Before and after: Light and airy coastal-inspired kitchen makeover

Knocking through to a bedroom gave the owner the perfect open-plan space for a relaxed, coastal kitchen-diner

The owner had been thinking about revamping the kitchen ever since she moved in, but with working and writing a book, life was so busy that she kept putting it off. ‘When I took a break from work, I realised I’d have time to enjoy the renovation process, and I decided to project-manage it myself.’


Image credit: Colin Poole

She was determined to turn her dark, dated kitchen into a fresh, airy space, so a coastal look was the perfect choice. ‘I searched online for kitchen and dining room images and soon pinned down the main elements – crisp, pale colours, rustic wood, painted pieces and a few nautical-style touches. I picked up extra pointers close to home, too, like the style of the table and chairs, the tongue-and-groove panelling and the fisherman’s lantern, all of which I noticed in my local beach cafe.’

Buy now: Symphony Longford Shaker cabinets, from £206 for a 600mm base unit; Colorado 1.5L bowl sink; Caple Shaftesbury sink mixer, £250, all Jewsons
Buy now: Novilon Nova Selmore flooring, £15sq m, Trago Mills

Image credit: Colin Poole

‘I started with a hand-drawn scale plan of the whole room. The dividing wall was still there, so it was hard to imagine the empty space, but with the help of a family member, I came up with a practical layout.’ The new kitchen units are more or less where the old ones where, as the position works well and the plumbing was already in place. The peninsula made a bridge from the kitchen to the dining area, without closing off the space.


Image credit: Colin Poole

‘Moving the back door from one end to the centre, where it would open into the garden, felt like a natural step. To further maximise light, I added a second window next to it. It’s the same size and shape as the existing one, so the whole look feels balanced.’


Image credit: Colin Poole

‘Too boost my budget, I shopped around for absolutely every item. I researched local kitchen suppliers, and used the free planing services on offer to finalise my layout, ready for costing. My builder suggested the Symphony kitchen units and I thought the quality and prices were impressive, and the Shaker-style cabinets were just what I was after. I spent ages tracking down worktops that looked like a single piece of timber with a driftwood effect rather than wood-block, and finally found what I wanted online.’

Buy now: Mackerel mugs, £10 each, Cream Cornwall


Image credit: Colin Poole

‘My unique dining table was a brilliant Gumtree bargain, but my best buy was the metal wall lights above it. I was struggling to get anything affordable, and although they’re actually exterior lights from a builder’s merchant, my electrician confirmed they work fine inside, too. Taking the wall down was nerve-wracking, as my builder couldn’t guarantee it wasn’t load-bearing until he’d removed a few bricks from the top. I was relieved when he said he was fine, as putting in a steel support beam would have meant extra work and expense. It was exciting to see the whole space for the first time, and with the new window and door, I knew the natural light was going to be amazing.’

Buy now: Ingolf dining chairs, £45 each, Ikea


Image credit: Colin Poole

‘I managed with a temporary kitchen in my home office for about six weeks, and staying on site was useful, as I could make decisions quickly and minimise any delays. The dust was horrendous to live with, though, and I was happy when the disruption was finally over. The kitchen units and flooring are quite neutral, so I’ve layered on details like brushed chrome touches and blue-and-white accents to achieve my coastal theme. The lights and mirrors make such an impact and the panelling gives the dining area its own chilled mood. It’s a fabulous space to cook and entertain, and everyone who comes in loves it. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved in here.’

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