Kitchen makeover Sleek and streamlined

When they bought their two-bedroom house 15 years ago, Jill and Andrew Kemp knew that with two young daughters, they were going to eventually need extra space. The house transformation began with a new conservatory and a large extension to give them four bedrooms. But it became clear quite quickly that the kitchen layout wasn’t working. ‘It was really cramped, and when we had people over I had to keep asking them to move on down the kitchen, because the cooker was right by the door,’ explains Jill. It was time to make a bold move to tackle the problem. The original layout of two rooms, with an external lean-to, had to go.

They got in touch with Sarah Reeve-Daly at Alon Interiors. ‘With Sarah’s design input, we have managed to create a fabulous space that works for all the family. We demolished the lean-to and dividing wall, which has opened up the room to create a much-larger kitchen space,’ says Jill. Central to the design is an island, which Jill loves. ‘It’s great for parties as I can put all the food and drinks out; we regularly entertain and have 25 guests for dinner, and now I can easily serve 10 dishes at a time,’ she says. Another clever touch was managing to fit in a breakfast bar and replacing an outdated fireplace.

Originally, Jill had wanted a classic look, but fell in love with the sleek, dark-oak units and glass. ‘I wanted everything above the tops to be light.’ Jill and Andrew didn’t have a huge budget, so they decided to spend less on floor tiles and use mid-range appliances to keep costs down. Jill wanted a range cooker as she makes the most of the double ovens and grill when she has big numbers to cater for.

The build took 10 weeks to complete and went very smoothly, although it slightly disrupted family life. Jill is used to having builders in the house, yet still found it quite difficult to adapt. ‘Our kitchen is the hub of the home and we were camping in our conservatory with a trestle table, a fridge and a microwave. But it was only for a short time and in the end it was all worth it – the kitchen works beautifully for us now,’ she says.

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