Don't move, improve!

September 11, 2017


I'm so excited to be a part of this fantastic new group and am a little nervous about my first ever blog post, but this project is one worth sharing! The story of a client who says ‘Yes Yes Yes’ and gets on board with all elements of the design.

I met Katie several months before I began working with her, she is a photographer and kindly did a shoot for me. Then, one evening I received a text, Katie and her husband Kev had decided they were never going to move house, but their house wasn’t quite working for them.

Over the previous few months they'd been looking into extending, they'd had some plans back but they just couldn't work out how they'd use the space and the extension alone was eating up over 75% of their budget. Cue my usual mantra of 'it is not always about getting more space, but instead clever use of space that makes a home work'. I said I'd pop over for a cuppa...

I visited Katie’s lovely home and immediately could see the appeal, but its layout didn't work - I could see why they thought they needed more space!

We chatted for a long while so I could understand their needs and their design aspirations, then I scrapped any plans to extend & set off to create them a home they could love within their budget!  


We revised the tiny hallway and instead created a corridor leading to a walk in cloak cupboard under the stairs. But this corridor is flexible, it can be there when you want it but with the use of some sliding doors you can create an open plan space.

The dining room and long galley kitchen were combined and zones within that space make it work as a kitchen, a workspace, a dining room and a secondary living space. To help with the narrow kitchen we will create a stud partition and sink the tall cabinets and workspace into the wall creating the illusion that it is wider.

Finally, the current utility/loo/storage room of doom will become a dedicated utility and storage space for photography equipment as well as offering additional cloak space. And the downstairs loo, well everyone visits it so let's make it extra special.

Convinced on layout we moved on to design.

I devised a scheme that challenged them a little and deviated from their brief, but it would be worth it. The design hinged around "a carpet of tiles", and a very bold use of colour. She fell in love! He did too! The result of them being bold and daring has created a phenomenal space….


Katie and Kev had expressed a love of a patterned tile and by using them as a ‘carpet’ we managed to make the house seem endlessly long.


The diamond patterning of the tile lead me to then have these diamond patterned cabinet doors made by my fantastic carpenter and Katie’s love of ply is clear with the extra thick worktop, shelves and the tall cabinet doors all created and placed onto the humble Ikea carcass. It’s my best Ikea hack to date!

At the end of this beautiful carpet there stands the downstairs cloakroom, where we have made a functional object a beautiful feature with the tiles, copper tap and ply top vanity unit making this space something special and creating a cohesive look through the space.

Kev & Katie were sick of having to listen to their twin daughters TV shows in the lounge and they wanted two spaces to relax in. It is not a big enough house to create a second lounge, but I created a multi use space in the dining area and it works a treat! Soft seating doubles as dining seating by day and then by night you can open the sliding doors at the end of the table to reveal the hidden TV and it becomes a comfy sofa.


Have I mentioned the copper yet? Well wow was that fun! We used it as a feature throughout the house, and it is stunning, light switches, lights, towel rails, taps, wallpaper, kettle, it is the metal of choice to work with this dark scheme and ties the whole house together.

Another sneaky stud wall partition creates a home office area with the beautiful Copper wallpaper by Tektura works as a backdrop to the recessed areas.


So, that’s the kitchen/diner/second lounge/workspace sorted, next to tackle the tiny hallway!

The under stairs area was opened up fully and another of Kev and Katie’s ‘design wishes’ was realised with these fantastic plywood doors. The humble under stairs cupboard has become the solution to a multitude of storage needs.



Oh, and did I mention the nifty sliding pocket doors? A corridor when you want it to be and an open plan lounge when you don’t – cool huh! It’s amazing what some clever stud wall partitioning can achieve.



The living room doesn’t disappoint either, the ply and copper continues into this room too with plywood shelving creating a log store and some rather beautiful Erica Wakerley paper adding glamour (and a touch of copper of course) to the walls.



Finally, let me take you outside, the back yard was a forgotten space – a car park and spot to dump items, but a space you look at every day should make you happy, so a simple makeover, a fence, some gravel and a fantastic colour later the view from their kitchen is something to enjoy now!



Huge thanks to Cathy Dean, based in Northumberland for a fantastic write up and to Katie and Kev for letting us share your beautifully designed home. We will be back with more design inspiration soon. In the meantime, let us know what you guys thinks of this project. We love it!


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