House proud

An ex­treme kitchen makeover

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents -

When Maria Nor­berg (be­low) and her hus­band David bought their house in Sh­effield two years ago, the whole thing needed to be ren­o­vated. But, says Nor­berg, the kitchen was the worst. ‘It was tiny, old-fash­ioned and grubby – and it had an aw­ful smell.’

The cou­ple and their son, Bo, who was three at the time, stayed with a friend for a few weeks while the house was gut­ted. Then they lived up­stairs for three months while the kitchen was com­pleted, be­cause, once work be­gan, they dis­cov­ered both the floor and ceil­ing would have to be re­placed. ‘We used a gas burner and a mi­crowave for cook­ing, and the “fridge” was a plas­tic bag hung out of the bed­room win­dow,’ says Nor­berg.

In de­sign­ing the new space, she took in­spi­ra­tion from the open-plan houses of her na­tive Swe­den. They knocked through into the ad­ja­cent sit­ting room to cre­ate room for a cen­tral is­land, in­stalled doors open­ing on to the gar­den and built an ex­ten­sion to cre­ate a din­ing area. White units from How­dens (how­dens.co.uk), warmed up by wooden work­tops, cre­ate a pared-back, mod­ern look. The fit­tings came to around £5,500.

‘Hav­ing builders in our home for months took its toll,’ says Nor­berg, ‘but was worth it.’

‘We put the sofa here, rather than the din­ing ta­ble, which is in the ex­ten­sion [out of shot to the right of the sofa]. That way, when friends come over for din­ner, we can chat while we cook.’ ‘I var­nished the oak work­tops, but it turned them or­ange, so I sanded them and used a clear, nat­u­ral oil to pro­tect them [try os­mouk.com]. It’s durable, less shiny and keeps the colour.’ ‘I re­ally wanted par­quet floor­ing, but our bud­get wouldn’t stretch to it, so we went for this lam­i­nate from B&Q [diy.com]. I wor­ried it’d look fake, but I’m re­ally im­pressed with it.’

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