A Historical Kitchen and Scullery Renovation


The Project

The house, built in 1886 had a very small, dark, dank and miserable kitchen at one end of the house, a room where the maid used to prepare the food, next to a larder and scullery. The owners planned to totally remodel the house with the added feature of a large extension incorporating the old kitchen and scullery. And to transform the largest reception room, a sitting room when they purchased the house, into a large kitchen/diner.

The Big Challenges and their solutions

A large challenge was to make a room that looked very much like a reception room with a bay window and large door opening into the dining room, into a room with an authentic personality as a kitchen.

This was achieved by building a full height stud wall facing the door way as you enter the room and cladding this wall in tiles to immediately give the impression of a room that has a practical usage. By changing the footprint of the walls and adding an additional wall, the original coving and skirting in the room needed to be supplemented so that the moulding designs continued around all of the walls of the room.

Extra coving was also required as there was an area around the bay window where the coving had been damaged by a leaking roof above. Although this could have been repaired, it was decided that it was easier to replace it due to the other requirement for more coving. An identical off the shelf coving was not available so it was decided that it was cheaper to remove all of the existing coving and replace with something similar than to get a few lengths of bespoke coving made with it’s 4 week lead time.

The owners had a limited budget to achieve a major renovation to the whole house and didn’t want to spend more than around £15,000 on the entire kitchen project including the units, appliances and renovation of the room; the size of the house merits a kitchen with a price tag closer to £70,000.

There was no wall space within the kitchen layout that had been designed for a conventional radiator so another solution had to be sought.

The room was very draughty as there was a 4 foot void under the floorboards.

Building work that had to take place to prepare the room for its reincarnation as a kitchen

All of the floor boards were lifted in order to install insulation underneath them. This has significantly curtailed heat loss within the room. Once the floor boards were back down, they were sanded and varnished.

The stud wall was constructed to provide an end point to the kitchen units nearest the entrance and to make the room more kitchen like. This was dressed with skirting and coving to match the rest of the room and then clad in cream brick shaped tiles to provide a kitchen like appearance.

The room has a massive 10 foot wide set of doors linking it to the dining room next door. These doors were cumbersome to open as they obstructed the dining room windows and door when opened and so were hardly used. So a set of mini doors was cut into these doors to make them usable with the mini doors hinged and the doorways edged in beading to give them a style to match the rest of the room.

The Biggest bargain

The biggest bargain was the paint spray gun and compressor purchased in a sale for around £100. This transformed bog standard solid wood kitchen units into units painted in a bespoke colour with a professional looking finish. Painting cupboards with a roller or paint brush leaves brush marks but by spray painting them (they will need at least 4 thin coats) makes them look professionally painted and elevates the kitchen units from something that appears mass produced to the impression of a designer kitchen.

Elements used to add the wow factor without breaking the bank

Myson Kickspace under unit heaters were used. These were integrated into the kickboards under the kitchen units, with the covers painted the same colour as the kitchen units and are barely noticeable within the finished scheme.

The solid brass period door handles. Expensive at £24 each but make a cheap factory produced kitchen look like one that is hand made with a large price tag.

The housing for the extractor which added character to the kitchen whilst hiding an ugly piece of essential kitchen kit.

Period style curtain fabric – the house owners had a lucky break with the fabric manufacturer ceasing trading and selling off the remainder of their stock at bin end prices.

A breakfast bar with panelled sections underneath was constructed to match in with the style of the kitchen units.

Lincrusta wallpaper was used below the dado line. This added more period details to the room and also provided a hardwearing washable surface.

Brass light switches and sockets added a vintage feel to the room but at £24 for a double toggle switch won’t break the bank.

Shabby chic industrial style swivel bar stools were purchased from Ebay for £75 each.

Leather wing chairs were found on Gumtree at £500 for the pair.

Post courtesy of The Victorian Emporium, period living for the 21st century

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