I was quoted £18k to transform my kitchen into stylish shaker space

Quotes for kitchen renovations can be eye-wateringly expensive. 

But when Jill Oliver, 50, a mum-of-two from Durham, was quoted £18,000 to transform her kitchen into an on-trend shaker space, she didn’t let the extortionate price tag put her off.


Jill Oliver, 50, from Durham, was quoted a whopping £18k to transform her kitchen. Pictured, beforeCredit: LatestDeals.co.uk
The savvy homeowner decided to take on the project herself. Pictured, after the impressive transformation


The savvy homeowner decided to take on the project herself. Pictured, after the impressive transformationCredit: LatestDeals.co.uk

Instead, Jill, who works in education, decided to take on the project herself.

Using MDF, colour-matched paint and new handles, her kitchen cost her just £155, saving a fortune. 

“I painted my kitchen in the first lockdown with a dark grey paint as I had seen other people do this but I loved the shaker style kitchens,” said Jill, speaking to Facebook group 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 went on to explain how she started in the bedroom with MDF and made some slim panels from top to bottom behind her bedside cabinets and realised how easy MDF is to work with and cut. 

“I was desperate to do my kitchen 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,” she continued.

“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 mitre saw, just a manual cheap 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. 

Jill, who shares her impressive transformations on her Instagram page @jillyshumblehome, explained that when she added the tops and bottom of the MDF, she kept them a little bit short to create a very small gap.

“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. The sponge roller gives it a nice finish.   

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

“Then I drilled new holes for the doorknobs. Something we did do that you can’t see and it doesn’t change the look but changes the feel is that we replaced the door hinges to soft close hinges so they don’t bang when they close.”

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

Jill spent £30 on the MDF, about £50 for the primer and eggshell paint and about £75 for the new handles and a couple of pounds each for the caulk and adhesive. 

“It’s the best thing I have done to my house,” enthused Jill. “I want people to know they can do this too.

“Obviously saving the money is a huge benefit and that means I have that money to spend somewhere else.

“But what actually means more is how proud I feel of myself, little old me transformed my kitchen!

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, commented “This saving is absolutely amazing, so hats off to Jill.

“After receiving such an expensive quote, many of us would just give up and put up with a kitchen we didn’t love, but not Jill.

“Her creativity, determination and hard work means she got the kitchen of her dreams at a fraction of the price!” 

Jill spent just £155 achieving her desired look


Jill spent just £155 achieving her desired lookCredit: LatestDeals.co.uk
Jill used MDF, colour-matched paint and new handles to give her kitchen a modern update


Jill used MDF, colour-matched paint and new handles to give her kitchen a modern updateCredit: LatestDeals.co.uk

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