Underused rooms and giving them purpose

From the moment I walked into Shaz and Zarqua’s 1930’s house I was so excited. It was basically a blank canvas and everything needed addressing. It also gave me the opportunity to totally overhaul an entire ground floor and design one of my favourite rooms…the kitchen. 

This one was special and the amount of work that went into it was unprecedented. To achieve what we did in such a short time frame is outstanding and testament to everyone’s hard work. 


Let’s talk about that dated kitchen.

Tired, old, poor layout, brown/beige with a ceiling last seen in a run down office building. The whole thing had to go, ceilings and all. The family were crying out for a kitchen/diner that meant they could all eat together and enjoy family meal times. Zarqua needed a space to prepare meals, keep an eye on the girls, with ample storage and a kitchen she could feel proud of and that represented her tastes and style. 

The IKEA Metod/Axstad, Matt Blue kitchen provided the beautiful base and we added touches that made this kitchen feel truly bespoke. From the brass cooker hood, walnut handles, Capietra pink tiles to the gorgeous banquette covered in Katori Jade by Romo Fabrics. The floor was a high quality vinyl which works perfectly for the family and for our timeframe and the overall finish to this room was spectacular. 

I brought my builders onto this project to do the kitchen as I really wanted to make sure we nailed it and as always they didn’t let me down, totally a dream team.

Dining Room / Playroom

We saw on the heat maps that this was rarely used and was a wasted space. A fabulous room with direct access to the garden and a hatch that meant the room was visible from the kitchen meant I saw the potential for this to be used as a playroom. 

Now giving up a room to create a playroom may seem controversial but you should design for the way you actually live, not for how rooms are conventionally used. With a toddler and a baby, this playroom will have tons of use in the years to come and its use can easily be changed down the line when they grow out of it. 

The fantastic wall mural by Munks and Me was combined with a similar paper by Dunelm to wrap the whole space in a cohesive theme. The toys were selected for both ages of children and the sensory wall was an ingenious make by Tim Hitchens. 

This room now means the front room can remain a toy free haven for Shaz and Zarqua, as all of the children’s bits and bobs are now self-contained in this childhood paradise.

Living Room

This living room was literally a gift, a gift to all designers across the land because it was bare. Devoid of any character and life, this room was a start from scratch and create the dream. 

The room needed to be the adult retreat for Zarqua and Shaz. No toys, no clutter, just a sophisticated and organised space that spoke to both of their tastes and worked for them as a family. 

We knew Zarqua loved art deco and mid century design elements so I designed a space that spoke to those eras. A rich wall colour of @farrowandball Paean Black sat perfectly against the mid century built in and the addition of Walnut flooring. The IKEA Stockholm Sandbacka Dark Grey 3 seater sofa added luxury and the 2 IKEA Ekenasat armchairs were recovered in a geometric velvet fabric I found at Bridgend Fabrics on one of my trips back home to Wales.

The stand out feature in this room has to be the fireplace. I desperately wanted to give them an Art Deco marble fireplace but budgets would not allow so….over to carpenter extraordinaire Tim Hitchens who made this for me and then our resident artist Ian carefully hand-painted the marble effect…mind blown!! We filled with stunning vibrant blue Capitera matchstick tiles, et voila, a stunning centrepiece for the most beautiful room.

Have you read my catch up on Episode One? If not, read it here.

Have you read my catch up on Episode Two? If not, read it here.

Have you read my catch up on Episode Three? If not, read it here.

Watch all episodes of The Great Home Transformation on Channel 4. Find out more here.

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