My Mistral Worktops & Splash-backs!

Since the reveal of my new kitchen a few weeks ago, I've had LOADS of messages asking me about things that weren't mentioned in that particular post, and one of those things is my beautiful worktops and splashbacks - so let's talk about them today!

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

I actually can't believe that after ten years of living with rotten and broken in parts butchers block worktops, that these beautiful (acrylic-based) surfaces are actually ours - they finish off the kitchen in the best possible way.

Everything that went into the kitchen re-fit of course has a part in the finished look, but the worktops, really are the icing on the cake - they're SO important, and really do set the tone of the entire room.

What I love about the 'Mist' colour that I chose after MUCH deliberation is that it's classic and pale, but interesting, and even I, the Queen of getting bored easily, won't tire of it any time soon.

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

It has a warm pale grey base, with flecks of white and black, and because the flecks are dispersed throughout the full thickness, they give depth and variation in tone. From a distance, the different colours blend into one warm base colour, and it's not until you get closer that you see the detail, which is a really nice surprise. So as I said, pale, but interesting.

Mistral is classed as a solid surface worktop, but unlike some others, it's solid right through, making it a particularly stable product. So no MDF substrate, and therefore no risk of water damage and warping.

The fact that it can be manufactured to be fabricated on site, also makes it a much it a more affordable option than many. No templating required, which again keeps costs down. And did I mention that it's beautiful too?

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

I hadn't realised what a minefield choosing a worktop is until my kitchen refit, or the variety available. It's SO CONFUSING. But Mistral has a load of pros, so I thought I would list them here for you.

• Seamless joints. I have two - one on a work surface, and one on a splashback, and you've got to hunt for it with a magnifying glass to find them which is pretty amazing. They are virtually invisible.

• Same colour and design right through the whole thickness, meaning drainage grooves, undermounted sinks, and edges are not a problem.

• Heat resistant, and non-porous, making it stain resistant and hygienic, and they don't need to be sealed (or re-sealed!).

• Refinishable and repairable. It can be sanded and polished to remove any particularly stubborn stains or scratches, leaving it looking as good as new.

• Chemical, fire and UV resistant. Yep, this stuff is tough.

Mistral truly is a great choice for a hard-working family kitchen like ours. Practical and beautiful as you know, is always of utmost importance. Well, okay, sometimes I just ignore the practical bit for beauty, but with Mistral you don't have to.

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

As I mentioned above, there was a LOT of mind changing before I settled on Mist, which I don't regret one little bit, but I thought I'd share my not so short, shortlist with you too. I love all these colours / designs, and actually would have happily had any one of them...

The quiet, pale and interesting ones...

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

Clockwise from top left: Snowstorm, Polaris, Glacier & Mist

The slightly more attention seeking ones...

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

Clockwise from top left: Orka, Arctic Frost, Winter Drift, Zircona.

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & SplashbacksFrench For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

French For Pineapple Blog - My Mistral Worktops & Splashbacks

So there you go! My kitchen secrets have been revealed. There are a few little bits and pieces that I keep being asked about, like 'that' Disco pot, so I'll put another post up within the next week or two with everything listed and linked, so that everything can be referenced from one post.

This post is in collaboration with Karonia, the makers of Mistral, who I am so thrilled to have been able to work with on my kitchen re-fit. Thank you Karonia!

Revamp Restyle Reveal: My Kitchen Reveal!

When Lisa Dawson, Oliver Thomas and I first started talking about bringing the Revamp Restyle Reveal to life, I had a vague idea that I might do my kitchen. But I thought I'd re-paint the cupboards - I was SO over the dark navy, and MAYBE take down the light-sucking matte black tiles too. Maybe. I'm not actually sure if there was a particular moment when it changed from Revamp, to Refit, but at some point that's what it snowballed into, and before I knew it, I was planning a completely new kitchen. Everything was to change except the floor, the bench seat structure, and the table. In four weeks. Uh-oh!

I *think* the main reason for this, was that the one thing that absolutely HAD to go, was the oven and hob. It was vile. A bizarre set-up where the oven was too tall for the units and worktop, so ridiculously, the previous owner had added a plinth on top to house a a hob. Obviously . I put up with it for TEN YEARS. I can't believe that really, but I became pretty adept at not 'seeing' it. 

But removing it would mean a gap in the tiles, and I didn't like their light sucking qualities enough to find more tiles to fill the gaps, so I decided that they would have to go too.

The cupboards had a fair few coats of paint on them and several were also water damaged. I decided that I really didn't want to put a huge amount of work into stripping them (which would have been needed), given their poor condition. They weren't a standard size though and the carcasses were also on poor condition as were the old rotten butchers block worktops, so they needed to be replace too. You can see how this happened, right?! 

The decorating domino effect was in full, unstoppable swing. And I was EXCITED! And terrified. 

There have been times over the last four weeks when I honestly wished I'd never started, and seriously doubted I'd finish in time. It's been pretty stressful, but it's also been massively satisfying. The stressful bits, unsurprisingly, have been the unexpected hold-ups that were totally out of our control, like gas pipes not being wide enough to accommodate the new range on top of the boiler, the power feed not being adequate for the new range, the plumbing all being in exactly the wrong spot and having to be moved in the eleventh hour, and stock issues that were out of everyone's control, throwing my schedule into a tailspin.

We have done all the work ourselves except the gas, electrics and plumbing. SOME things are best left to the experts. I've felt massively lucky and relieved that I have an excellent electrician who is super reliable - I suspect it all could have gone horribly wrong if it wasn't for that fact.

