Here's the inspiration board that I made to pull together the look for the new kitchen. These days I'm all about the technology, but my first boards were made retro-style, with paper, scissors and glue:

You can see a larger version of this image in the Inspiration Board photo gallery.

For years, I had been reading design magazines, ripping out the pictures I liked, and then leaving them to gather dust in a box under the bed, on account of the fact that I moved from one rented flat to another, and had to deal with a succession of landlords who had palpitations at the thought of so much as a drawing pin being stuck in the wall.

So when we finally bought our little house I couldn't wait to haul my dusty old pictures out and put them to good use. I spent hours going through that box, pulling out all the pictures I liked, dividing into piles for the kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms and garden, and then dividing again into piles of pictures I really liked, kind of liked, wasn't sure if I liked, really liked but knew my husband Andre would hate, and so on.

The colour scheme for the kitchen came together really easily. I showed Andre a handful of very different possible kitchens to see which one he liked best. "The red one's all right", he said. All right then - a red kitchen it was. You can see this picture in the bottom right hand corner of the inspiration board.

The next step was to work out what kind of style to go for. I like a rustic vintage look, and Andre likes contemporary. OK then, we'll have contemporary (glossy red units) mixed with vintage/rustic (belfast sink and rustic-look oak flooring). What can I say, sometimes it works not to over-think these things.

Digression - we actually bought the house by following exactly the same process. We were at the very start of our house-choosing process, and I showed Andre some pictures of houses on the internet. "I like the look of that one", he said. I also liked the look of it, so we went to see it that day, put in an offer the next day, and moved in... about six months later cos it took soooooooooo long to get all those surveys undertaken, which are basically identical to the surveys that were undertaken by the people who owned the house before us, which are basically the same as the surveys that were taken by the people who owned the house before them, and so on. We now have fifty years worth of identical surveys sitting heavily in a box on the bookshelf upstairs.

Anyway, I know you are supposed to look at dozens of houses before you put your hand in your pocket and fork out more money than you will probably ever spend on anything else, EVER, unless of course you are Victoria Beckham and regularly drop the price of small houses in Harvey Nicks - but we bought the first house we saw and have never looked back.

For me, an inspiration board is just that - an inspiration for what you eventually create, rather than an example to be copied. But our kitchen pretty much turned out exactly the same as the inspiration board. Glossy red units? Check. Pale blue walls? Check. Belfast sink? Check. Rustic wood? Check. Stainless steel range cooker? Not only check, but we bought the identical model to the one on the right of the mood board.

Here's another photo of the Big Kitchen Installation in progress, with the inspiration board pinned to the wall to keep us going:

And here's a sneaky after photo:

More coming tomorrow!