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

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

    ‘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.’

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    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.’


    Image credit: 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.

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


    Image credit: 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.

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    Image credit: 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.’

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    Enquire online: Carrera Quartz worktops, £468 per sq m, Mayfair Granite
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£50 each, Habitat


    Image credit: 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.

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


    Image credit: 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.’

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


    Image credit: 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.’

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