Catherine Bains knocked two dark rooms into one to achieve the perfect layout for her family’s busy lifestyle in her Victorian home.

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When Catherine Bains and her husband Michael bought their Victorian house in south-west London, the kitchen comprised a dark space with two small windows, and a functional yet dreary utility area. ‘We knew it was going to be quite costly to knock the two rooms into one because of the steel beams, but it was worth it,’ says Catherine. The builders opened up the two spaces and removed a large chimney breast in the utility room. To allow more light in, Catherine and Michael installed glass French doors and replaced the small windows with glazing reaching to skirting level.

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With a lot of the budget going on structural work, the couple salvaged as much of the old kitchen as they could. There were a number of units from the utility room, as well as those in the main area. ‘They were good-quality cabinets from John Lewis, so we kept them and replaced the door fronts,’ says Catherine. They created a large island unit to house the hob and an under-counter fridge and freezer, and replaced wall cabinets with two rows of white shelves to display glassware and Catherine’s vintage crockery. A tall cabinet on the side was retained to house the ovens.

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Catherine found the replacement fronts at Just Doors.‘We completed the look with a marble-effect worktop,’ she says. ‘It was quite expensive, but it’s very hard-wearing.’ Gloss-white, brick-shaped wall tiles and pale-wood flooring continue the airy theme. In the light-filled dining area, the country-style table and benches were found online, and the couple updated old chairs and a sideboard with soft-white paint.

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The three-month project was completed on time, uniting dreary spaces to form a light, spacious kitchen. The recycled cabinets saved both money and time: ‘Not to mention the number of skips we would have needed if we had decided to get rid of them all!’ says Michael.

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Photography: Stewart Grant 

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