Kitchen diner makeover: ‘Our kitchen diner has a vintage Victorian vibe!’

Take a look inside Kate's impressive Victorian-inspired kitchen diner, a labour of love finished off with antique accessories

Taking time to hunt for antique accessories, Kat Wagstaff enjoyed the slow process of renovating her kitchen-diner.

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Here, she tells us all about her makeover experience!

Kat’s makeover experience

When we first moved here, the ground floor was so un-family-friendly that we knew we’d have to extend. The tiny kitchen was across the hall from the other downstairs room, where we’d put a small dining table, so whoever was cooking was isolated from the rest of the family.

‘I initially considered a black kitchen but worried the room would look too black and white, which wasn’t what I wanted, so I chose these painted Stately units. The dark grey actually has a hint of blue that adds a touch of warmth and colour. The rug is from Dunelm and we made the shelves out of spare wood we found in the garage’
‘I initially considered a black kitchen but worried the room would look too black and white, which wasn’t what I wanted, so I chose these painted Stately units. The dark grey actually has a hint of blue that adds a touch of warmth and colour. The rug is from Dunelm and we made the shelves out of spare wood we found in the garage’

I longed for an open-plan kitchen-diner, but we needed to save up first, so we just lived with what we had for a couple of years. When work finally started, I decided I didn’t want white goods taking up precious space, so we converted the old kitchen into a utility room.

Welcome to our home…

A bit about me I’m Kat Wagstaff, a stay-at-home mum @little_rose_house. I live with my husband, Ian, our children, Darcy Rose, seven, Beatrice May, four, and our rabbit, Frosty. We live in Burbage, Leicestershire. 

My problem kitchen The kitchen was originally really tiny, with just a couple of ugly orange pine cupboards and hardly any work surface. It was a struggle just having myself and my husband in there, and there was definitely no room for a dining table.

Kat Wagstaff

The builders kept the original cooker and sink working for as long as they could, but there was a time when I had neither, and it was tricky to manage, especially with two small children.

‘I wanted to break this wall up with something eye-catching, and for the kids to have something fun to look at while eating at the table. This oversized jungle wall hanging from Love Frankie feels like a window to the outside’
‘I wanted to break this wall up with something eye-catching, and for the kids to have something fun to look at while eating at the table. This oversized jungle wall hanging from Love Frankie feels like a window to the outside’

Also, when the builders put the props in to extend the back, all the plaster came down in my daughter’s room and I did wonder whether we were doing the right thing. But the builder was amazing and repaired everything, and things started getting better!

A bit more about our home…

How I made it work We knew we had to make the space more family-friendly, so we decided to extend the back of the house to create a large kitchen-diner. Everything took time, as we had to save to do each part of the work. 

My favourite part I love the cosy vintage vibe I’ve created, using lots of gorgeous pre-loved furniture and accessories. By choosing not to have an island I feel like there’s a lot of space for us to spread out and enjoy being in the room together as a family.

Kat Wagstaff

We chose the cabinets from Sheppards DIY, a small family-run company, and I sat with its kitchen planner to create the design. I liked the symmetry of cupboards either side of the cooker, and I wanted large corner base units, as I prefer to have pots and pans hidden, rather than on display.

Screenshot 2021-11-23 at 13.54.04
‘I get lots of stuff on Facebook Marketplace. It can take a while to find what I want, but I’m happy to wait. This table was £50 and the chairs were only £30 for all four. The gold tray is from IKEA and adds a bit of sparkle to the table’

The floor was then bare concrete for a year while we saved again to buy tiles, but I’m thrilled with the final result. I feel quite emotional when I think about what we’ve achieved. Although it’s taken time, as we had to save as we went along, I appreciate it all the more because of that!

Kat’s style advice

Buy second-hand

‘Vintage stores, antique fairs and charity shops are a treasure trove of characterful, unique pieces that cost far less than buying new, and often support a good cause.

I enjoy thinking about the history of a pre-loved piece, and recycling and reusing furniture and accessories is something I like doing. This chest of drawers was only £20 and it’s now full of Play-Doh. The candelabra is from 1010 Vintage and the peacock fireguard was a lucky find in a British Red Cross charity shop.’

Create a cosy look

‘This part of the house is the modern new-build, and it was quite box-like to start with, so I wanted to make it feel more worn and lived-in.

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The cream, distressed-effect tiles break up the white walls to stop the room feeling stark and too monochrome, and the warm, textured floor tiles are my nod to the Victorian flagstones that I’ve seen in old photos. I found the original Fry’s advert while on holiday in The Old Forge Antiques in Swanage.’

Be ready to compromise

‘A small budget brings hard decisions. I’d have loved a Belfast sink but solid wood or granite worktops, which it would need to sit on, were too expensive.

I’m really pleased with these cost-effective wood-effect laminate worktops as they are easier to maintain than real wood. The black sink complements the rest of the room and helps bring my look together. This old bread bin, from charity shop Emmasus, holds loads of food and fits with the room’s vintage vibe.’

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Feature Lisa Moses. Photos Katie Jane Watson.