Modernising a dated kitchen

Creating a practical, family-friendly space was key for Paul and Jane Freedman when they came to redesign their cluttered kitchen. The couple have re-organised their storage space and opened up the room to create more light and space.

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Jane and Paul Freedman have redesigned their cluttered kitchen, opening up the space and changing the layout to create a moder, family-friendly space with lots of storage and bespoke painted units.

Jane and Paul FreedmanFact file

The owners: Jane Freedman, who is a managing director of a television company, and her husband Paul, a financial director, live here with their children, Billy, 11, and Joe, eightThe property: A six-bedroom Edwardian terraced houseThe location: Stroud, GloucestershireWhat they spent: The couple’s kitchen project cost around £34,000

‘When Jane and I viewed our Edwardian house, we knew the kitchen would need to be gutted completely and started again from scratch,’ says Paul.

‘The galley-style kitchen itself was part of an L-shaped family room, with a chaotic storage system which just wasn’t practical. It was also hard for us to keep an eye on our two boys while we were cooking, so we wanted to remodel the space into a more family-friendly layout,’ he continues.

The kitchen and dining area were divided by a chimney breast with a 1950s-style concrete-tiled fireplace. There was a short passageway leading into the hallway, a remnant from the original Edwardian layout when this part of the house had been five small rooms before the previous owners turned it into a large L-shaped space.

It was three years after they moved in, however, before the couple decided to tackle the kitchen project. Paul and Jane’s plans for the new space involved removing the dividing chimney breast and passageway to the hallway to create a larger open-plan space. They also decided to replace the ceiling because the existing one was in a poor condition.

When the builders were called in, they also blocked up the external door leading to the garden to make space for the new units. A window further along the wall was converted into a new external door, which improved the layout. To bring more light into the space, a window above the sink was increased in size.

‘We upgraded the central heating system at the same time, and the builders re-routed all the pipework so that it would be concealed,’ says Paul.

As the kitchen project involved major renovations over a period of three months, Paul and Jane decided to rent a house across the road while the builders started on the work.

In addition to the structural changes, the builders created an alcove for the fridgefreezer, increased the depth of the fireplace opening to accommodate a wood-burning stove, laid French oak flooring and installed a new radiator in a different position.

When it came to choosing their new kitchen, the couple commissioned Woodchester Cabinet Makers to design, produce and fit the units.

‘I’d seen the company’s work van outside a house nearby and liked the idea of a local company making a kitchen to our specifications,’ says Paul.

Paul and Jane decided on a Shaker-style kitchen with hand-painted units. Cleverly designed to maximise storage space, the units include two separate sets of waste and recycling drawers, a pull-out corner unit and six handy pan drawers, which are also used for cutlery, dried foods and various jars and bottles.

The worktops and upstands are made from European walnut, and the walls and ceiling have been painted pale grey to complement the stainless steel appliances.

‘Woodchester Cabinet Makers supplied the range cooker and extractor, plus the microwave and wine fridge,’ says Paul. ‘We had already bought a new dishwasher and fridge-freezer, and we brought the taps with us from our previous house.’

The focus of the redesigned family area is the large beech-topped dining table, which Paul reveals he bought for only £60 in a Habitat sale. ‘It had been in their staff canteen,’ he explains. Flanked by six classic bentwood chairs, it’s the perfect place for us to relax and enjoy meals together.’

The new wood-burning stove takes pride of place in the refurbished fireplace, which now has a hearth of black basalt tiles. A series of artworks on the walls provides the finishing touches.

‘This room used to be a very disjointed space, but we’ve managed to turn it into the heart of our home,’ says Paul. ‘Our two sons, Billy and Joe, enjoy spending time in here, so it’s the centre of activity too.’

The costs

Kitchen units, including fitting£16,200
Worktops and upstands£3,000
Furniture and accessories£2,463
Walls and flooring£2,084
Fixtures and fittings£1,939
Sink and taps£1,017