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

Having a skinny kitchen and a huge dining room next door didn’t make sense, so this couple knocked them into one big space

Galley kitchen makeover before and after
(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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.'

Galley kitchen makeover with pale blue cabinets roof lantern and parquet flooring

(Image credit: Empire Build)

'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 (opens in new tab)

Galley kitchen makeover with pale blue cabinets roof lantern and parquet flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ 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 (opens in new tab)
Buy now:
Similar Ideal Home Croft curtain, from £59.99, Very (opens in new tab)
Buy now:
Similar Ideal Home Jute rug 60 x 180cm, from £24.99, Very (opens in new tab)

A galley kitchen with pale blue cabin, roof lantern and parquet flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.’

Kitchen with white walls and oak floorboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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

Kitchen with white countertop and crockery

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

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

Kitchen with a unit with shelves and drawers hidden away behind doors

(Image credit: Future PLC/ 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 (opens in new tab)
Buy now: Similar 

Kitchen with pale blue cupboard and table with chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/ 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

KItchen with white walls and dining table with flower vase

(Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.'

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

Amy Cutmore
Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is Editor-in-Chief, Homes Audience, working across the Future Homes portfolio. She works on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.