‘I LOVE THE PALETTE OF DARK BLUE AND COPPER’ Clever space planning opened up a galley kitchen, averting the need for a costly extension
Clever space planning has opened up this galley kitchen and averted the need for a costly extension
Katie Lee, a photographer, and Kevin Waddell, a designer, both 46, live with their twin daughters Lily and Anna, nine, in a threebedroom Edwardian house in Earsdon, Whitley Bay
What was wrong with the old space?
The kitchen and dining area were two separate rooms. It wasn’t very comfortable or family friendly – the fridge wasn’t near the cooker, and I hated cooking in there away from everybody.
Where did you start?
We considered an extension, but the architect’s plans were pretty uninspiring and didn’t give us a huge amount of extra space, as there’s only a small yard at the rear. When I met interior designer Cathy Dean on a photoshoot and emailed her the plans, she opened up my eyes to what was possible. She said we were better off spending our money reconfiguring the ground floor.
How did Cathy help you re-plan the space?
Her suggestion was to knock down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, block up the opening from the dining room to the living room and create a new hallway with sliding pocket doors. This gave us space for a built-in bench seating area and a desk where I can work from home. Although our budget wouldn’t stretch to Cathy’s original plans that incorporated bifold doors leading to a new courtyard area, she’s made the space work so much harder.
Tell us about the kitchen design…
I didn’t want to feel hemmed in by lots of wall cupboards. I’m also a big fan of TV architect Piers Taylor, who loves using plywood, so I wanted that material incorporated somewhere. Cathy showed me three moodboards – I loved the one that featured a simple palette of dark blue and copper, even though it was nothing like the light, boho look I’d originally envisaged. The geometric floor tiles were gorgeous and really got me excited. To save money, Cathy used Ikea carcasses and got a carpenter to make bespoke door fronts.
What about storage?
I wanted a minimalist feel, so we have loads of storage. I saw similar bench seating on a TV show – ours has two tall cupboards on either side, which are full of our daughters’ craft things, while the storage underneath is my ‘halfway’ cupboard. Anything in there that doesn’t get used for two months goes to the charity shop. Cathy also designed sliding doors that conceal the old chimney breast and a TV, as well as providing storage for my photography equipment.
Were there any hiccups?
When the walls were being pulled down, we got a nightmare phone call to say the first floor was being held up by thin pieces of wood, which meant we’d need new steel beams that cost thousands of pounds more. Luckily, we’d moved into a flat for several months while the work was being done, so Cathy project-managed everything and it wasn’t as stressful as it could’ve been.
Is there anything you’d change?
The floor stripe was supposed to be a straight line, but the tiles chipped when they were cut, so we had to leave them whole. I sometimes wish the bench seat was slightly wider for comfort, but everything else is perfect.
Would you recommend using an interior designer?
It’s the best decision we made. Cathy handled everything, so there were no cross words with my husband! She also has access to reliable professionals, knows the best materials to use and has an amazing eye for detail. I was pleasantly surprised by the cost too.
SHELVING It took the homeowner Katie nearly a year to find the perfect wire shelving for her new kitchen – this is from The Farthing
WALLSPainting the walls and base units the same dark blue has created a seamless feeling of understated glamour
DRAWER FRONTSThe etched diamond design adds a smart geometric element that works well with the floor tiles
WORKSPACEA redundant nook has been used as an office area with a built-in desk and shelving