Before and after: from three small rooms to a characterful kitchen with upcycled furniture

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  • Flea-market finds and vintage furniture create a one-of-a-kind kitchen that's cosy and bright

    When the owner moved in seven years ago, the whole house needed gutting and renovating. ‘
I knocked the existing kitchen, dining room and cloakroom together, then completely rewired, replumbed and replastered,’ he explains. ‘As I used to be in the building trade, I was able to do much of the work myself and keep labour costs down. I also installed folding doors to the garden and levelled the floor, ready for sandstone flags.’

    ‘I built the kitchen from new timber and old, upcycled furniture — I own Reginald Ballum, a decorative antiques shop. The layout was straightforward, because I knew I wanted the sink beneath the window and luckily the French bench unit, which I’d had in storage, fitted perfectly along the opposite wall. The installation cost about £1,000 and the whole project took about a month.’

    Image credit: David Giles

    ‘It can be tricky to adapt old pieces, rather than buying an off-the-peg kitchen, but it gave me a bespoke look without paying a fortune,’ says the owner. ‘My style is “quirky industrial”, which I’ve softened with a gentle colour palette’


    Image credit: David Giles

    The green unit is a vintage cupboard tipped on its side, reinforced to support the weight of the butler’s sink and with new doors. It sits next to a DIY peninsula, which houses the washing machine.


    Image credit: David Giles

    To make the worktops, the owner wrapped sheet zinc around MDF, fixed with upholstery nails. He aged it first by leaving 
it outside for two weeks. The sacking blinds are made from vintage mail bags, simply overstitched, for authentic rustic character.


    Image credit: David Giles

    Lime render gives a natural, matt, mottled finish to walls. An old oak workbench stands out against them. ‘I love the look of plain materials,’ says Darren.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Newgate Cookhouse Wall Clock in Black, £70, Amara


    Image credit: David Giles

    The owner found this antique plate rack at a brocante in France and kept it in storage for future use. ‘I’ve picked up pieces from markets in Europe and around Sussex,’ he says

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Lyon wall-mounted plate rack, £88, Melody Maison 


    Image credit: David Giles

    I searched high and low for vintage tiles, but couldn’t find what I wanted. These metro tiles work well instead,’ says the owner, who had an antique range cooker installed. ‘But it filled the room with smoke and I couldn’t find replacement parts,’ he explains. ‘It taught me a valuable lesson in knowing when to 
buy new and when 
to stick with vintage.’ Pale pastel accessories soften an industrial-inspired look with pieces in pink hues.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar tiles, Sloane Square Smooth Gloss grey tiles, £19.95 per sq m, Walls and Floors 
    Buy now: Similar Britannia Delphi 90 RC9SGDEK dual-fuel range cooker, £2,799, Currys


    Image credit: David Giles

    The owner is thrilled with the results of all his efforts. ‘I took my time and didn’t compromise, so it was a lot of work to find what I wanted. But I’ve created a unique kitchen that I love.’

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