A freestanding kitchen had long been the dream for the owner of this 1950s detached villa in Belfast. ‘As the boys were getting older I was keen to have a large family space where we could all spend quality time together.’ With their existing home lacking the room for their family, the owners started looking for a new, bigger house to be their forever home – one with the potential to extend. They spotted a place that had everything they were looking for – including a large south-facing garden with room to extend.
The kitchen had, in fact, already been extended, but it was still not big enough. So five weeks after the owners moved in they began work, moving the rear wall back three metres and removing an internal wall. ‘When the foundations went in, I was worried it wasn’t big enough, but as soon as the walls went up I realised it was much larger than expected!’
Everything ran smoothly until the builder found a load-bearing post that would be problematic to remove. The owners altered their plans and, rather than remove the post added another so that they could create a false chimney breast. The multi-fuel stove is now a feature - 'It's become one of my favourite aspects as it gives the space a focal point,' says the owner.
Once the extension was complete, the owner could start on the decor. 'I love freestanding schemes as they feel like they've been built up over years and it's a throwback to the pre-1950s. Also, I've always been a fan of French country style, which lends itself to a kitchen like this,' says the owner. Here, different elements of the open-plan room have been unified by using similar colours and a large dining table provides a casual space for family meals.
Similar dining table
Marks & Spencer
Black Country Metalworks
While this vast open-plan room may not fit the traditional model of the kitchen work triangle, the generous proportions and cool colour palette helps to make it a more relaxed area. It almost encourages mindfulness! 'I love being able to see into the garden while I'm washing up,' says the owner.
Painting furniture is a personal passion of the owner's. 'I couldn't wait to revamp the dressers and shelves.' Putty shades were used throughout the space and carefully chosen accessories brought the look together. Rustic and retro pieces are on display on these storage shelves, bringing a little colour and a personal touch to the space.
Similar storage jars and mugs
'Shelving is a great way to display crockery that would otherwise be hidden in cupboards,' says the owner. It's also a simple way to create a feature in a large space.
Similar retro kitchenware
Rigby and Mac
'I've been painting furniture for 20 years now and I'm still amazed at how much you can transform a tatty old piece into something special,' comments the owner. This method also means that mismatched pieces, chosen for their shape, size or style, can be brought in line with one another simply by matching the paint shade. Here, distressed pieces create a relaxed feel - 'I added glass handles for a chic touch.'
From built-in modern kitchen to French-style freestanding living area, this kitchen has undergone a huge facelift. The family couldn't be happier: 'We're thrilled with the results. Although it's a large open-plan area, because it's split into zones, each one feels cosy. It's enhanced our family life and has exceeded our expectations.'