Adrian Rowbotham created a fantastic open-plan kitchen-diner by changing the footprint of his home.
When the Rowbothams moved to their new home in Lincolnshire in 2011, they knew that, over time, they had lots to do to the detached, Fifties property. ‘It really wasn’t Rachael’s style and the ground-floor layout just didn’t work for us,’ Adrian recalls. The kitchen was small, impractical and down the end of a corridor, separated from the rest of the living area, which the couple anticipated would be a problem when they had children. ‘We thought the house would work better with a big open-plan space at the back,’ he explains, ‘and with our son, Henry, now with us, we didn’t want to have to divide our time between different rooms.’
After years of careful planning, work finally began in February 2015, with the builders removing the back wall of the building to extend out. However, this meant two huge steel beams were required, with vertical supports that would protrude into the room. The solution was simple: ‘The pillars created a natural place where the main kitchen area could end,’ says Adrian, ‘so we worked our ideas round this feature.’
While the builders carried on with the renovation, the couple contacted Diane Berry Kitchens: Rachael had seen her designs in magazines and felt confident that they could make her dreams a reality. ‘We had originally imagined fitting mustard-yellow units,’ says Adrian, ‘but Diane advised us to use this colour on the walls with grey cabinets, making it easier to change in the future if we wanted.’ Diane also came up with other excellent suggestions, such as the addition of a boxed-in extractor fan that blends in with the walls for an uninterrupted finish, plus a designated breakfast cupboard with sliding door that makes clearing up at busy times quick and easy. A white range cooker also works in contrast to its darker surroundings, and is one of Rachael’s favourite things: ‘It not only looks bold and beautiful, but it also makes cooking complicated meals or entertaining a breeze – I love it,’ she says.
The couple installed wooden floors throughout to add visual warmth, but decided to create a feature in the kitchen area with patterned tiles. ‘We made the illusion of a rug by using a rectangle of encaustic tiles, set flush with the floorboards,’ Rachael explains. ‘It adds interest and defines the food preparation zone.’ The informal and relaxed dining space incorporates a built-in bespoke bench – perfect for when Henry has friends round – complete with a comfy cushion made by a local upholsterer in a vibrant retro fabric.
But just as the Rowbothams thought they had finished their project, disaster struck. ‘The roof pitch was wrong. We had to take it off and start again from scratch, so the whole thing took twice as long as it should have,’ explains Adrian. ‘Still, we cheered ourselves up with the quirky finishing touches that bring fun and personality to the space,’ Rachael adds.
The couple are delighted with the end result. ‘Having lived with it for a while, there’s nothing we’d change, and we’re thrilled with how it suits our family,’ she says.
Photography: Rachel Smith