Sarah J Walton


My partner Neil and I bought our first house in 2009, a pretty delapidated unloved 1930's semi detached in Nottingham. It had been unoccupied for the past seven or eight years and the bathroom especially was a bit of a nightmare with a very old fashioned and ugly pale blue suite with matching floor to ceiling tiles. Luckily I am not one to be put off by what might appear to be a bit more than a simple decorating job and set about gutting the room within a week of moving in. The first thing to go was the now obsolete airing cupboard, thanks to there being a newly installed combi boiler downstairs, we then lived with the resulting carnage for a good few months until funds and ideas had accumulated to such an extent that we were armed and ready to proceed.

We knocked the separate toilet wall down and created a new entrance to make a larger space, then ripped out all the old stuff, taking the tiles down was a joy! There were three large mirrors running alongside the old bath so I've used these elsewhere in the house. A builder put in the new suite and shower cubicle from 'The Bathstore' and I papered two of the walls with Silver Birch wallpaper because we have a beautiful one of these in the garden. I painted one wall red and the window wall grey to enhance the stained glass window that I made especially for the space. The floor and bath panel were tiled with ceramic tiles and I used a grey /black/white/silver mosaic tile to tie all the colours/elements together and add a touch of sparkle.

After the bathroom came the kitchen! The old kitchen was a typical 30's affair -Tiny. It had a back door on one wall, the door to the hall on another and a massive window overlooking the garden on the other leaving only one wall for cupboards, or rather A cupboard and no real worktop space at all. This room like the living room had artificial beams on the ceiling which upon removal brought down half the ceiling, no matter though it made the bathroom pipework nice and easy to access from underneath, another good reason for doing the bathroom first!
Anyway I digress, so the big challenge was to try and create a kitchen in the space available which at first seemed quite daunting. However after knocking down the wall between kitchen and dining room and putting in an RSJ (not us - a builder ) bricking up both doorways, making the window smaller by a couple of brick courses and putting in sliding patio doors opening on to a good sized decking area, built by Neil and his Dad we found we had plenty of room for a pretty decent sized kitchen /Diner.

The kitchen is from IKEA and we saved a bit of money by having a builder friend install it. We did pay extra for the IKEA fitters to do the worktop though and I tiled it myself with some islamic inspired tiles from 'Fired Earth' and surprisingly, No they didn't cost an arm and a leg. Really pleased with the resulting kitchen, there's even a walkway under the kichen units that leads to a catflap in the outside wall for the cat to come and go as he pleases. To utilise the corner spaces we put a carousel unit in one and a pull out shelving unit in another and these work brilliantly.
We managed to pack in a slim dishwasher next to the sink unit with a low wall cupboard above it for cups , glasses and bowls. That wall cupboard is the same height as the one housing the boiler which means its all neatly packed away. A microwave fits well into the wall units next to the double height fridge freezer and if your wondering where the washing machine is, that's tucked into the handy cupboard under the stairs. So all in all the kitchen has been a great success and the worktop is fab for not showing any stains or scratches. See below for before and after shots.

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