Before and after – from dated 1930s kitchen to quirky family space

  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • The owner faced months of living in a building 
site, delayed fittings 
and even a split lip, but says her kitchen was worth all the drama

    ‘There’s nothing like having children to show up your house’s shortcomings,’ says the owner of this detached five-bed Thirties house in Cheshire. ‘So when our son and daughter came along, it became clear our existing kitchen just wasn’t going to work.’

    ‘It was small, boring and beige, but because it was usable, we ended up living with it for years. My husband and 
I could clearly see that no thought had been given to how a family would use it and this was, after all, a family home, so 
it really needed sorting once and for all.’

    Get you makeover off to a flying start with inspiration from our kitchen ideas

    The kitchen was just one element of the three-storey extension the couple had planned. ‘Work began in July 2014. We started the kitchen part of the project in November 2016, but we had to complete the various stages as funds allowed. My husband project managed and did as much of the work himself as he could – no mean feat for a man who barely knew how to build flatpack furniture!’

    The extension starts where the old kitchen ended and a conservatory, outside toilet and laundry shed were demolished to make room for it all. Taking out the back of the house meant a huge RSJ was needed, giving the family 500 sq ft of new, open-plan space.


    Image credit: Fiona Walker

    The work wasn’t without its problems. ‘We couldn’t afford to move out during the work, so we ended up living on a building site for a long time, says the owner. ‘Dust aside, the main thing we struggled with was delivery. We’d ordered the kitchen 
in October 2016, for delivery in the January and took out the old units before Christmas.’

    ‘Then delivery was put back a month and on the day the fitters finally arrived, nothing went to plan. We even had some units installed upside down!’

    Get the look
    Buy now: Bodbyn unit doors, £46 for a door 60 x 80cm, IKEA
    Buy now: Hishult handle in white porcelain£8 for two, IKEA


    Image credit: Fiona Walker

    In all, the work on the kitchen took six months, and with the builders finally out of the house, I was able to start focusing on the finishing details. We did have the foresight to plan the lighting early so the power points are in 
the right place. ‘We wanted downlighters for task
 lighting and mood lighting over the island and table.’


    Image credit: Fiona Walker

    A vivid emerald green on the wall behind the table really helps to define the dining area in this open-plan space, 
and provides 
a vibrant backdrop for her striking gallery wall 
and quirky, wall-hung bar. ‘Before, when it came to decorating, I’d just gone with whatever colours and furnishings were in fashion, but by this stage, I had the confidence to follow my own tastes,’ says the owner. ‘I love colour and I wanted the kitchen to be a fun space.’

    Related: Dining room colour schemes – to add life with bold, beautiful colour

    ‘If something doesn’t work, I can always repaint it,’ she adds. ‘Sometimes I see a shade and obsess about how to make it work somewhere. I’d already used a deep green paint to upcycle a sideboard and loved it so much, I used it on the dining area walls, too.’

    The flooring is maple from an old tobacco factory – it had 130 years worth of dirt ingrained and took ages to clean. ‘Another low was me splitting my lip when I tripped over planks from the wooden floor as it was being installed,’ says the owner.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Tolix-style Siena Chair in Red, from £35, Rustic Seating


    Image credit: Fiona Walker

    ‘The old school desk makes the perfect wall-
mounted drinks cabinet – it’s a real talking point!’


    Image credit: Fiona Walker

    ‘I wanted to have fun styling the kitchen and knew it was the perfect excuse to display the plates and pictures I’ve collected over the years’


    Image credit: Fiona Walker

    ‘The directional tap 
is a game changer because you can rinse every corner 
of the sink! You can get them in a range of prices, too.’

    Get the look
    Buy now: Vimmern kitchen mixer tap, £150, IKEA
    Buy now: Dualit NewGen 4-Slice Toaster, Copper, £199.99, John Lewis


    Image credit: Fiona Walker

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

    Pick an accent colour and echo it around an open plan room using accessories to help tie the scheme together. 
The owner of this space chose a buttercup yellow shade.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Porter Fabric 3 Seater Sofa, £749, Very
    Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Scandi Geo Cushion, £14.99, Very

    Now the family has had a chance to use the 
space, they’ve found it works really well. ‘No-one’s stuck cooking on their own in the kitchen when we’ve got friends over,’says the owner. ‘And we can keep an eye on the kids doing their homework when we’re making dinner.’

    ‘Yes, there were bumps along the way but it was 
all resolved in the end and now we have the social space we wanted. In fact, it’s become the new heart of our home.’

    All the latest from Ideal Home