A self-confessed super fan of TV’s Grand Designs, Averil Chatterley was already full of good ideas when she got the keys to a 1930s detached house in Leeds that was in need of modernisation.
After tackling the expensive but hidden essentials, including new plumbing and electrics, she and her husband turned their attention to the kitchen.
With a low ceiling, spotlights and a small window, it was less than ideal for the couple and their two children.
“The small window overlooked the garden but if I wanted to see the view, I had to eat my morning toast while standing by the kitchen bin,” says Averil, who decided that a big solution was needed.
The result was an extension that houses a large dining kitchen with doors leading to a playroom for the couple’s two children.
Large areas of glazing, including windows running above the sink and an extra large set of full-height sliding glass doors leading onto the garden flood the kitchen with natural light and a lovely outlook.
The biggest challenge was finding the perfect kitchen cabinets. “I didn’t want a white gloss kitchen and Shaker-style units were too traditional for me. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, just that I’d know it when I saw it,” says Averil.
After visiting various kitchen specialists with no success, she was getting despondent until a trip to Arlington Interiors at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley led her to “the one”.
“After visiting so many kitchen showrooms, I dropped in without any expectations and saw a kitchen by Kuhlmann with contemporary doors that look like a picture frame. I immediately thought it would be too expensive for us and it was. It turned out I had champagne tastes and a prosecco budget,” she says.
Arlington Interiors kitchen design specialist Hayley Reid managed to cut the cost of the dream scheme that she had created for the Chatterleys by taking some elements out and suggesting less expensive options to make the project more affordable.
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They included removing the sill on the window above the sink, which looks much sleeker and better,” says Averil, who had a choice of RAL colours for the cabinets.
She was torn between a safe dark blue and a more adventurous teal and opted for the latter, which isn’t commonly used.
She summed up the courage after taking advice from Leeds-based interior designer Karen Knox, of Making Spaces.
“Karen was fantastic. She has great ideas and is really reasonably priced. She had already helped me design the living room and I asked her for advice on the colour scheme for the kitchen. The first thing she said was ‘show me one thing in your house that’s blue’. I showed her a teal-coloured chair and, of course, that was it. It was obvious,” says Averil.
Karen also came up with the idea of putting an orange stripe on the ceiling over the dining table, which runs down the wall on one side, and Averil admits: “The orange and teal colour scheme is very me but I wouldn’t have got there without Karen. She took my nuggets of ideas and polished them up and gave me confidence, lots of design inspiration and guidance.”
The light bulbs over the John Lewis dining table are from Redbrick Mill, Batley, and the cords they hang from are by Dowsing & Reynolds, which has a store in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds.
The flooring is engineered oak parquet.
The unit handles, sink and tap are in copper while the appliances are in black and the quartz worktops are white. The Elica hob is inset in the island worktop and features an in-built downdraught extractor.
“It’s much neater than an extractor hood and takes the steam and smells down through a pipe that leads outside. It is really effective,” says Averil.
A bank of full-height cabinets gives a great deal of storage space, while housing the fridge freezer and the ovens. They also draw the eye to the vaulted ceiling and skylight above the island.
The very cleverly designed island has a breakfast bar with stools, a drop-down gin bar and a panel clad in parquet to match the flooring.
“I love the island because it is higher at the front than the back so people can sit there and chat with you while you cook but they can’t see the mess you are making. I specifically asked for that because I am a messy cook and Hayley got the design just right,” says Averil.
“Richard, Arlington Interiors kitchen fitter, was also a perfectionist, which is exactly what you want. I couldn’t be happier with the kitchen. It works so well and it feels fantastic.
Arlington Interiors, Farsley, www.arlington-interiors.co.uk; Making Spaces, Leeds, www.making-spaces.net