Makeover - Our Kitchen Extension and Transformation

November 17, 2014



Out of all of the photos that I post of our house, the kitchen is the room you lot on Instagram comment on the most and this post has been requested by a few of you. {Be warned it's a bumper one, probably the biggest blog post yet,  I had a lot of photos to post! But Makeover Monday's will be stopping for a while until the New Year with a couple of weeks of Christmas coming up so make the most of the interiors}..

Update - More recent photos here.

The kitchen, and dining room has by far, been the biggest transformation of our house requiring building work and planning permission. When we first looked at the house it had a small kitchen next to a conservatory and we immediately saw the potential to knock everything through to create a large open space for the kitchen, dining room and living in one. We also wanted bifold doors to the garden so that could be an extension of the house too and good for entertaining in the summer. We bought the house in October 2012 and started enquiring about an architect and calling builders almost as soon as we had the keys. The planning process took a while and we were granted permission in April 2013. We lived through a freezing cold winter and everyone that came for dinner moaned at how cold the house was despite having the heating on full blast! The windows and conservatory leached so much heat, the kitchen was falling apart and not very nice to look at and we felt we were on hold with the garden until we had a new patio sorted. We hadn't bothered with new flooring in the hallway until we finished the kitchen so it would all flow so had gappy bare floorboards. We moved in with my parents in June when the building work started. I was so grateful that we had the option to move in with my parents as there's no way we could have lived through the dust, noisy builders and no kitchen. We would visit most days and watch the progress, some days walking down at nine at night as it was so light in the summer. It was amazing in September when it was all finished and we could truly enjoy the house with everything finished.

Before Photos:
When we bought the house, the dining room was yellow with blue carpets and the stairs were all boarded up with dark wooden panelling. We opened that up so we could put spindles in for an open staircase.



From the dining room you got to the kitchen, not in a bad state but not to our taste. If we had waited longer for our building work I probably would have chalk painted the cupboards to spruce it up a bit. 


I hated this conservatory, the cheap lino floor was peeling, it leaked and was so so cold in the winter. It did let a lot of light in but we only used the room to get out on to the garden. I couldn't wait for it to be knocked down!

During Photos:
To start with we painted the dining room as a temporary fix and ripped up the carpet.


It was functional as a dining room and we prettied it up with our wooden crates


{and bunting for Birthdays}



The conservatory became my potting shed and we started lots of seeds off in there in the Spring. 


The kitchen was fully functional for the six months we used it from January to June and when it got warmer it was fine, but I secretly couldn't wait for a new one. In our London flat we fitted a modern gloss style kitchen but now that we're out in the country we decided a classic, wooden, shaker style kitchen would look best in our Victorian style house. Either style would have worked, there are a lot of Victorian terraces that have extended and gone very modern which looks good. But we decided on a more classic style. We're very lucky that Ben's uncle Philip makes kitchens by hand up in Scotland, he's supplied some amazing properties including two Duchess's and their castles. I hadn't seen much of his work before ours but Ben had always dreamed of his uncle making one for us and very kindly he said yes! We discussed what we liked, sending photos from magazines of the kind of style and listened to a lot of Phil's recommendations. He sent us some drawings and we got the drawings from our architect to send into the council for planning permission.


The Building Work:


On the very first day of the builders starting our kitchen was all ripped out and conservatory dismantled, yay it had started! We tried to store all our things the best we could in other parts of the house to avoid everything getting dusty, all the internal doors were taped up and we covered all the big kitchen appliances and crates that were left at the back of the dining room in big dust sheets. Of course everything got dusty and it took a good couple of months to settle but who cares, we were transforming the house we'd bought into our dream home. 


A stud wall was put up in between the stairs and dining room to create a new hallway into the new open space at the back of the house. At first I was sceptical and thought it would be really dark and make the dining room too small but it's been a great choice as we didn't want the whole thing open from the front of the house and it helps keep some warmth in. 


As well as doing the internal building work, we were adding about 10ft to the back of our house so the builders had to dig out the existing patio and some of the grass to create room for the new footprint of the house and a new patio area further down the garden. It was a big job and we only had a tight sideway for diggers to come in and out of. I did feel bad for the neighbours ruining their summer with our noisy building work but we tried to make it up to them with wine when it was all finished and it's inevitable. 


Luckily the weather was kind most of the time, summer is the best time possible for this kind of building work as it can all be done a lot quicker if you don't have the elements to battle with. Supporting walls were removed so the house had to be propped up with props before it was ready for the steels to be fitted. 

We replaced all of the windows while we had the builders in to save on mess later on. We got rid of the plastic and added characterful wooden sash style that were double glazed to fit in with the rest of the street and if you know me at all you'll probably realise that I've got a real thing about wooden windows, they just look so much prettier.


