Before and after: this kitchen went from skinny galley to classy cook’s dream

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Having a skinny kitchen and a huge dining room next door didn’t make sense, so this couple knocked them into one big space

    It took 14 years for this family of five to deal with the fact that their kitchen and dining area had never really worked. ‘It 
was tough to have more than one person in the kitchen at a time and it was always dark,’ says the owner. ‘Plus, the only access to the garden was a small door.’

    Get your makeover off to a flying start with our kitchen ideas

    Last year, they realised they couldn’t stand it any longer, and sought the advice of Giles Sequeira of Empire Build. ‘He suggested pitching the roof at the kitchen end and adding a large roof lantern to bring in more light. We also blocked in the old garden door and replaced the dining room window with lovely French doors.’


    Image credit: David Giles

    ‘Having the units hand made was nowhere near as expensive as we’d thought and meant we could choose the size and colour, and get exactly the right amount of storage,’ says the owner. ‘We chose painted units for an unfussy modern-country look, in soft blue to add colour and personality. They look like they’ve always been there!’

    Get the look
    Enquire online: Bespoke kitchen, £9,000, Ellerton at Home range, Empire Build


    Image credit: David Giles

    ‘The tiny galley kitchen was cramped and its flat roof made it feel oppressive,’ says Louise. As well as knocking through, the couple swapped the roof for a pitched one in the kitchen area, with a skylight to brighten the space.

    A row of pictures visually connects the separate kitchen and dining areas of the room. Bespoke doors
 leading out to the garden are a more traditional choice for period 
homes that won’t 
date like bi-folds.

    Get the look
    Enquire online: Herringbone fumed oak flooring, £47.99 per sq m, Jordan’s Wood Flooring
    Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Croft curtain, from £59.99, Very
    Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Jute rug 60 x 180cm, from £24.99, Very


    Image credit: David Giles

    ‘Taking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room meant we could have a breakfast bar, which has become the place everyone wants to sit,’ says the owner. ‘The kids perch on the stools while my husband or I cook, which we both love. The breakfast bar also shields the dining area from the business end of the space.’


    Image credit: David Giles

    The herringbone pattern 
and subtle colour variations 
in the parquet-effect flooring
 give a 
neutral room warmth 
and texture.


    Image credit: David Giles

    A composite top
 gives the look and feel 
of marble with the durability of quartz.


    Image credit: David Giles

    ‘A larder was on my fantasy list, but there wasn’t room, so this is the next best thing – a unit with shelves and drawers hidden away behind doors,’ says Louise.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Larder painted in Little Greene Bone China Blue intelligent eggshell, £62 for 2.5ltrs, John Lewis
    Buy now: Similar 


    Image credit: David Giles

    ‘We’ve created a ton of storage with built-in cupboards along the back wall, with a ledge that can be used as a seat.’

    Handmade doors, £2,750, Empire Build. Tablecloth, £28.50, Only Oilcloths. Volfgang chairs, £70 each, 
Ikea, are similar


    Image credit: David Giles

    The owner has some final words of advice for anyone thinking of taking on a similar project. ‘Spend where it makes a difference,’ she says.
 ‘If we’d kept the flat roof, it wouldn’t have been such a successful project. Pitching the roof has transformed 
that end of the room.’

    Ready for another makeover? Before and after: a derelict kitchen becomes a light and sociable space

    ‘Making it one space has changed the way we live,’ she adds. ‘It’s where everyone congregates!’

    All the latest from Ideal Home