By combining an ocean palette and natural materials, Janie Macnab has created a relaxing family space.
The Macnab family had lived in their Georgian apartment in New Town, Edinburgh, for 21 years before they embarked on any major renovation work. ‘When we first purchased the house it only included the ground floor, basement and sub-basement,’ explains Janie. ‘We were able to buy the other floors many years later, but it wasn’t until the whole property belonged to us that we really felt we could start knocking down walls.’
Due to the house’s listed status and building regulations, the couple employed Edinburgh architect Lorn Macneal, a good friend of Janie’s, to oversee the complicated works. Their plan was to knock the smaller, ground-floor rooms into one large kitchen-diner that the whole family could enjoy together, which required installing an enormous steel beam. ‘The dynamic between us all is brilliant now, as we do so much together in this room,’ says Janie. ‘the building actually feels stronger with the insertion of all that steel, too.’
The project was managed extremely well by Lorn and the team, which left Janie free to research the finer details and source the cabinets. She came across the Kitchens International showroom in Edinburgh and was really impressed with its variety of products and service. ‘At first glance, I felt its designs were a bit too modern, but actually, there was so much choice available,’ explains Janie. ‘It also has a computergenerated system that allows you to visualise your preferred options in situ; I found this very helpful.’ She was also impressed with how the company liaised with her build team and co-ordinated getting the various tradespeople in at the right time, and in the right order, which was not a simple task.
Janie then turned her attention to the accessories, storage and colour scheme, which have been inspired by the soft, pale colours of sea and sand – in particular, a favourite beach in Kenya where the family spent a fantastic holiday. ‘Lots of cupboard space was a must,’ Janie adds. ‘We are all keen cooks, especially our teenage son, so the kitchen is used a lot. We’ve made keeping it clean and tidy a joint family enterprise.’
Kitchens International designed the tall cupboards, larder unit and handy shelves within the original overmantel mouldings either side of the range cooker to meet Janie’s brief. It also created a built-in cupboard to house the bulky, unattractive boiler that had to remain where it was. ‘I love the spice and herb shelves, but in hindsight, I think the pull-out variety would have been a more practical choice,’ she says. ‘But that’s the only minor change I’d make to the overall design.’
One of the couple’s favourite features is the smooth, white composite Silestone worktop, which is both hard-wearing and practical and complements the light finish of the turquoise cabinets. ‘I originally wanted stone worktops and thought about using black granite, but I knew it would look too harsh against the craftmanship of the wooden units,’ says Janie. ‘I also wanted to stick to my bright seaside colour scheme.’
The finished look is both fresh and welcoming, a family room as much as a kitchen-diner, with two large sash and casement windows flooding it with sunshine all year round. ‘We entertain in here quite regularly and it’s a great space for having a lot of people in,’ says Janie. ‘The transformation has been a great success – it was definitely worth the wait.’
Photography: Douglas Gibb