Before and after: a mini side-return extension has made all the difference

Stealing a space just 700mm wide has turned a dark galley kitchen into a spacious room with a dream island

kitchen makeover before and after
(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alasdair MacIntosh)

'The previous kitchen was an old scullery with a Belfast sink and a cast-iron stove built into a chimney breast,' say the owners of this four-bed Edwardian terrace in York. 'It consisted of two dark rooms that looked out onto the side return. There was a stench of mould and the plaster was falling off the walls.'

We've got so many kitchen ideas for your dream makeover

As far as a plan was concerned, the owners were keen not to strip away the identity of the period property. However, they decided to remove the chimney breast to turn the two rooms into one space, then gutted the whole thing. 'We wanted to save the stove, but it disintegrated when we tried to move it,' say the owners.

Now the builders could get to work, installing support beams and opened up the side wall for the new window. 'The building work cost about £8,000, and we fitted the kitchen ourselves,' say the owners. 'It was part of the whole house renovation, which took 18 months in total.’

kitchen with white wall blue cabinets and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alasdair MacIntosh)

Positioning tall units next to the entrance door, and keeping the storage to one side of the room creates a more open feel.

Get the look
Enquire online: For similar cabinetry, try Harewood bespoke painted, £241.79 for a 600mm-wide base 
unit, DIY Kitchens

kitchen with white wall blue cabinet and white countertop shelves and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alasdair MacIntosh)

‘We considered a full 
side-return extension,’ says Philippa, ‘but opted for this window, as it didn’t require planning permission.’ A subtle overhang on the island worktop provides a useful breakfast bar within a tight space, and the copper pendants contrast beautifully.

Get the look
Buy now: Brunel lean-to shelves, from £299, Heal’s
Buy now:
Normann Copenhagen Form bar stools in oak and grey, £230 each, Houseology


kitchen with blue cabinets white countertop table with white seat wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alasdair MacIntosh)

‘We looked at cheaper worktops, but you touch surfaces every day, so it 
was worth investing in quartz,’ says the owner. 
‘We angled off the corners on the island to make it easier to walk around.’

Get the look
Enquire online: Carrera Quartz worktops, £468 per sq m, Mayfair Granite
Buy now: Aerial pendant lights, 
£50 each, Habitat

kitchen with blue cabinets silver refrigerator wash basin and white countertop

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alasdair MacIntosh)

‘We wanted the maximum usable surface, so chose a smaller sink,’ says the owner. Behind, bespoke knobs
 make the off-
the-peg kitchen units 
look extra special.

Get the look
Buy now: Franke Venician tap in silk steel, £290.99,

kitchen with white wall blue cabinets white counter and electric stove

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alasdair MacIntosh)

Updating original features gives a new kitchen unique character. To enhance the brickwork, the owners simply painted the old brickwork in a fresh, Brilliant White emulsion. 'We saved thousands of pounds by sourcing our kitchen appliances during Black Friday and the January sales,' they tell us. 'We made our budget go further by buying appliances over a period of time and storing them in a safe place until they were needed.'

Get the look
Buy now: KitchenAid Artisan Ice Blue Food Mixer, £494.10, Harts of Stur

kitchen with white wall blue cabinets wooden floor and white countertop

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Alasdair MacIntosh)

This kitchen has similar vibes... Before and after: Walls came down to create a family kitchen the kids can ride their bikes around

‘We were scared that the kitchen would lose its original charm, but what we’ve created is sympathetic to the 
house,’ says the owner. 'We love the island, which was top of our wish 
list, and our cosy seating area where we can enjoy the garden views.'

Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.