Before and after: a dramatic fire prompted a dream kitchen makeover in grey and green

A sad story has a very happy ending

kitchen with grey cabinets and wooden worktop
(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

The new kitchen in this four-bedroom, Sixties detached house in West Sussex is literally a phoenix from the flames. 'In October 2016, our dishwasher caught fire when I was at work,' says the owner. 'When I came back, the whole house was black. We moved out that night and stayed with nearby families until 
we sorted out rented accommodation several weeks later.'

Get more inspiration for your next project with our kitchen ideas

'Our house had been rented out for many years, and we were saving up to renovate it when the disaster struck. It was harrowing but it allowed us to completely renovate the place and create the kitchen-diner we’d always wanted,' says the owner. 'Two months later, once we had cleared out our fire-damaged possessions, the builders were able to start work.'

As the family had lived here for 15 months, 
they knew how we wanted to use the space. The dining area was in a 
Seventies extension, with a thick 
original exterior wall between it and the kitchen. 'We talked to our friend Mark, 
a building surveyor, who suggested removing the wall and fitting a steel 
beam to create a larger space.'

kitchen with grey cabinets and wooden worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

'We love colour, pattern and texture so 
we wanted to create a stylish room that reflected our taste and was fun,' says the owner. 'We designed the space ourselves, spending many hours on Pinterest and online, researching colours, styles and materials.'

I ordered sample after sample and had a whole room for them in our rental place. 
I loved the creativity of this process and really missed that time when it was over.'

kitchen with dining area

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

'The whole look of the room started with the gorgeous bottle-green enamel lampshades I found in a vintage shop in Cuckfield, West Sussex,' says the owner.

These now hang in the dining area. 'I wanted an industrial-style, dark wood table but I couldn’t find the right size, so I was pleased to discover Design Shack Bespoke online, which offers a wide range of table legs to go with a bespoke-size tabletop.'

'Their Gang chairs worked perfectly with the table and then the area was finished with a mirror that my mother and stepfather gave me.'

Get the look
Buy now: Similar Bamboo Palm wallpaper, £23.99 a roll, Wallpaper Direct
Buy now: The Gang chairs, £59 each, Design Shack Bespoke
Buy now: Mantlet table, £295, Design Shack Bespoke

kitchen with grey cabinets and wooden worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

'Initially, I wanted oak units and concrete tops but the tops were too expensive, so we chose grey doors with oak tops instead. We designed the kitchen ourselves and bought units from Howdens, then found doors at Kitchen Door Workshop online.'

'The vinyl floor and wallpaper were sourced online. Combining two patterns was a bit of a risk but we tried a large sample of each in the room and this gave us enough confidence to take the plunge.'

Get the look
Buy now: Shaker Matt Graphite doors, from £41 each, Kitchen Door Workshop
Buy now: Moroccan Vinyl Tangier flooring, £13sq m, Best4Flooring

kitchen with wooden worktop and leather pull handles

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

'I wanted to give the units a bespoke look, so I sourced some leather pull handles online,' says the owner.

Get the look
Buy now: Alderney door pulls, £12 each, The Hidesmith

kitchen with wooden worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

Adding natural textures such as wood and raffia works perfectly with the feel of 
this eclectic kitchen. The natural tones work perfectly against the green and add interest, too.

‘Scaffold board shelves waxed to match the table give us storage surfaces that look great and keep things easily accessible,' says the owner.

Get the look
Buy now: Metro Green tiles, £17.50 per sq m, Tons of Tiles

kitchen with chimney open shelf and wooden worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

‘Open shelves with a mix of useful and beautiful things look much better than a bank of wall units,' says the owner. ‘We kept the cooker dark so it didn’t disrupt the flow of the grey kitchen units.’

Get the look
Buy now: Rangemaster Kitchener 90 dual-fuel range, £1,399.99, Currys

kitchen with ceramic sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

‘I wanted a traditional look for the sink and tap so I chose a ceramic sink and an arched tap with ceramic handles.’

Get the look
Buy now: Carron Phoenix Solaris sink, £288.80,
Buy now: Carron Phoenix Windsor mixer tap, £150, QS Supplies

kitchen with grey door and wall units

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

‘A larder is wonderful because we can fit 
a lot in here and it means we can avoid having wall units.’

Ready for another? Before and after: A soulless modern kitchen is now packed with personality

'Seven months after the fire, we were back in our home, enjoying this amazing new space where we now spend most of our time. We spent so long researching, designing and thinking about this room – and it paid off because it’s perfect for us.’

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked 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.