Kirsty McLuckie: Calamity in the kitchen

Households in Britain apparently replace their fitted kitchens on average about every 15 years, whether that is because of personal taste and changing fashions, or wear and tear taking their toll on items that are subject to heavy use.

A handmade bespoke kitchen will last a lifetime, whereas budget-buy cabinets will start to show signs of distress very quickly.

And while some trusty appliances last forever, if you have a full set of white goods that are more than a decade old and still in perfect working order, you should probably count yourself lucky.

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We have a fitted kitchen dating from 2006, which is definitely past its best-by-date.

Illustration: Adobe StockIllustration: Adobe Stock
Illustration: Adobe Stock

The expensive Smeg refrigerator – once my pride and joy – has a broken ice box with its door Blu-tacked permanently shut, although the fridge part still works fine.

Only one of the two ovens on the cooker is currently operational, and the spark to light the gas hob has given up the ghost.

We are on to our third dishwasher in 16 years, but still this newest model requires a special knack – a sort of hip bump in the exactly the right place – in order to shut the door and prevent leaks.

But all of these minor inconveniences can be lived with, it is the actual kitchen units and the worktops that are the real problem.

Last week, a whole unit just fell on the floor after the legs gave way under the weight of its contents.

And recently a wall cupboard door detached and dropped on my head while I was cooking dinner for friends.

It was absolutely hilarious for almost everyone present.

Our wooden worktops turned out to be a mistake, especially around the sink where a decade and a half of splashes have stained them beyond all scrubbing.

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As a result, the whole kitchen looks tatty, and with this Christmas the first in three years where we will be able to have guests, either because of restrictions or infections, it is time to take action.

Unfortunately, I have failed to put aside savings for a whole new kitchen. estimates that the average price for such a remodelling is £10,550 – about £10K more than our current budget allows.

While I can tighten up screws and replace plastic legs for overloaded units, it is the chipped doors and drawer fronts that are really letting the side down.

Researching cheap kitchen makeovers, I’ve decided against the highly popular vinyl wrapping, which looks like it could go terribly wrong in the hands of someone inept – such as me, I never could master sticky-back plastic.

Painting the units is my only option, and after watching numerous how-to videos and getting myself fully tooled up, I plan to take a week off to get the job done.

But I am nothing if not self-aware and, going on past experience, I realise the likely result which will greet visitors this festive season.

Place your bets on one perfectly painted and fitted cabinet door, one detached half-painted cabinet door and the rest looking as they always have.

Time to start saving for a professional new kitchen – which should only take about 15 years.

- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman