‘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

House Beautiful (UK) - - CONTENTS -

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

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