Moving into a picturesque two-bedroom cottage in Suffolk was the dream for this happy home owner, but the kitchen ideas left a lot to be desired. While the size was good, the units were dated in style with laminate worktops and glossy mosaic tiles.
‘As soon as I walked into this cottage I fell in love,’ says the homeowner. ‘It was cute and quaint, and while it had some modern touches it still had wooden ceiling beams and lots of character, which was the big appeal. While the rest of the house had been modernised, the kitchen I inherited was looking really dated. The bulky appliances were all white and stuck out like a sore thumb, and the worktops and sink didn’t scream “cottage”.’
Modern country kitchen style
‘While I had some budget, I really couldn’t afford to replace the kitchen cabinets, but I love a challenge so I did a few rough drawings and came up with some ideas of ways to make it work for me. Putting pen to paper, I came up with a plan that would involve upcycling the doors with wood, replacing the appliances, worktop and adding some extra character.’
'As soon as I moved in, I arranged to have the overhead extractor removed and the washing machine relocated to the outhouse, which I had already started to use as a laundry room. With the plumber on site, he was able to juggle a few of the pipes, which meant I could also install a narrow dishwasher, and added piping in for a new radiator.’
‘He also made safe the boiler and fitted a cupboard door in front, which would allow easy access should I need it. The electrician was also able to sort out new plug points and confirm that everything was safe and ready for me to start my magic.’
Painted cabinets and timber worktops
‘I wanted the kitchen to feel like a modern country kitchen with an industrial feel. I decided that the only way I could make the cupboard doors feel a little more glamorous would be to paint them – but before doing so, I cut and glued some batons onto the doors to create a more Shaker-style design for added depth and interest.’
‘I love blue so I went with my gut and painted the doors in a dark shade – Hague Blue from Farrow & Ball worked perfectly. Once they had dried and I got a good look at the finished result, I was confident I’d made the right choice.’
‘Limited space meant that appliances couldn’t be moved too much, but the new black fridge really works well and almost looks like another cabinet. I went with a narrow upright radiator as there was just enough space to make it fit.’
Matching kitchen window
‘I matched the walls and window frames to the colour of the painted kitchen units, so the room would feel warm and cosy, but I left the ceiling and beams exposed for the cottage look.’
‘To co-ordinate with the blue, I went for black appliances as I knew they’d blend into the scheme and wouldn’t stick out like the old white appliances. They were a big bulk of my spend, but I shopped around to get the best price.’
Rusted copper splashback
‘Rather than use tiles as a kitchen splashback, I brought an old sheet of rusted panelling from the local reclamation yard, which I then made look even more rustic by using a blow torch to strip it back and adding a coat of oil to seal. It fitted perfectly behind the new wooden worktop and really brought the scheme together.’
‘I don’t do clutter-free living and have lots of bits and bobs, which I want on display, so I cut a few old planks of wood and then fitted some open kitchen shelving. I even attached some hooks to the shelves so I can hang mugs and ensure there’s plenty of space for all my essentials. Initially, I wanted to replace the flooring, but once everything started to come together it didn’t look out of place – plus the quarry tiles are original, so they add to the feel of the room.’
Painted china cabinet
‘To tie in with the splashback, I fitted the cabinet doors with some brass cup handles and then found an old fold-down table that fitted neatly on the blank wall and is big enough to accommodate the times when I have people over to eat. I found an old shelving unit that fits neatly in front of the boiler cupboard and it’s easy to move it if I need to.’
‘I’m a fan of giving something unloved a new lease of life and the table and cabinet are a prime example of this. The shelving was a quick paint job, while the kitchen table just needed a quick rub down, wax and new hinges before it was ready to go.’
Black sink and tap
‘While the kitchen sink was from Appliances Direct, they didn’t have a tap that I really liked, so I found this elegant swan-neck mixer on eBay for under £80. It has some height and is brilliant for controlling the splashing when washing-up.’
‘I think by the time the new kitchen appliances arrived it was about six weeks, and the kitchen was finally ready. I finished off by styling the room with lots of wooden, glass and brass accessories, and I couldn’t be prouder of how well the kitchen has turned out. It’s just how I imagined.’
‘It’s amazing how much of a change the paint colour made to the room – and the makeover has given the kitchen the modern country cottage feel that I wanted.’
Get the look
Additional words Zoe Bishop
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Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.
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