My Gumtree House – Kitchen Make-over On A Budget

So you’ve seen my Gumtree bathroom. But that is quite a small project compare to this one. I have to admit, looking back at this, I am completely astounded at what we were able to achieve here.

We were renovating an old farmhouse, and when it came to the kitchen I realized that my budget was going to be blown out of the water. Kitchens are notoriously expensive because they are customized to the space. I simply didn’t have the money to have a fitted kitchen, so I started scouring Gumtree for a possible solution.

When a home-owner upgrades their kitchen, they either sell it online or they give it to the contractor to get rid of – either way, these used kitchens usually end up on Gumtree.

kitchen to be

My kitchen requirements were fairly simple: I wanted to have an L-shaped counter space along 2 of the walls, with top-level cabinets above them on 1 wall and a single drawer unit to go next to the oven. I also needed 3 or 4 doors to go into the sink unit in the scullery. In terms of style, I thought that something a bit more traditional with a simple profile would be nice since were creating a farm kitchen. Pot-drawers and spice racks and things were really a nice-to-have and I decided that if I could find them it would be a bonus. I measured the walls and then started my search – every day for about a month. And then eventually, I found something that could work: someone was selling 9 lower cabinets in 3 sets of 3 doors, with 6 matching upper cabinets over it and a drawer pedestal. I was ecstatic – it was perfect! And even better was that they wanted R3000 for it. I double-checked the measurements and then immediately arranged for pick-up.

Keep in mind, while these units were in a good condition, they were finished in an unfashionable light wood laminate with terrible plastic handles. But the profile on the doors and the overall size was exactly what I wanted. A couple of coats of melamine primer, soft grey matt waterbased enamel and some new hardware later, and they looked brand new and awesome.

hardware update

Configuring the cabinets posed a bit of a challenge, especially at the corner. But with a bit of planning, a skilled handyman (thanks, Dad!) and a host of helping hands thanks to our amazing families we sorted it out (that’s my dad and my sister in the picture by the way!).

prep & install

The tops are Butcher Block Pear from PG Bison and really add to the farmhouse feel we wanted.

counter measures

I added some shelves for cook books in the empty corner and our by now famous printed tile splash backs to complete the look. Click here for the tutorial. 2 butcher blocks provide more works space and the table was the one in our kitchen when I grew up.

new old kitchen

I am still completely loving our kitchen but there are a few things to keep in mind when you want to do this. Here are my top 6 tips for buying a kitchen on Gumtree:

1.Measure, measure, measure. Cutting down a cabinet is almost impossible but you can always hide a gap in the corner like we did with shelves or by extending the counter top.

2. The carcasses of the units are very important – make sure that they are in an excellent condition.

3. Make sure that the hardware is good. While door closers and drawer guides can always be replaced, they are quite expensive so take that into account when you make your final offer.

4. Don’t be concerned with the finish, but make sure that you are happy with the profile, style and shape of the cabinet doors.

5. Updating the drawer pulls and door handles are really simple, even if it’s not the same size as the existing ones. Remove the old handles and fill the holes before you re-finish the units. Then drill new holes and install the new hardware.

6. While  I am sure you can buy used counter-tops as well, they will need to fit perfectly. We bought new ones for very little by opting for post-form tops.

Happy kitchen hunting on Gumtree!


Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.