A savvy mother-of-two who was quoted £5,000 for a new kitchen has told how she gave it a modern makeover herself for just £144.
Laura Vaatstra, 30, from Cardiff, was quoted an eye-watering £5,000 by professionals – and that didn’t even include labour or any floor and wall tiles.
The customer service advisor, who lives with her fiancé Ben and their two sons, took matters into her own hands and spent just £144 transforming the dated kitchen into a stunning grey and pastel-toned space herself.
The magic materials included £48 Fablon from eBay, a £30 stencil and £36 of Frenchic paint.
‘I’d started off the year by getting a quote for a new kitchen which was around £5,000 – this didn’t include labour or any floor and wall tiles,’ said Laura, speaking to money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
Laura Vaatstra, 30, from Cardiff, was quoted an eye-watering £5,000 for a new kitchen – and that didn’t even include labour or any floor and wall tiles. Pictured, before the transformation
The mum-of-two took matters into her own hands and spent just £144 transforming the dated kitchen into a stunning grey and pastel-toned space herself. Pictured, after the transformation
The customer service advisor, who lives with her fiancé Ben and their two sons (pictured), took matters into her own hands and spent just £144 transforming the dated kitchen into a stunning grey and pastel-toned space herself
‘This was out of our price range so after seeing so many people transform their kitchens on a budget, I decided to give it a go myself.
Laura says that she’d never used Fablon before, painted cupboards or never used a stencil, so it was all very new to her.
‘I started off by removing all the old handles from the doors,’ she explained. ‘I filled the existing holes and sanded them. I then cleaned all the cupboard doors inside and out with sugar soap and sanded them lightly.
‘Once they were prepped I started with the first, very light layer of the Frenchic Duckling paint. The advice given by Frenchic is to leave two hours between each coat.
Laura used a whole host of materials – including everything from £48 Fablon from eBay, a £30 stencil and £36 of Frenchic paint. Pictured, before the transformation
Laura told how she’s never used Fablon before, never painted cupboards and never used a stencil before – adding it was all very new to her. Pictured, the kitchen after the transformation
‘I’d bought a round brush to use as it helps with the brush strokes. Once the first, second and third coats had been applied to all the cupboards, which took a few days as I could only paint when my one and three-year-old boys were in bed, I used a drill for the first time and put in the holes needed for the new handles.
‘Once the new handles were on, I tackled the Fablon. I cleaned the countertops thoroughly and did one piece at a time.
‘I’d bought one long roll (about seven metres) so that I would have as little joins as possible.
‘The easiest way I found when applying the Fablon is to have two people – one to pull the paper off and one to smooth out the air bubbles as you go.
‘Considering I’d never done it before, it was a lot easier than I was expecting to apply. And I’m very impressed with how it’s lasting so far. Unless you look very closely, it’s easy to think that I replaced the worktop with wood.’
Laura added that next up was the floor – the part she knew would make the biggest difference to the kitchen and the part she was most excited about starting.
Laura said that once the new handles were on, she tackled the Fablon (pictured), cleaned the countertops thoroughly and did one piece at a time
Laura said the floor was the part she knew would make the biggest difference to the kitchen and the part she was most excited about starting. Pictured, before the transformation
Laura used Frenchic paint and said the advice given was to leave two hours between each coat. Pictured, the kitchen floor after just one coat
‘I cleaned the floor with sugar soap but didn’t sand this time as the tiles are fairly textured anyway,’ she explained. ‘I put masking tape around the newly painted plinth and then used my Frenchic brush to paint the first coat of the Cream Dream paint.
‘I won’t lie – it looked awful after the first coat as it needs to be very light. I waited two hours between each coat again and it took me about two days as I could only do it in the evenings.
‘Once the cream was done with the five coats, it was left for about a week due to illness and my 30th birthday, so once it was ready for stenciling, I cleaned it again with sugar soap.
‘I started in the middle of my kitchen floor and alternated the stencil so as to make sure that I wasn’t touching the tile I’d just done. I used masking tape to keep the stencil in place and used a face painting sponge with very little paint on to avoid any bleeding.’
Once the full-sized tiles were done, Laura started around the edges which she says were ‘a bit tricky but not impossible.’
‘I left the very tricky parts to the end (around the appliances and right in the corner) and then cut the stencil to make it easier,’ she explained.
‘I really enjoyed the stencilling and am so happy with how it turned out – it saved me a few hundred pounds as I had planned on laying new tiles!
‘With the paint, it’s best to use it like you’re running out – very thin layers. There’s plenty of YouTube videos showing how best to apply the Fablon and use a sponge for the stencil with the least possible paint – dip it in the paint and then onto kitchen roll. This should stop any bleeding.
Laura (pictured) is overjoyed with how her kitchen turned out – especially considering it cost just £144 instead of the £5,000 she had been quoted
The mum-of-two was impressed by the difference after adding a third coat to the kitchen floor
In total, Laura spent £144 on the whole kitchen. The Fablon cost £48 from eBay, the new handles were £30 from Amazon, the paint for the cupboards and the floor cost £36 from a local Frenchic stockist and the stencil cost £30 from Dizzy Duck Designs
She added: ‘In total, I spent £144 on the whole kitchen. The Fablon cost £48 from eBay, the new handles were £30 from Amazon, the paint for the cupboards and the floor cost £36 from a local Frenchic stockist and the stencil cost £30 from Dizzy Duck Designs.
‘The cupboards took about three days and the floor about six. I could only paint in the evenings though due to my little boys being about. The Fablon was done in about six hours.’
Laura is overjoyed with how her kitchen turned out – especially considering it cost just £144 instead of the £5,000 she had been quoted.
‘I was over the moon,’ she adds. ‘I thought it would look nice when I pictured it in my head but it turned out so much better.
‘The feedback from friends and family and people on social media has been amazing. The fact that I was able to do it myself and it only cost £144 was a massive bonus!’
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, commented: ‘Laura has managed to get an expensive-looking kitchen for a mere fraction of what she was quoted!
‘This amazing transformation just proves that you really don’t need to spend thousands to get your house looking Pinterest-worthy.
‘Budget-friendly materials such as Fablon and Frenchic paint, and affordable finishes such as handles, can really make all the difference.’