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Clare, a speech & language therapist and mother-of-three, remodelled her downstairs space to create an open-plan kitchen-diner

The kitchen layout was awkward and didn’t flow naturally into the dining room, explains Clare of the four-bedroom detached house in London she and her husband, Mark, moved into 20 years ago.

“An archway had already been made to connect the kitchen and dining room but the galley kitchen was too cramped for modern appliances. You couldn’t get in or out the back door if the dishwasher was open. There was a lot of wasted space in a boarded-up larder behind the cupboards.

“My aim was to open up the space to make better use of the storage and allow me to be involved with whatever is going on at the table while I am cooking, for example to supervise homework.”

A builder she hired on recommendation from a neighbour removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room. A structural engineer was commissioned to specify a RSJ (rolled steel joint) to shore up the walls and ceiling around the demolished wall of the 1920s property.

The old kitchen had cracked, terracotta tiles which were difficult to keep clean. The builder retiled the floor in natural stone tiles.  Clare didn’t re-use any of their old pine kitchen cupboards. Instead she bit the bullet and went for a completely new kitchen from a local builder merchants.

Remodelled kitchen
Remodelled kitchen

The finished remodelled kitchen

The cabinetry in oak and the surfaces in dark green/black Labradorite marble were relatively easy choices to make with her builder bringing samples to browse. For a tiled splashback, the couple chose cream and racing green tiles. Work surfaces are low-lit from under the kitchen cabinets with halogen spot lights in the ceiling. All the appliances are Neff with brushed steel handles.

As well as the kitchen and dining area, the new open plan space has a contemporary fireplace and small, comfortable seating area. A vertical, brush-steel radiator gives a chic, designer touch.

Existing patio doors mean the new kitchen-dining-living room opens into the back garden.  The total project cost about £22,000.

Clare said: “It now feels like a big living-kitchen area rather than two separate rooms, but the kitchen is still off to one side and doesn’t dominate the living area.  It’s a flexible and sociable living space – and easy to clean. I particularly like my garden window seat for a quiet coffee.”

The family went on holiday in a bid to avoid some of the disruption caused by building work. Unfortunately, their builder went on holiday at the same time, so little had changed when they returned.

Any tips? “Don’t leave the builder to get on with work in your absence. They don’t!”

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