Before and after: from dark, dingy basement to lively living area

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  • The owners knew their shabby annexe would make an amazing kitchen-diner

    ‘We started work as soon as we could get builders and structural surveyors on board,’ says the owner of this five-bed, detached Victorian house in Hastings, East Sussex.

    ‘I drew all the plans myself, which was pretty stressful and we hit some problems when our surveyor said we needed a column where we wanted the island. But, luckily, our builder worked with him to find larger steels, which meant we could do without it.’

    Start your makeover with inspiration from our kitchen ideas

    ‘Designing the kitchen area entailed a lot of measuring and graph paper. I’m a keen cook and I wanted a large island with cupboards on both sides. We already had most of the furniture and I spent a lot of time researching products to keep costs down.’


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    ‘The basement was a self-contained annexe. It was damp and shabby, but we knew it would make an amazing kitchen and living space connected to the garden. We removed walls, replaced the windows and added glass doors to fill it with light,’ says Jacqui.

    Get the look
    Enquire online: Hemsley units, from £301, DIY Kitchens


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    The couple mixed second-hand wooden furniture with a new sofa in the dining and seating area opposite the kitchen. ‘A home is more interesting when you mix old and new,’ says Jacqui. ‘Vintage treasures have given this space colour and personality.’

    Get the look
    Buy now: Navy Style brass chairs, £79 each, Cult Furniture
    Buy now: Ariana sofa in Ochre Velvet, from £695,


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Vintage dining furniture has a beautiful, worn wood that gives a newly renovated space a lived-in, 
characterful look. Parquet-look tiles are more hard-wearing 
and easier to clean 
than real wood.

    Related: Pink living room ideas – to create a sense of romance, sophistication and fun


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    A stainless-steel range oven provides lots of cooking space and brings a modern country feel to the kitchen. The marble worktop is a cool contrast to 
the chunky wood worktops elsewhere.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Rangemaster Elise 110 dual-fuel range cooker, £2,649, John Lewis
    Buy now: Mini metro tiles, £30.22 per sq m, Tons of Tiles


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Open shelves add storage and an opportunity for display in an awkward corner. Brass wall brackets give them a traditional touch.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Brass brackets, 
£22.95 for two, Ruby Roost


    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    Next up: Before and after: this kitchen went from skinny galley to classy cook’s dream

    Pink painted 
walls give a fresh, pretty 
and modern contrast to 
the deep green, traditional-style Shaker cabinets. Its fluted front adds an authentic country aesthetic.

    Get the look
    Buy now: Ribchester Butler sink 800mm, £737, Shaws of Darwen

    In total, the kitchen took six months to build and the building costs were around £35,000. ‘We love this space and spend most of our time here,’ says the owner. ‘It’s perfect for entertaining family and friends, especially when we throw the doors open in the summer.’

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