Kitchen makeover: ‘My compact kitchen is full of country style’

Louise Lingwood transformed a cramped, galley-style kitchen into a light and bright room filled with plenty of beautiful vintage finds

Kitchen makeover: 'My compact kitchen is full of country style'

Shortly after moving to a beautiful Victorian cottage in Bushey, Hertfordshire, Louise had a career shift from working in the NHS to becoming a seller of all things vintage.

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This cosy cottage feeling and preloved vibe are elements that inspired Louise’s classic kitchen makeover.

Being a huge fan of pastel green and white, Louise selected this gentle colour scheme for her kitchen-diner
Being a huge fan of pastel green and white, Louise selected this gentle colour scheme for her kitchen-diner

When Louise embarked on her revamp, it presented a testing challenge – how to fit everything into such a compact space.

‘Cost was a major factor so I didn’t want to rebuild the kitchen, and also extending the rear of the space would have caused loss of light in the middle of the house, which has happened in neighbouring homes. I didn’t want to lose precious garden space either’.

Welcome to my home…

Who lives here? Louise Lingwood, a vintage homeware seller at My Little Vintage (mlvintage.co.uk) and lover of period houses (@loveandlilac) lives in a two-bedroom, 1890s Victorian cottage in Bushey, Hertfordshire. 

What do you like most about your new kitchen? I love how the colours of the painted cupboards seem to subtly change according to the time of day and the amount of sunlight in the room. 

Louise Lingwood

However, the space wasn’t the only issue Louise faced. ‘The previous kitchen was very outdated and much too small,’ she says. ‘When the former dark wooden base units were ripped out, they uncovered crumbling Victorian walls that were in such an awful state that they required rebuilding – this was something I hadn’t budgeted for.’

Louise has continued her pastel green and cream cottage theme into the dining room to create an airy interior with a sense of space
Louise has continued her pastel green and cream cottage theme into the dining room to create an airy interior with a sense of space

To keep costs down, Louise sourced all of the appliances herself, from the mini range cooker to the ironmongery and, where she could, she supported independent shops, too.

Louise made the most of her space with floor- to-ceiling units on the right of her kitchen, which freed up room on the left for worktop preparation and a rail to hang utensils
Louise made the most of her space with floor-to-ceiling units on the right of her kitchen, which freed up room on the left for worktop preparation and a rail to hang utensils

She chose her shaker-style units in a local shop called Country Life Interiors. ‘I was looking for a rustic kitchen with a classic timeless appeal – the sort you might find in a Georgian house with a butler sink and light painted units,’ she says. ‘I love my Gorenje fridge-freezer too, but it was such a struggle to fit it into the tiny corner of my kitchen. The fridge door got in the way of the entrance step, but this was remedied by my builder.’

A bit more about my home…

My design advice Kitchens are an expensive investment, so I chose classic country cabinets that wouldn’t date. Glass cabinets are ideal for displaying my green and white kitchen collection, too. 

My money saving tips I would recommend choosing well-made cabinets and top-quality paint that will last, but hunt around for less expensive integrated appliances. 

Kitchen makeover: 'My compact kitchen is full of country style'

By cutting back the protruding step by a few inches, the door could be fully opened. Louise decided to decorate her new kitchen with a fresh, country look.

‘I was looking for a rustic kitchen with a classic timeless appeal' explains Louise
‘I was looking for a rustic kitchen with a classic timeless appeal’ explains Louise

‘You can’t beat green and white for a spring-like scheme,’ says Louise. ‘Some people collect great art, I collect great kitchenalia! The white milk glass spice jars are from California – Ventura and San Juan Capistrano are two of my favourite vintage hunting grounds.’

A Belfast sink teamed with a traditional dual-lever tap is a pretty and practical choice for Louise’s Victorian cottage
A Belfast sink teamed with a traditional dual-lever tap is a pretty and practical choice for Louise’s Victorian cottage

Louise’s rear window looks out onto the garden, and she’s pleased that she didn’t extend the kitchen into this space. ‘There really is something timeless about a cottage garden – I’m so proud of mine’.

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Feature Natalie Flaum. Photos Alison Hammond. 

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?