With no op­tion to change the lay­out, clever ideas were re­quired to in­crease the amount of stor­age in the U-shaped room

House Beautiful (UK) - - Contents -

Mak­ing a small kitchen big­ger

Alexan­dra Greig, 46, lives with hus­band Guy, 48, and their chil­dren Han­nah, 14, and Jamie, 10, in a Vic­to­rian house in Hert­ford where the kitchen needed up­dat­ing

What was your kitchen like be­fore the ren­o­va­tion?

It was scruffy, didn’t have enough work­top or stor­age space and had def­i­nitely seen bet­ter days. I do lots of cook­ing so I needed a bet­ter or­gan­ised and equipped room that could also work as a fam­ily space where we could all gather. The kitchen’s the main route to the gar­den, and as we have chil­dren and two Bas­set Hounds, it needed to be easy to keep clean!

Where did you start?

We looked at ev­ery­thing from be­spoke de­signs to the DIY shed kitchens, but couldn’t find what I was look­ing for. I wanted some­thing neu­tral that would be able to link the kitchen and din­ing ar­eas. Then some­one rec­om­mended The Hert­ford­shire Kitchen Co Ltd, who seemed to know ex­actly what I was look­ing for. Their designer vis­ited us at home, then we went to the show­room to look at sam­ples, talked through our ideas and lis­tened to the designer’s sug­ges­tions be­fore de­cid­ing on a painted range.

Did the room need much of a re­design?

As I wanted to keep our Smeg stain­less steel range cooker – it was fairly new and I liked cook­ing on it – we couldn’t change the lay­out too much, and the din­ing space had al­ready been ex­tended so no build­ing work was needed. The old kitchen was ripped out and the wooden floor re-sanded and re-oiled. Once the walls in both the kitchen and the fam­ily/din­ing area were painted, new units were fit­ted. We reused the but­ler’s sink, blinds and pen­dant lights, which helped the budget.

Tell us about the lay­out

We wanted more space and the designer came up with some great ideas, such as mak­ing the base units a lit­tle less deep. This meant the wooden floor needed re­pair­ing in the newly ex­posed ar­eas, but luck­ily there were some spare floor­boards in our garage, which were in good enough con­di­tion to use. The wall units are also taller, al­most to the ceil­ing, giv­ing ad­di­tional stor­age. We fit­ted a large larder fridge and dish­washer, which are both in­te­grated to keep the run uni­form. Luck­ily the pre­vi­ous own­ers had in­stalled the wash­ing ma­chine and freezer in the base­ment, so the re­main­ing cup­boards could be used for stor­age.

What drew you to this kitchen style?

I was look­ing for some­thing light, re­laxed and sim­ple and chose the Mid­somer range in a Stone Grey painted fin­ish, with open shelves and a wine rack in a textured wood fin­ish to pro­vide dec­o­ra­tive in­ter­est. The walls were painted in a sim­i­lar grey-green shade and we went for metro tiles with grey grout to bring the scheme to­gether. White solid-sur­face work­tops and up­stands are easy to clean and help to make the most of the light.

The designer sug­gested hav­ing a bit of fun and fit­ting a colour­chang­ing un­der-cab­i­net light sys­tem, which we can con­trol through our Ama­zon Alexa – I’m just get­ting the hang of it, but it’s the ex­act quirky fac­tor I was af­ter!

Were there any hic­cups?

The whole pro­ject was re­mark­ably smooth! Any prob­lems were over­come eas­ily, the whole kitchen ar­rived as or­dered and ac­tu­ally came in un­der our £16,000 budget.

What’s your favourite thing in the room?

Apart from the whole kitchen, I love my noticeboard wall, and this one was made by cov­er­ing the wall in chalk­board paint and then fit­ting sal­vaged cast iron stair ris­ers and a grate. I find that, for a busy fam­ily, some­where for us to put notes, meal plans and end­less bits of pa­per is a must!

WALLS As they’re painted a sim­i­lar French grey shade to the units, the space feels big­ger

SIM­PLE STOR­AGE Taller wall units with plenty of open shelv­ing cre­ate a sense of space

TA­BLE Colours picked from the cow print are used to dress the eight­seater ta­ble WALLS The same Hard­wick White by Far­row & Ball is used on the walls in the din­ing space, which helps the two ar­eas flow ART­WORK Kev McCoo by Steven Brown pro­vides a...

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