Kitchen makeover: 'I made the kitchen the heart of the house'
Lily Coles completely redesigned the kitchen in her Victorian terrace to emulate the feel of her restaurateur parents’ home
Lily Coles almost didn’t buy this house because of its original kitchen. It was a dark, narrow galley with no space for a table. Having grown up in a family ‘big on food’, she wanted her kitchen to be the centre of her house.
The solution was an extension, with skylights and bifold doors leading out to the garden.
The new design would give her a room she could spend time in all year long, with space to entertain and cook with the produce she grows at home.
‘It was so difficult to know where to start as I like so many different interior styles,’ says Lily.
Welcome to my homeWho lives here? Lily Coles, a renewable engineer, has lived alone in her two-bedroom Victorian terrace in east Reading since 2012.
What’s your favourite thing about this room? ‘The most concerning thing for me about the original room was that there was no space for a kitchen table, which was my only must. I come from a foodie family and love to cook.’
‘I started to see a pattern emerge in my references for dark grey and black units, with modern, bright Scandi touches.
‘I also reasoned that this look goes with everything so it meant I had a bit more freedom with the rest of the kitchen.’
Lily approached several local builders for quotes and eventually chose David Bressington Building Services.
‘They were a bit more expensive,’ she says. ‘But I knew they would care about the project and pay a lot of attention to the details. Because it was my first big decoration project, and I’d never had a reason to think about details such as what colour windows and skirting boards should be, or where the light switches should go, they were a great support.’
More about the makeoverWhat did you learn during the process? ‘Be brave and do your research. As I grew in confidence, I realised there was more I could have asked for at the beginning. The builders I chose to work with were very accommodating to my small, last-minute requests, such as moving a stud wall to make more space for a utility area.’
The renovation took four months, lasting from January to May 2015, and Lily moved out while the work was underway. It took around four weeks longer than the builders originally estimated because of some issues with party wall extractor fans.
It meant Lily couldn’t build as high as she’d originally planned, but the builders switched the position of the kitchen to solve the problem.
‘I actually prefer it this way,’ says Lily. ‘I hardly use the rest of the house anymore,’ she enthuses. ‘The light in here is amazing – it’s bright and airy in the summer and cosy in the winter. I now feel claustrophobic in other kitchens with only a window!’
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‘I love gardening and growing my own veg now, as the garden feels like it’s part of the house. Getting home, opening the doors and picking fresh veg and herbs from the garden for supper never gets boring!
‘My whole life is in this kitchen now and I wouldn’t change a thing.’