A simple, on-budget kitchen transformation
If ever there was a project for which I wish I had the before photographs, this kitchen is undoubtedly it...
This transformation of this space was part of a much larger project that basically involved redecorating and reinventing the bones of a typical Victorian terrace house from top to bottom: carpets were replaced and original wooden floors sanded and refinished; panel radiators were replaced with traditional, column fittings; door hardware, light fittings, switches and sockets were all replaced.
The budget, on paper, was generous, but as anyone who has ever touched a period property knows, even a good budget doesn't stretch indefinitely.
When I first saw it, the kitchen was a run-of-the-mill, unloved space. Fitted quickly, to a tight budget, it was dark and unloved with laminate floors, worktops and cupboards; a long, north-facing room with cold finishes that felt drab even during summer. My client was keen to create a welcoming hub that felt warm and tactile – and so we set to work.
In keeping with the rest of the house, I wanted to keep things as light and simple as possible. I wanted that house to glow; to welcome my client after a long day and be her respite and her centre of calm.
To create a bright, light backdrop, the walls were painted a warm off-white – Indian White by Delux. Personally, I wouldn't usually put a white in a north-facing room (and yes, I know it's the decorating standard in Nordic countries, but bear in mind that the light there is much cleaner – in the UK, the light is quite grey and 'dirty' for much of the winter). But this room, despite being north-facing, has windows on the east elevation as well, so the morning light is beautiful.
I didn't want the entire room to be too white, so the cupboards were comprehensively prepped before being hand-painted in Pearl Colour by Little Greene Paint Company. It's such a beautiful colour, changing through the day from pale aqua to warm, pale grey, and the finish is robust and durable.
Although the basic kitchen had to stay, there was a little give in the budget to swap the tired old cooker hood with a sleek new replacement, and also to replace the standard-issue stainless-steel sink and tap. By opting for an on-budget ceramic sink, we were able to splash out a little on a beautiful antique-brass tap from Bespoke Taps. I first heard about this company through the lovely Rebecca at Roses & Rolltops, and I couldn't recommend them more!
I mean, look at that beautiful tap!
To give the room the warmth and tactility I was after, I went for an almost scullery-like feel with the tiling. White gloss brick tiles (simpler and less fussy than bevelled metro tiles) were installed to eye level, while on the floors we went for a small-format tumbled terracotta tile. I should point out that it was near-impossible to find a local tiler who wanted to install these: because the kitchen is part of an extension, there is a change in floor substrates that made some contractors nervous. The tiles also require careful preparation before they are laid and meticulous sealing afterwards, but I knew that they were key to the room's overall look and feel, and I'm happy to say that both I and my client are thrilled with the result!
We also replaced all the door hardware for pretty, brushed brass knobs and cup handles, replaced the previously black worktops for gloss, marble-effect laminate, and sourced clear, mouth-blown glass ceiling pendants from Pooky.
The result is light, fresh and cohesive; modern but still authentic to both the client and the house. And, crucially, very budget-friendly!
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