Before and After: This Kitchen Redo is a Perfect Blend of Modern and Traditional

updated Feb 8, 2020
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Credit: Angie Barron

Raise your hand if you’ve ever lived somewhere where the design wasn’t exactly right for you, but you knew you could live with it. Pretty much everyone, right?

That was also the case for Angie Barron and her partner, Karl. The previous owners of their UK home had built an extension in 2009 with a totally new kitchen filled with Shaker-style solid oak cabinets. The room featured an awkwardly shaped island that made the space feel cramped and not ideal for hosting, but all in all, it was fine, so Angie and Karl didn’t plan on changing it.

Credit: Angie Barron

That is, until the couple discovered a leak in the kitchen about two months after they moved in. “The water damage to the units meant that the units we replaced would not match the old ones, and we didn’t want to end up with a mismatched kitchen,” explains Angie. “We thought, if we are going to replace some units, we might as well do the whole thing, redesign the space, and get the layout that we really wanted. We frequently entertain family and friends, so we decided that the most appropriate thing to do was to open up the kitchen to the lounge and create a larger, more open and spacious open-plan kitchen-lounge area where we could cook, eat, chat, and hang out with friends.”

Angie and Karl began by hiring an architect and structural engineer to look into the knock-through, which involved a steel beam. Despite some delays due to an initial builder they had to let go, the entire reno only took about five weeks.

The couple opted for solid wood and handmade Shaker-style kitchen units painted in Farrow and Ball’s Hague Blue, set off by polished brass handles and knobs and white quartz worktops sourced from Italy. They went for top-of-the-range appliances and also prioritized lighting to create some extra ambience, purchasing three custom-made pendant lights for above the new island, industrial-style wall lights, and strip lights and recessed downlights for the cabinets. “An absolute tip is to use recessed downlights as opposed to standard builders’ downlights, as it avoids the glare from the ceiling and gives off a more diffused and contemporary lighting feeling,” Angie says.

Let’s pause for a hot sec and talk about the kitchen faucet. “We treated ourselves to a Quooker tap, which dispenses hot and cold water, as well as chilled filtered water and sparkling water!” Angie says. (*Insert applause emojis*)

“The kitchen is everything we wanted,” Angie adds. “It is bold, modern, yet traditional! It is an expression of our personalities, but also of the ambience we wanted to create. It’s the perfect space for entertaining, has adequate storage, and is a gorgeous space to live in and to enjoy!”