It was exciting when the new walls started going up and we could see the new shape of our house. 






We asked for a small cloakroom to be built under the stairs, it seemed like a good use of space and having an extra toilet and a downstairs one is really handy. 


The patio was nearly finished and then the roof started to go on. We had two velux windows fitted in the roof to let more light in. 


Sometimes we'd visit and feel there was still soo much to do but we weren't in any real rush so didn't stress too much. I actually love living at my Mum and Dad's in their beautiful barn so it wasn't too much of a hardship! Plus no washing or cleaning for the whole summer!! We're super grateful to my parents. 


The plastering stage is when it felt like really good progress and not too much longer to go. Our builder left us a cute surprise one day with our initials left in the floor.




Yay the painting, electrics and flooring stage! We were almost there. We painted the walls in our favourite cream, Homebase Sanctuary in Cosy. I love Farrow and Ball colours but this cream just beats them all for some reason, it looks different in different lights, it's warm but not too dark or too magnolia, it's light but with just enough interest. And it paints so nicely. 


Ben laid all of the oak floor, waterproofed it and oiled it. Once we'd got to this stage it was time for the kitchen to be fitted! Ben's Uncle and Cousin drove it down all the way from Scotland in a big van in mid September. 

We had a bit of fun trying to get it in and ended up going through the neighbour's garden and having about five guys lifting the heavy parts. I was so crazy excited to see it as Phil hadn't sent us any photographs when it was in production! Needless to say I fell in love right away and the colours were perfect. 


We had a run of units with the sink and cooker in, a freestanding island and a housekeepers cupboard.


Phil paints all of his kitchens in Farrow and Ball. It wasn't easy choosing colours but in the end, with some advice from Phil, we opted for three different colours that tied in together. The island is Mouses Back, the Housekeeper's cupboard is Shaded White and the run of units is Skimming Stone. They're all creamy/greeny/grey's {depending on the light you're looking in} that work in the room really well.


Ben and his Uncle spent about a day installing it and cutting the oak worktop to size on top of it. 


They plumbed the sink in and we connected the lights, I was so happy at this stage. It was better than I'd ever imagined. 


We spent a few days finishing everything off and dusting everywhere! We then put up curtains {made by my a family friend out of Laura Ashley Austin Natural Fabric with a wooden pole from Dunelm}, unveiled the sofa {a John Lewis clearance buy} and started adding bits to make it feel homely. Ben tiled the kitchen with Laura Ashley Artisan tiles in Biscuit, available from Homebase. The extended area by the bifold doors has become a snug where you can sit and still be involved in the kitchen but equally look out over the garden. 


We hadn't decided about an extractor above the cooker when designing the kitchen but then found a wooden beam like shelf in an antique shop in Berkhamsted one day and it was the perfect fit above the cooker. Ben then built a fake chimney breast out of plasterboard for it to sit on and tiled behind the cooker. I love the finished look, a metal modern extractor would have looked out of place with the classic styled units.

I've always wanted pendant lights above an island and these are Petit Paris ones from Garden Trading. They're kind of a French vintage style and I love that they're cute without being too overpoweringly big. They do have bigger sizes for a single light but I thought three looked more effective.


I'm going to do a separate post on how Ben fitted the shelves above the sink, made out of scaffold boards. I love how they add some extra interest and break up a big cream wall. I display vintage cake stands and various other kitchenalia bits. We get complimented on them so much, they have a kind of industrial feel to them. 


We centered the crates on the new wall and added our new dining table {post here} with padded fabric chairs from Made.com and a wooden settle bench from an antiques market. We got another light from Garden Trading that matches the trio in the kitchen above the island. I love pendant lights.The fireplace was existing from the original dining room and the windows were fine, I just had blinds made. 

The understairs toilet works really well and I decorated it with a vintage world map and frameless 1930's mirror. 



After Photos:
{Excuse the pumpkins I took most of these photos on a sunny day around Halloween}


Where the old kitchen used to be now has a table and chairs under the new wooden window, a Roman blind made in the same fabric as the curtains, our Gorenje cream fridge freezer and the Housekeeper's cupboard - a big larder cupboard and it houses our microwave and washing machine.


I love how light the kitchen is and how essentially we have a kitchen with different zones off of it with the snug area, the dining room and the smaller everyday dining area. But equally they're all open, it's a lovely living space and we spend most of our time in this room. You can see where the new part of the house has been built, the new run of kitchen sits where the conservatory used to stand.




I got this wire heart display board from Graham and Green and keep various invites or photos on it depending on the season.


I've always dreamed of a kitchen island, it's great for storage with big cupboards but also for preparing food or just standing around chatting to friends. I like to have a big jug of fresh flowers or some kind of seasonal display and the latest magazines on top of it to stop it looking too plain.




