Before & After: A Tiny Neglected Flat Got a Total Kitchen DIY Redo and a New Earthy Color Palette

Before & After: A Tiny Neglected Flat Got a Total Kitchen DIY Redo and a New Earthy Color Palette

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Name: India, Harry, and Lily the Russian blue kitten
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Size: 465 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

I bought my little slice of Edinburgh just over a year ago with my partner Harry. We were first-time buyers and after viewing about 10 other flats we knew this was the one as soon as we saw it. The thing that drew us both to the flat was the view. We’re on the top floor and all the windows share the same outlook: looking out towards Arthur’s Seat (Edinburgh’s extinct volcano) and the 19th century colony houses. It still makes us smile every day! 

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Being an 18th century traditional Edinburgh tenement flat that had been neglected for a few years, the flat did need a bit of work when we moved in, namely a new boiler (which broke after two months), but there was also stuff we wanted to change to make it work for us. So, after ripping out and replacing the kitchen, tearing down an ’80s stud wall, and freshening the whole place up with paint, we’ve now got a flat we absolutely love!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: I’d say our style is mid-century modern. We’ve collected a lot of mid-century furniture and vintage ornaments from secondhand shops but mixed in lots of modern pieces. We’re not afraid of adding color to our walls, but try and pare it back with a neutral palette when it comes to the furniture and ornaments, which consist of lots of lovely earthy tones. 

Inspiration: We take a lot of inspiration from nature. As I said we love gorgeous earthy tones and try and fill the flat with as many plants, foliage, and dried flowers as possible!

Favorite Home Element: I love how light and bright the flat is. We’re on the top floor, south facing, and unobstructed so we get lots of lovely sunshine pouring through the windows (well, when the sun shines in Scotland!).

Biggest Challenge: We live in a small one-bedroom flat so space is definitely limited. But it’s just meant we’ve had to get clever with storage. For example, when we redid the kitchen we put in extra tall wall cupboards to maximize room. We’re also lucky to have a small utility room, which we’ve filled to the brim with shelves to maximize storage! 

Proudest DIY: Definitely the kitchen. When we moved into the flat the kitchen was a tiny, separated room with no windows. It wasn’t big enough for us to both walk around in at the same time, which is a shame as we both love cooking together. We ripped out the stud wall with our own hands, removed the existing ’80s kitchen, and fitted the new kitchen with the help of Harry’s dad, who also restored the original floorboards that had been hidden under linoleum for years. 

Harry and his dad fitted the base units, Harry’s dad cut out each ply door, and I helped sand, stain, and hang them. It was definitely a labor of love but we’re left with something we’re so proud of. What’s more, having opened up the space, we can now enjoy the gorgeous view whilst cooking! There’s still the job of tiling to do⁠—we thought after all our hard work we’d get someone in to do it, but the week they were scheduled to come the lockdown came into place; I guess we’ll just have to wait a little longer!

What’s your best home secret or advice? It’s not a well-kept secret but my biggest tip for helping your home always look tidy is to have baskets, jars, and containers galore. I have gorgeous wicker and sea grass baskets everywhere, which not only look lovely, but they make it super easy to quickly hide any mess. Likewise, having beautiful storage pots on places like the coffee table means you can hide remote controls and any bits lying around!

What to people most get wrong about using color in their home? I’d say a lot of people go wrong when worrying about color. If you like it, paint it! I love painting the flat colors that make me feel cozy and relaxed. If all white walls do that for you that’s fine, but if you’re someone that loves color, just go for it! 

What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? My top trick is to paint the walls, woodwork, and ceiling the same colour. It’s really transformative and looks amazing. When we first moved into the flat I followed the rules of painting the walls in our hall a colour, in this case navy blue, and the woodwork and ceiling white. The difference it made when I painted the woodwork and ceiling the same blue colour was amazing. 

Favorite wall paint color of all time: I’m a big fan dark colors and absolutely love Farrow & Ball’s “Hague Blue.” It’s the color we chose for our hall, which is tiny and has no windows. We painted the walls, woodwork, and ceiling in “Hague Blue” and just love it. Rather than making a small dark space feel even smaller it actually has the opposite effect by leading the eye towards the beautiful light flooding in from the adjoining rooms. 



  • Farrow and ball Hague blue
  • Farrow and  Ball Red earth
  • Farrow and ball oval room blue 
  • Farrow and ball strong white 



  • Sofa — Dunelm (discontinued)
  • Rattan chair — Maisonette Du Monde discontinued
  • Ercol armchair — second hand
  • G plan coffee table — second hand
  • Afaw Berber style rug — La Redoute
  • Jute blend cushion — H&M 
  • Mamadou cushion — Abigail Ahern 
  • Ramesh velvet cushion — Abigail Ahern 
  • Rattan-framed mirrors — H&M
  • Hanging mirror — Vintage second hand
  • Urchin Jar on the coffee table — Abigail Ahern
  • Guilo Vase on the coffee table — Abigail Ahern
  • Massin Vase Large on the coffee table — Abigail Ahern
  • Lake Sedge on the coffee table — Abigal Ahern
  • San Pedro Faux Cactus on the coffee table — Abigail Ahern


  • Table and chairs — Secondhand
  • Post office map rubbing art — Secondhand
  • Fruit bowl habitat Andalucia — Habitat



  • Ramsden Vase — Habitat, discontinued
  • Terracotta plant pots — Garden Centre
  • Plant Stand — SVARTPEPPAR, IKEA
  • Mirror — Secondhand Gumtree
  • Faux Grass — TK MAXX,discontinued
  • Prints Birds Fly Away — Desenio
  • Bed — Kopardal, IKEA
  • Chest of Drawers — Given by family
  • Wuthering Heights Print — John Lewis
  • Joy Division Prints — Not on the High Street
  • Bobby Multi-coloured Floor Lamp — Habitat
  • Bedside table, G-Plan — Bought from Gumtree

Thanks India and Henry!

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