‘i took time to Plan my Perfect kitchen’
Carolyn, 44, transformed two dark, cramped and dated rooms into a dazzling and sleek kitchen-diner with modern, vibrant touches
Carolyn Clayton’s patience paid off when planning her modern kitchen
In 2004, I was renting a two-bed place locally but with two young boys, Shannon (now 25), and Leon, I needed more room,' says Carolyn. 'I found a house that was dated and needed redecorating, but it had the space we wanted and a good-sized garden.
At first, I rented it from the council while studying for a degree in computer science, but after I graduated and began to work, I bought the house in 2007. I redecorated it throughout, then saved up for a bathroom suite. Next, I had a new driveway laid and an office built on the side of the house. Lastly, it was time to tackle the kitchen.
Starting to plan
I work from home and had been using the dining room as my office. My plan was to knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room to create a kitchen-diner, so I had to build a proper office on the side of the house leading off the kitchen before I could embark on the project. I collected snippets of designs I liked from magazines and the internet, laying them together on a board and rearranging them to see what worked best. It took me three years to plan my new room, because I needed to save the money and I wanted to get it just right. In the end, my sons said in desperation: “Just get on with it, Mum!”
I selected a local company after getting two quotes from fitters online. The office was built first, then the kitchen started in December 2014. There were, however, hitches along the way – poor fittings and finishes, materials in the wrong sizes, the sink having to be re-installed after being incorrectly located – so the kitchen wasn’t fully completed until June 2015. I was able to use it to cook Christmas dinner in
2014, so that was something, but it was a huge relief when it was finally finished.
Deciding on the design
i was set on having a breakfast bar for quick meals and coffee breaks, rather than having to use the dining table. Plus it's a place for my boys, friends and family to perch and chat to me as i cook. Unlike in the old kitchen, i incorporated plenty of worktop space and storage in units and drawers. the appliances are integrated and all electrics are boxed for a seamless look.
i went for a dark wood-effect worktop to contrast with the light decor and white hi-gloss units and had underfloor heating installed beneath the tiles, because the old floors were freezing cold in winter.
to display my collection of fun, brightcoloured items to best effect, i chose a neutral palette for the units, walls and floor. i finished the scheme with lime green accessories but i’ll change them when i tire of the colour and fancy a new look. right now, i'm so happy with the overall result – it was well worth the wait.’
‘If you’re limited on worksurface space, consider a wall-mounted microwave – I find It easier to use when It’s at eye level’
TOTAL £2,218 TURN OVER FOR MY SHOPPING LIST
FEELING COSY ‘Underfloor heating means the space is warm and welcoming, even on the most bitter of winter mornings’ style tip Ôchoose white hi-gloss units if you want a kitchen thatõs easy to keep clean Ð they show dirt quickly and only need a quick wipeõ
SPACED OUT ‘The new layout has plenty of drawers and units for storage’
Dining out ‘I designed the meals area and breakfast bar so that they overlook the back garden’
sleek and stylish ‘I offset the white units with cream walls and a dark wood-effect worktop’
sitting pretty ‘My ceramic sculptures add an unusual finishing touch’