Knocking through to create space

'By knocking through we now have a great social space': Suzi and Peter Curtis remodelled their old cramped kitchen-dining room to create a stylish open-plan area for entertaining, as well as making the most of their garden views. Soft pastel shades help achieve the overall effect of space and light in the new kitchen.

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The problem

‘When we first moved in, we felt that the kitchen was too cramped and narrow and there was only one small window looking out on to the garden. What we really wanted was an openplan space with plenty of light.’

What we did

‘I wanted to be able to work in the kitchen and to see the garden at the same time. We immediately saw the potential to create a more social area, which meant we wouldn’t be isolated in there while everyone else was in the dining room. We wanted to be able to entertain while cooking.

‘So we decided to redesign the space to give the kitchen and adjoining dining room a light and airy, open-plan layout.

Fact file

The owners: Suzi Curtis, a hairdresser, and her husband Peter, who is retired

‘I had a firm idea of what I wanted to do and I knew the space had potential as the kitchen and dining room both looked on to the south-facing garden.

‘We called in a local surveyor to draw up a plan to start the ball rolling. We decided to get builders in to do all the hard labour, but we designed the layout ourselves. It was helpful to draw it out on large pieces of paper on the floor first, so we could see how the space would work.

‘We installed bi-folding doors along the back of the house to replace the windows that looked on to the garden, and removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room. We also blocked off the existing entrance to the kitchen to create a new flow into the dining room, making an open-plan space.

‘The plan was also to place the units and working area at the back of the kitchen to replace the arched breakfast room, as well as creating a more casual seating area at the other end, with a more formal dining table introduced into the dining area.

‘Choosing the right kitchen was difficult. I knew I wanted a light, openplan living space but without a typical conservatory feel. Most kitchen companies I visited provided a very rigid design that didn’t look any different from the existing layout.

‘It was our builder who suggested that we have a kitchen made, but I thought it would be far too expensive. He recommended a local bespoke furniture company, which made solid-wood kitchens.

‘We went to look at one they had recently fitted and I loved it – not only was it made of solid wood, but I was told I could have mine painted in any colour I wanted.

‘What took us by surprise was that it worked out to be cheaper than any other kitchen company I had approached. It also gave me the flexibility to design it myself. So I designed it and Peter then had to measure up the space. The handmade, freestanding units were fitted by our builder. It was quite a daunting task taking the measurements ourselves, but Peter did a brilliant job.

‘I’m thrilled with the kitchen now. It’s so light and spacious, and the sun streams in, which is a joy compared with how it used to be.

‘It’s now an ideal space for entertaining as I can cook and friends and family can sit and chat. We can all congregate here: it’s a very sociable part of the house.’


Fixtures, fittings & appliances£10,194
Furniture & accessories£584
Walls & floor£5,492