Before and after: See how a narrow kitchen was transformed without an extension

Reversing the layout and putting in French doors transformed this skinny kitchen – and the way its used – without the need to extend

For any couple that loves cooking and entertaining, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. But sadly for these owners, theirs was a total mess, with broken cupboards and dirty magnolia walls – it all had to go.

‘The room has a low ceiling and felt like a tunnel,’ recall the owners. ‘A side return extension wasn’t an option and everyone advised us that the space suited a galley kitchen. Instead, we decided to go with our instincts and create two areas, separated by a peninsula, and open up the back wall to let in light and give us a view of the garden.


Image credit: Lizzie Orme

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The owners designed and measured everything themselves, sourced the building materials – including eden units by Second Nature – and tradesmen. They removed the old kitchen, did all the painting and bought everything online to keep costs down. The work took three months and fitting cost £5,000.

Because the room felt narrow and dark, the owners decided to move the kitchen to the opposite end. That allowed them to fit in French doors to increase the light, and have a dining space overlooking the garden.


Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Open shelves help a narrow room feel more open, and offer extra display space. ‘We custom-designed the peninsula with open shelves, so it wouldn’t block the view of the French doors and light can travel through to the rest of the space. The carrara marble worktop does attract stains and marks, but we love its imperfections and patina’


Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Losing the dining table gained the couple extra space for a breakfast bar and a small living area. Removing the back wall has made the kitchen much brighter, too.

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Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Opening up the original chimney breast provided the couple with the perfect space to slot in a big range cooker.

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Image credit: Lizzie Orme

With a dark grout, this zig-zag pattern makes budget tiles look more expensive

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Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Painting the units blue-black has given the traditional design a modern edge.

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Image credit: Lizzie Orme

‘We wanted the kitchen to look in line with the age of the house, but contemporary, so we filtered decisions that way – traditional units in a modern colour; butler’s sink, but in stainless steel, and so on,’ add the owners.

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Image credit: Lizzie Orme

The owners made the unusual stainless-steel butler’s sink into a feature by adding overhead lighting.

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Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Both of the owners work long hours but love coming home to spend time in the kitchen, cooking and chatting. ‘The room works exactly the way we envisaged – I’m so glad we had the courage to design the layout to suit us.’

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