Anyone that's knows me, has ever read my blog before or follows me on Instagram will know how much I disliked my kitchen, but it really was not on the cards at all to do a re-fit, and if it wasn't for our incredilby generous sponsors it still wouldn't be.

So a massive, sincerely heartfelt thank you to, Maisons du Monde, Amara, Frenchic Furniture Paint and Earthborn Paints. I've used products from each of these companies in the kitchen and am very happy to share all the details with you below.

Okay, enough already of the drawn-out preamble, I know you just want the pretty pics.

But first, a quick reminder of what it used to look like, and what it looked like just four days ago! If you haven't already, you can read about all the things that were wrong with it here.

And here's what it looks like now...

Once the decision was made to do a full refit, I had to think long and hard about exactly what I wanted it to look like. And what was going to be achievable. 

I wanted it to feel open and calm, a bit glam but not over the top. No upper units to make the room feel wider, more storage, and an integrated dishwasher and washing machine. Hiding the ugly boiler, and adding atmospheric wall lights were a must. Things have changed quite a bit along the way, but here's what we did...

Removed all the wall tiles, and made the walls good. No plasterer required.
Ripped out all the old units.
Had the gas and water pipes moved to accommodate the new range and the new units.
Added wall lights on both sides.
Painted. Everything.
Put in new brown/black base units.
Put in three tall white units which I pimped with moulding and then painted to de-swedish super store the whole look.
Added decorative cornicing to the wall above the range.
Added brass handles to all the units.
Stressed a LOT about this being done in time.
Put in a new undermounted sink and tap and new worktops.
Ditched the badly worn and faded palm fabric and replaced it with beautiful green velvet.

Writing it like that makes it seem quite quick and easy, but it definitely hasn't been easy! I'd do it again though, to get the result we have.

Here are the links to all the beautiful products that our lovely sponsors provided me with for this Revamp that turned into a refit...


Frenchic Furniture Paint

Earthborn Paints

Okay, well I for one am KNACKERED, and I'm giving myself a few days off. Please do let me know what you think of my new kitchen in the comments below. I actually can't believe that this is my kitchen! My co-host, the lovely Oliver Thomas is next on the hop, so go and check out his beautiful living room now!


Maisons du Monde

Frenchic Furniture Paint

Earthborn Paints

Here's the full list of links to all the participating bloggers - you don't want to miss out on any of these fab rooms, so make sure you work your way through all of them!

Oliver Thomas, Oliver Thomas Interiors - Living Room Revamp

Kerry Lockwood, Kerry Lockwood In Detail - Girls Bedroom Revamp

Melanie Lissack, Melanie Lissack Interiors - Master Bedroom Revamp

Kate Young, Kate Young Design - Master Bedroom Revamp

Meera Pendred, Arty Home - Living Room Revamp

Dee Campling, Dee Campling Interiors - Boys Bedroom Revamp

Ruth Matthews, Design Soda - Hallway Revamp

Fiona Cameron, Around The Houses - Guest Bedroom Revamp

Kitchen Tweaking

If you're a regular reader, you probably know that I gave our kitchen a good re-vamp last year. I'm still really happy with the transformation and it's SO much better than it was, though I admit that I do dream of ripping it all out and doing that fantasy extension on a daily basis.

One thing that's become really obvious, is that we still don't have enough cupboard space in there. Despite my best de-cluttering efforts which are still ongoing (but then I went and accepted a huge tea set that my father in law wanted to get rid of - all thirty-nine pieces of it! Oops!), we just need more storage space. When the grocery shopping arrives, I really struggle to be able to put it all away. Invariably I end up having to leave a load of stuff out on a worktop, and only when stores dwindle as the week goes on, do I have the space to put everything away. Every week, it's the same old story, and frankly, it drives me nuts.

We tiled an entire wall in matt black Hexagon tiles, and much as I love it as it is, I've come to see this big blank wall as a beautiful, extravagant, waste of space, in a room where we really need all the storage we can get.

Don't worry, I'm not ripping them off! I plan to add two full length open shelves, that will hold the pretties. I've spoken before about not being an open shelving person - I don't want a load of open bags of flour, pasta and nuts on display, or the collection of spreads for that matter, but I do love an open shelf when it houses the pretties! By 'the pretties' of course, I mean the good looking pots and pans, crockery, vases, trays, bowls and glasses. And the tea set. Obvs.

There are so many totally great examples of open kitchen shelving on Pinterest that I just got lost for two hours looking. Here's just a tiny snippet of some of them.

Kitchen Tweaking - Open Kitchen Shelving - French For Pineapple Blog

Image credits (clockwise from top left)

Courtney Bishop Design via House of Turquoise Blog
Melissa Jill Photography via Style Me Pretty
Lena Corwin / Cup of Joe
Better Homes & Gardens

My original plan of solid oak proved too expensive for now, so I'm ordering some cut to size pine which I'll possibly stain and oil. I actually surprised myself by liking the idea of old scaffolding planks for this (rustic is not normally my thing!), but as I want to put plates and large serving dishes on these shelves, scaffolding planks won't be wide enough. I also want to fill the entire length of the wall to the centimetre, so bespoke is the best way for this project.

I've sourced some simple polished brass brackets which will tie in well with the brass cupboard knobs. They'll free up some much needed cupboard space, meaning that I won't struggle so much to keep the kitchen under control and will (hopefully!) easily be able to put the shopping away each week.

 I can't wait to get these babies up and start styling! Stay tuned, I'll show you as soon as they're ready.