The dining room is to the right of the kitchen, it feels cosy but still within the kitchen so it's sociable for cooking. I've talked about the dining table and the crates before.






I love hosting dinner parties, lighting all the candles and using seasonal flowers for decoration.


I had cushions made for the wooden settle to make it a bit comfier to sit on.

At the other end of the room is our snug area with a super comfy sofa and we've just recently had a log burner installed to make it extra cosy in the winter.


The cushions on the sofa are all from Dunelm. I change them seasonally with florals in the spring and summer but I love these tartan ones for the Autumn and Winter and the green goes with the greeny taupe shade of the kitchen island. I've posted about the crates with our wedding photos in before, here.

I stacked two old crates up next to the sofa to use as a side table and display case. I love their rustic look and I'm a bit crate obsessed. They hold some of my piles of magazines inside and candles and my dried wedding hydrangeas on top. The ice cream print framed above it is by Ros Shiers, I have another one by her by the sink which has vintage kitchen bits and baking on it. I saw her at the Country Living Fair but you can find her on Not on The High Street too.

In the summer we open the doors right up and it looks like this..


But in the winter we shut the curtains, light all the candles and cosy up. 



I love how the room is light and airy during the summer with the doors open but warm and cosy in the winter, especially now we've got a log burner. I got a throw to match the cushions from Dunelm too.


The log burner is a Chesney's Salisbury 4kw. If you're thinking about getting one I'd recommend having an expert coming round to discuss what size will be best for your room. Our sofa is fairly close so any stoves with a bigger output would have roasted us! It heats the room really nicely though and we don't need to put the heating on in here anymore. It's also so easy to light, even I can do it and it's so much more efficient than the open fire in our lounge. The flue pipe going up to the ceiling acts as a radiator pipe giving out more warmth to keep us toasty.




The back of the house looks so much better now with new windows and the brick extension coming out into the garden. You can see more photos of our garden in this post.


Opposite the sofa we have an antique blanket box that has the TV on top and some more of my favourite candles. The ladder back chair was purchased from an antique market, I love ladder backs. A typographic map of Great Britain stands behind it and I collect old stoneware vases like this one. This was from a car boot sale!


At the moment, with these dark cold evenings we pull the curtains, light a fire and binge on something like Orange is The New Black or Homeland. It's my favourite space in the house and our front lounge will only be used in December now when the Christmas tree is up! Despite having the loft room, Ben and I both tend to work in here as well as cooking, hosting dinner parties, having the doors open or sitting by the fire. Sorry for the long post, I'm actually writing this in Jamaica and looking at these photos is making me excited to be home soon!

If I've forgotten to write where something is from, just ask either in the comments or by email. Ben's uncle doesn't have a website for his bespoke kitchens and furniture but if you're interested I can give you his details.

R <3 xx

- You can also find more recent photos here.

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33 comments

  1. Your home should be featured in a magazine. It's all just fabulous! I love everything about this remodel. Your dining room is my dream dining room... so warm and cozy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, we were featured in Ideal Home this year - http://rosesandrolltops.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/makeover-that-day-when-ideal-home-came.html
      xxx

      Delete
  2. What a great blog! Your house is beautiful - it makes me want to start decorating and transforming my new house now! :)

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  3. Wow! The transformation you guys did to your house is just simply spectacular. I definitely agree that the conservatory has to go. The things that you guys did with the kitchen are extraordinary, if not magical. Kudos to you guys for the wonderful job! I hope all your future home improvement projects be as equally successful, if not more so! Thanks for sharing!

    Lynne Hollaran @ Suburban Glass

    ReplyDelete
  4. I found your blog when I was looking for a different sort of information but I was very happy and glad to read through your blog. The information available here is
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  5. Hi, Great transformation! Can I ask... how did you fit the scaffold shelves to the wall? They look lovely, especially without brackets showing. Would like to do similar.
    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you, because it's in an alcove you can drill them in with the scaffold metal bands as brackets. Hard to explain I'll have to ask my husband how he did it but that's the gist of it anyway! xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Rebecca

    Are you still planning to do a post on the scaffolding shelves in your kitchen - would love to know more about how you guys did them - they look gorgeous.
    Your whole house is gorgeous - especially the kitchen.
    Fabulous blog, really enjoy reding about your travels and home decor/DIY - thanks so much for sharing.
    Emma, xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes so sorry, coming on Monday! Thanks for reminding me and for reading. Have a lovely weekend xxx

      Delete
  8. Hi, I love your kitchen! Could you tell me where your cabinet furnishings are from? They are just the sort of thing we are after for our cabinets!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, thank you! My husband's Uncle makes bespoke kitchens up in Scotland, where do you live? I could send you his details? x

      Delete
  9. Wow! Your house is amazing. Each and every corner looks lovely. I love the view at the back of your house with the new windows and brick extension. The lights brought up a magical ambiance in there. You guys really did a great job in transforming your home. Thanks for giving us a lovely tour, Rebecca! Kudos and all the best!


