Before and after: lightening and brightening was the aim of this kitchen makeover

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  • Knocking down a wall and choosing a different-shaped dining table enabled the owners of this kitchen to squeeze in a lot more storage

    Living in Australia for eight years made the owners of this four-bedroom Seventies detached property in Middlesex look at houses very differently. ‘Space and light are more important to us than period features now,’ they say. ‘When we came to see this house, we knew it was ideal for us, but the kitchen was cramped and its wooden units made the room seem really dark. It all needed sorting out and lightening up!’

    Taking down the wall that separated the kitchen and a dining room brought lots of light and the couple replaced dark wood frames with more practical white versions.

    After kitchen Vannozzi kitchen IH April p124

    The units were arranged in a U shape, and one edge of this configuration acts as a peninsula, providing a natural separation between the kitchen and dining areas. In fact, this was where the original wall was between the two spaces. The old dining room was barely used so this new layout is a much more efficient use of space.

    The U shape has also left room on the back wall for a freestanding unit that provides lots of storage. Metal legs raise the cabinet off the ground and add an industrial edge, while also making the kitchen feel larger than it is. Built-in ovens have been placed at a convenient height that requires no crouching to get things in and out.

    Built-in oven Vannozzi kitchen IH April p124

    With its clean, streamlined look, the wraparound worktop offers a bright contrast to the wooden door fronts. ‘The worktop cost more than the units,’ say the owners, ‘but any little scratch or stain can just be rubbed away – it’s amazing.’

    Worktops Vannozzi kitchen IH April p124

    At the back of the room, the couple chose Sixties-style patchwork tiles in neutral grey to add subtle pattern to the splashback.

    Cups Vannozzi kitchen IH April p124

    Swapping the big rectangular dining table for a round one has let the couple fit floor-to-ceiling units in one corner to hide their cleaning materials. A round table also offers a change from all the straight lines of modern kitchen units, creating a sociable spot where the family can gather. Irregular floor tiles in a mix of shapes and sizes make the room feel relaxed and their earthy colour is a practical choice with a young family.


    Chairs in primary shades add a burst of vibrancy to the scheme. The dining area enjoys large French windows and views of the garden, which add to the light feel of the space.

    Dining table Vannozzi kitchen IH April p124

    Above the radiator, the owners have mounted a picture ledge, which is ideal for putting colourful framed pictures on display without the need for wall hooks.

    Framed pictures Vannozzi kitchen IH April p124

    This little corner has been well thought out to tie the two spaces together. A geometric cushion picks out the colour of the splashback tiles, while an additional red dining chair links this little kitchen nook to the dining area.

    Red chair Vannozzi kitchen IH April p124

    In total, the build cost £6,000 and took eight weeks. ‘The result is better than we’d ever hoped,’ say the couple. ‘It gives us a lift every morning.’

    Get the look

    Buy now: Metod/Hyttan Oak units, from £44 for a W40cm unit, Ringhult white gloss doors on freestanding unit, £40, and Docksta table, £130, all Ikea

    Buy now: Amazone beige tumbled floor tiles, £66.99 per sq m, and Batik patchwork tiles in grey, £45 per sq m, both Topps Tiles

    Buy now: Solid-surface worktops in Cristallo, from £150 per linear m, Maia Worksurfaces

    Buy now: Lace Powder Blue blinds, from £140, Scion at Tuiss

    Buy now: Spacy tray in yellow, £49.95, Wesco

    Buy now: salt and pepper shaker set, £14.99, MissPrint at John Lewis

    Buy now: similar chairs, The Conran Shop

    This kitchen originally appeared in Ideal Home, April 2017

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