This gold-standard kitchen was worth the 13-year wait

Fed up with their outdated 1930s house, Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn it into a stylish family home

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home
(Image credit: Bee Holmes)

When our homes meet our needs, they can bring us ultimate joy — but when they don’t work for our busy lives, they can bring unwanted stress. This is the lesson that Shazia and Scott Hemmens learned during lockdown, when they realised their house was letting down their family...

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The owners Shazia Hemmens, (@three_dragons_in_e11 (opens in new tab)), a company director, her husband, Scott, a consultant, and their sons, Easah and Idirs
The property A four-bed 1930s terrace in Wanstead, East London
Project cost £192,000

Their home felt cramped and claustrophobic, so they rejigged the ground floor layout to transform the kitchen and restore a sense of calm. Shazia reveals how they raced to finish, ready to host a family Christmas. 

Before

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

The back of the house was split into two, with dated French doors as the access to the garden

(Image credit: Shazia and Scott Hemmens)

"When we moved into our terrace in 2008, we inherited the traditional 1930s layout, including a small kitchen, a separate dining room and front living room. The décor hadn’t been touched since the 1990s and it had mahogany windows and red feature walls, so it felt very gloomy. The floorboards were rotting in places and the house was poorly insulated — we were always freezing.  We were focused on starting a family, so lived with it for 13 years."

After

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

As part of Loud Architects’ design, large bi-folding doors were installed across the back of the house. Rather than go for more expensive slim frames, they went for a less expensive option to save money, which was put towards the bespoke kitchen. Visofold 1000 bi-fold doors, Forma (opens in new tab). Outside tiling, Topps Tiles (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Bee Holmes)

"During lockdown, the house felt suffocating and it became obvious that we couldn’t live like this anymore. It took us a while to secure a remortgage to pay for renovations, but eventually we managed to secure the funds to create a better home for us all."

Before

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

The décor hadn't been touched since the 1990s, with mahogany windows and doors which made rooms feel dark

(Image credit: Shazia and Scott Hemmens)

"I’m an active member in local community groups and I saw Kate Clare from Loud Architects had posted in one advertising her services. She offered a complete design package, including an interior design service. Kate made her costings transparent and offered to adjust her designs to fit within our means, as we had to stick to a strict budget."

After

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

A range cooker with two ovens and a grill is perfect for cooking large family meals. The brass shelving was made by the kitchen company. Range cooker and extractor, both Rangemaster (opens in new tab). Brass wall lights, Pooky (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Bee Holmes)

"We chatted about our 'must-haves'. We wanted an innovative design but also a practical space that would be child-friendly for our two boys. We wanted a kitchen that opened onto the garden, a social dining area, and a snug area for movie nights. Once Kate had the measurements of our house, she got to work on the plans."

Before

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

The old kitchen, with its white gloss units and wood-look work surfaces, was serviceable but narrow

(Image credit: Shazia and Scott Hemmens)

"My neighbours had warned me that planning approval can be tricky to obtain, but after a few tweaks to the original design, it was granted! Kate sent out our plans to tender to several building firms. We couldn’t afford to move out and struggled to find a build team that’d be happy with us living on site. Luckily, Mark Smith from Forma London was cool with this set up."

After

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

Shazia’s design brief was to create a kitchen packed with innovative ideas that would stay looking clutter-free while being practical for a young family. Kitchen, worktop and brass kickstand, both Bluecrow (opens in new tab). Kitchen painted in Obsidian Green, Little Greene (opens in new tab). Pendant lights, Spark & Bell (opens in new tab). Flooring, Havwoods (opens in new tab). Walls painted in Strong White, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Bee Holmes)

"In July 2021, our site manager set up an office in our garden, and his team made us a temporary kitchen in a corner of the hallway. I was washing dishes in the bath but we saved thousands by staying put. Each week they’d update us on the build progress and submitted monthly financial reports, so we could keep track of the spend."

Before

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

The old dining room needed a remodel, and the fireplace had to go!

(Image credit: Shazia and Scott Hemmens)

"Our build went really smoothly; by mid-July, the dining room fireplace was knocked out and flooring ripped up. In late August, they’d dug the external foundations. The only delay we had was when bad weather prevented the poured concrete from drying out."

After

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

The former dining room has now been transformed into a cosy snug space for the whole family to use. Sofa, Swyft (opens in new tab). Tassel cushions, Graham & Green (opens in new tab). Rugs, Made. Coffee table, Cox & Cox (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Bee Holmes)

"By the end of September, the bi-fold doors and skylights were fitted, and the electrics installed. In October, the plastering and painting was completed, and the underfloor heating and herringbone flooring fitted. By the end of the month, our bespoke kitchen units were slotted into place over a period of three days."

Contacts

Architect Kate Clare of Loud Architecture (opens in new tab)
Construction Forma London (opens in new tab)
Kitchen Bluecrow Joinery (opens in new tab)

"I’d ordered our furniture to arrive early November, so for a few weeks we were living among boxes. Buying everything online was stressful because it was difficult to visualise how things would look in an unfinished kitchen. Luckily, we only had to make a small alteration to one of the light fittings."

Shazia and Scott Hemmens took drastic action to turn their their outdated 1930s house into a stylish family home

Picked up over the years from travels, the walls are filled with artwork by Pakistani and Indian artists. Art work by HateCopy (opens in new tab), Shehzil Malik (opens in new tab), Amita Sher-Gil and Dave Buonaguidi  (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Bee Holmes)

"Although living on a building site for months on end wasn’t ideal, the end result was worth all the disruption. We got our home back for Christmas, and we had the best time hosting our extended family. The central island is where we all gather during family get-togethers. And during quiet moments, I love nothing more than perching on a bar stool with a cuppa, soaking in the view over the garden."

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Maxine is a freelance interior stylist and writer. She can be found blogging on her site We Love Home, where she covers the latest trends and her own projects in her Victorian terrace in Brighton where she lives with her dog Teddy.

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