    Bob Ward @ Allure Window Treatments

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello, I love what you've done to the kitchen and bay window at the front, and am hoping to do similar to a house in Berkhamsted but not sure where to start with local suppliers! Are you able to recommend your builder/ who did your windows? Thanks so much Claire x

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    Replies
    1. Hi Claire, ah I love Berkhamsted go there a lot. Our builder has stopped working for clients now and is employed full time so can't revommend him I'm afraid. Our windows were made by Quest joinery in Kings langley and also magnet. Hope you get sorted, Rebecca x

      Delete
  11. Hi Rebecca,

    I love your kitchen and house - it's just beautiful. I am in the middle of a new kitchen and wondered if you could let me know where your kitchen tiles are from and what colour they are? Kindest regards Abbi xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. They're Laura Ashley artisan tiles in cream x

      Delete
  12. Hi Rebecca - your house looks amazing. If its not too much bother could you please let me know the dimensions of your dining room on completion? I have a room next to my kitchen which looks a similar size and I'm considering taking the wall down to create a dining kitchen. Just not sure if I have enough room. Thanks Louise

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  14. Fantastic lady. Top of her game. We moved Rebecca and Ben today 22/03/2016. I would recommend this young lady to anyone. I've moved many many people/ couples. But couldn't wish for anyone better to help set up a new home. Rebecca and Ben are top of their game and would recommend them to anyone. They both pride themselves on what they do, And are very clever in their on right. They left a beautiful home that they both created to a new home that I can guarantee will be outstanding. Rebecca and Ben are extremely good at creating that WOW look and guarantee to leave you for smacked. All the best to you both and your new home. Regards Marc and the in-excess team. I really enjoyed the short time I spent with you both and you gave me some fantastic ideas that I will definitely put to use. All the best to you both. Regards Marc.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fantastic lady. Top of her game. We moved Rebecca and Ben today 22/03/2016. I would recommend this young lady to anyone. I've moved many many people/ couples. But couldn't wish for anyone better to help set up a new home. Rebecca and Ben are top of their game and would recommend them to anyone. They both pride themselves on what they do, And are very clever in their on right. They left a beautiful home that they both created to a new home that I can guarantee will be outstanding. Rebecca and Ben are extremely good at creating that WOW look and guarantee to leave you for smacked. All the best to you both and your new home. Regards Marc and the in-excess team. I really enjoyed the short time I spent with you both and you gave me some fantastic ideas that I will definitely put to use. All the best to you both. Regards Marc.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Will Leave you gob smacked. Sorry was a typo. All the best to you Rebecca and ben you were a fantastic couple and a pleasure to move move. Regards Marc.

    ReplyDelete
  17. If possible rebecca, would you be able to put that group photo of us on your web site would be really nice to see and give us all good memories of you both.

    ReplyDelete
  18. If possible rebecca, would you be able to put that group photo of us on your web site would be really nice to see and give us all good memories of you both.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I spent 18 years in construction before I became lorry driver and never In a million years thought you could do something so creative with scaffold boards. What a fantastic and clever idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marc!! We loved you so much. Thank you for yesterday. I'll be writing a post about moving and I left feedback on the Inexcess facebook page. Will post the photo across too! Such a lovely man I'm so glad we had you and the team!! xx

      Delete
  20. Fantastic lady. Top of her game. We moved Rebecca and Ben today 22/03/2016. I would recommend this young lady to anyone. I've moved many many people/ couples. But couldn't wish for anyone better to help set up a new home. Rebecca and Ben are top of their game and would recommend them to anyone. They both pride themselves on what they do, And are very clever in their on right. They left a beautiful home that they both created to a new home that I can guarantee will be outstanding. Rebecca and Ben are extremely good at creating that WOW look and guarantee to leave you for smacked. All the best to you both and your new home. Regards Marc and the in-excess team. I really enjoyed the short time I spent with you both and you gave me some fantastic ideas that I will definitely put to use. All the best to you both. Regards Marc.

    ReplyDelete
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  23. sorry if this has been asked before, but Sanctuary paints by Homebase have all been discontinued...so do you have any alternatives to the 'cosy' shade in your kitchen, as it looks so lovely in your pictures!

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  24. Lovely looking kitchen - have a question about the bifold doors, are they wooden ones? What size are they - which supplier would you recommend?

    ReplyDelete

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