Kitchen Tour: A Petite Terrace Gains Space Without Being Extended
Inspired spatial planning bagged this period worker’s cottage more room, generous storage and flexible open-plan living
Katie had had plans drawn up by an architect, but had reservations. So she asked Cathy to take a quick look. Cathy’s conclusion? “I told her, ‘I don’t think you need an extension. You already have the space you need.’”
Extension plans were scrapped and the designer reworked the layout, packing into the existing footprint the family kitchen/diner/living area/home office Katie wanted, along with a bijou boot room, a tiny utility and a wonderful sense of space.
Who lives here? Katie Lee, an interiors photographer, her husband, their two young daughters and Baxter the dog
Location Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear
Property A traditional Georgian worker’s terrace
Room dimensions It’s an L-shaped space: the kitchen is 4.2 x 2.6m; the dining area is 2.5 x 5.4m
Designer Cathy Dean of Cathy Dean Interior Design
Photos by Katie Lee
This view of the kitchen shows one of the many clever touches Cathy came up with to expand the sense of space in this small terrace. The patterned floor tiles run from the front door right down to the cloakroom and up the wall to form a splashback.
“We created this carpet of tiles running from front to back to make the space feel bigger,” she explains.
To allow for the splashback detail, the loo was repositioned. This also keeps it out of sight as you come into the house. “I always think there’s something awful about looking directly at a loo,” Cathy says. “We always try to make the view into each room beautiful.”
To open up the kitchen and dining room, Cathy took out the wall between them, creating a big L-shape rather than a closed galley kitchen.
Using just two main colours for the kitchen keeps the design simple, which also helps the room to look bigger.
Walls and base unit fronts painted in Polaris Blue, Benjamin Moore.
Choosing to not to extend made good financial sense. “Instead of spending money on digging foundations and so on,” Cathy says, “they could spend on the stuff they really wanted.”
This before photo shows the view into what is now the dining space.
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Copper is also a strong element in the design. “Katie loves copper,” Cathy says. “We chose to use it in an authentic, timeless way here by having it as the key metalwork rather than using it in lots of accessories.”
Hafele handles, More Handles.
She also packed in functionality and storage. Counterintuitively, she chose to shrink the room a little so as to build a false wall to house the tall cupboards seen here. These conceal shelving, the boiler and a TV. “This dining area has become a snuggly evening room for the parents while the children are watching television in the living room,” Cathy says.
On either side of the seating unit are full-height cupboards filled with pull-out baskets – one cupboard for each daughter and her own craft supplies. The storage beneath the bench was made by a joiner. “They’re very small cupboards but very useful,” Cathy says. “There are data sockets inside, so Katie can plug in her ethernet cable and edit photos on her laptop at the kitchen table.”
Katie and her husband already owned the table. “We considered getting a new one, but this is actually an Ercol one, so we stripped it and painted the legs,” Cathy says.
Craft storage cupboards, Ikea with bespoke fronts. Chairs, Danetti. Bench upholstered in linen woven with copper, Robert Allen. Breezin copper wallpaper, Tektura. Table legs and ceiling painted in Shoreline, Benjamin Moore.
The kitchen is to the right of the desk, and its full-height units are part of this same built-out wall. The thinking was that the 60cm deep units would appear less imposing if they weren’t entirely visible. The wall allows around 30cm of them to protrude.
All the kitchen carcasses are Ikea, but the fronts were made bespoke and had the diamond pattern routed into the wood to mirror the pattern in the floor tiles.
The worktops, end panels and tall cupboard doors are all marine ply. An induction hob boosts the prep area. “You can use the rest of the hob as a worktop even when you’re using one pan on it,” Cathy says. “It also looks more seamless.”
Above the toaster, concealed above the wall niche, is the kitchen extractor. The owners didn’t want to blow their budget on appliances, but rather spend it on beautiful finishing, so chose not to have a big cooker hood.
“An extractor doesn’t need to be over the hob for building regs,” Cathy says, “you just need extraction in the room. It’s about choosing the aesthetic over the immediate removal of cooking smells and, unless you’re doing deep-fat frying, you generally don’t need it to be extracting that quickly.”
“I’m always talking clients out of having big American-style fridge-freezers,” Cathy says. “We wanted a kitchen that didn’t look like a kitchen.”
The wall on the left has been bumped further to the left; this makes the living room behind it a touch smaller, but creates a roomier entrance to the house.
Cathy also replaced the two doors that were originally at either end of this wall with sliding pocket doors, meaning the owners can choose to go open-plan or cosy in an instant.
What are your favourite space-expanding tips from this reconfigured ground floor? Share your thoughts in the Comments section.