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