An extreme kitchen makeover
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.’