‘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

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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’


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’

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