Before and after: a derelict kitchen becomes a light and sociable space

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  • With masses of expertise on hand, the owner was able to achieve her vision on a tight budget

    This first-time buyer was looking for an affordable doer-upper, and she struck gold in her home county of Lancashire. Having a number of friends and family (including her parents) in the building trade meant that she was able to tackle the three-bedroom Twenties semi, despite it’s initial  – almost derelict – state.

    Our kitchen ideas section is full of inspiration for your makeover

    The house had been empty for months and was a complete mess inside, but the high ceilings, big rooms and amazing light flooding in at the back all appealed.

    She initially thought she would keep the dining room and kitchen separate, but the kitchen was small and too dark, so knocking down the dividing wall was an obvious move. ‘The kitchen worked best in the corner, leaving space for a table, and I knew I wanted a breakfast bar with stools, because I love having friends over for a glass of wine or a coffee and a chat’.


    Image credit: Colin Poole

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    ‘I like modern and vintage looks, and I prefer angles and straight lines to curves. Top of my wishlist were the metro wall tiles. They’re not too expensive and it’s easy to create interesting effects. They also fit in with the clean, functional vibe I wanted’.

    Brick was another must-have material for that industrial edge – ‘I was thrilled that we could re-use the bricks from the dining-room wall to build the breakfast bar’. Patchwork-style floor tiles work well with white units and chunky open wooden shelves ‘for easy storage’.


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Her mum and dad recommended B&Q kitchen furniture (which they had fitted before), and she found the perfect cupboards at a reasonable price. She found her appliances and flooring there too.

    Sourcing so much from one store saved hours of research and shopping around. And luckily, everything was in stock.

    Related: Kitchen cabinets – what to look for when buying your units


    Image credit: Colin Poole

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    As soon as the dividing wall came down, the homeowner knew she’d done the right thing: ‘the space felt huge, and installing patio doors brought in even more natural light’.


    Image credit: Colin Poole

    The old floor came up, a new boiler was installed and the room was stripped back to the brickwork. Three walls were re-plastered and days were spent scraping every tiny bit of mortar and plaster off the remaining wall and cleaning all the bricks saved to build the breakfast bar.

    Then it was time to choose a wall colour: ‘I painted two walls mid-grey, and my mum helped me wallpaper one, to add colour to the room’.


    Image credit: Colin Poole

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    This is one homeowner with an eye for a bargain. She managed to track down timber and brackets to make the open shelves, which she then stained for an aged look. Her Tom Dixon pendant lights were a thrifty car-boot sale find, costing just £50 – a saving of more than £900.

    Ready for another? Before and after: demolishing two split-level extensions created a dream kitchen

    She’s understandably delighted with the results. ‘My parents, brother and cousin did all the building work, plumbing and electrics, following my hand-drawn plans – they were amazing,’ she says. ‘I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved together and I can’t thank my parents enough. This might not be my forever home, but right now I absolutely love it’.

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