Lizzie Boulton put her building-design skills to good use to create a space that’s ideal for modern life.

French style kitchen makeover 2

Five years ago, when Lizzie Boulton and her husband James were waiting for an estate agent to show them around a house for the second time, a man came out of a neighbouring property and asked them if they were looking to buy in that particular road. ‘It was fate,’ she says, ‘because we took a look around his home and it felt just right for us. We made him an offer there and then, which he was happy to accept.’

French style kitchen makeover 3

The property was in good condition as its previous owner had done extensive building work, including a side-return extension and a loft conversion, and the decoration was mainly neutral throughout. The couple decided that, for the moment, they could live with how it was while they made plans to create the home they wanted. Three years after moving in, Lizzie and her business partner Yuriy set up a building company and, while working on client’s properties, she felt prompted to have a serious think about her own kitchen.

French style kitchen makeover 4

‘From the moment we moved in, the plan was always to refurbish the kitchen at some point, and by using my design and construction skills, I knew exactly what I wanted,’ says Lizzie. ‘The original layout was mostly fine, but the chimney breast got in the way of the hob, which meant we could only use one saucepan at a time – it was very frustrating, so I decided to take it out.’

The removal of the fireplace freed up space for additional storage and a preparation area, but the couple didn’t stop there – they also knocked down a stud wall that separated the kitchen from the living room. In its place they installed built-in cupboards to house the washing appliances and drying rack, as well as giving them extra storage. ‘I decided against using the same door fronts as the units for the utility area, as it would make the kitchen feel cluttered,’ explains Lizzie. ‘Instead, I opted for floor-to-ceiling cupboards and, to help them blend in, I painted them in the same shade as the walls. It works particularly well and is probably my favourite part of the refurbishment.’

French style kitchen makeover 5

The units came from Burbidge, a supply-only kitchen company, as Lizzie had her own team to fit them, which made economical sense. ‘Originally, I wanted to have them sprayed in a bespoke colour, but that would have taken an extra two weeks and we just didn’t have time,’ she says. ‘I was trying to reproduce a French-style scheme, so I chose a neutral hue to complement the wood flooring. Then I used pale green on the window and door frames, a gentle lilac-grey on the base and legs of the dining table and slate black on the chairs.

‘The redesign really works for us, and James and I now spend most of our time here together,’ says Lizzie. ‘I enjoy entertaining, so having lots of room to prepare food and being able to clear up quickly is fantastic.’

French style kitchen makeover 1

Photography: David Parmiter

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