Parsons Gray :: Interior Design Studio :: Cambridge
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Studio Blog

 

A simple, on-budget kitchen transformation

 
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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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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