniture, doors, vases and so on, so it’s better for the environment.

“We are all capable of doing this. If people are frightened to try my advice would be try painting a little piece of furniture first to get used to painting or if you have a spare kitchen cupboard stuck in the loft then have a little practice on that.

“I’m just a working mum and wife who loves her home. My home has actually become my hobby. When I DIY I switch off from the world. It’s my therapy.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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