before and afterInteriors

Before & After: An Essex Kitchen And Powder Room

by Rebekah Carey

Amy and John Adams have been living in their Leigh home, in Essex, for nearly a year. Six weeks after their family moved in (which includes four children ages 2 through 9), they began the three-month process of remodeling and renovating their kitchen and powder room. Fittingly, John is a property developer and Amy previously worked in styling and the creative industry. This is the couple’s fourth renovation project, which has helped them define both their strengths and ability to compromise. Amy shares a few of the understandable hurdles of this latest project, “The main challenge was living onsite with four young children during the renovation. Normal life still resumes, so it was a tough job tackling building work and taking care of a family of six! But the children were very patient and thankfully they [seemed] to take it in their stride! Fortunately, we still had use of the old kitchen so I was still able to cook.”

Follow along to see how this family turned a ground-floor bedroom into a new kitchen with an adjoining dining room and reading nook, and a boiler room into a stylish new powder room. Rebekah

Photography by Amy Adams

Image above: “The finished kitchen and sink area. We have lots of pictures up around the kitchen and love this Peggy Wolf print from Tin Design,” Amy explains.

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A Total Kitchen Remodel In A One Hundred Year Old Home In Essex Before And After On Design*Sponge

Amy and John’s home is over 100 years old, and thankfully they made sure to embrace little details that come with renovating a home that old.

Relocating A Kitchen In This British Home Changed The Entire Feel Of This Home Tour On Design*Sponge

“When we first viewed the property we knew it had real potential to be a great family home; it had a big footprint, but the layout was all wrong. Our first step was to create a spacious kitchen/family room where everyone could gather — the heart of the home. Originally we planned to knock through the kitchen and lounge at the other side of the house, but when we moved in we realized that side of the house was quite dark. The light was really important to us, so we changed our plans and decided to have the kitchen at the other side of the house. We converted what was a ground floor bedroom/en suite and a garden room into a spacious open plan kitchen/family room with different living zones.”

A Gutted Room And An Antique Shop Counter Shine In This Home's Renovation On Design*Sponge

“John, busy at work mid-renovation on the wall that now houses the sink and cupboards,” Amy tells us. The “after” features a special added detail. “An old shop counter that we picked up years ago. It was stored in the garage until we could finally transform it into a kitchen island. We had a brass worktop made to measure and got the stools from a Rockett St. George sample sale.”

The Old Main Floor Bedroom Becomes An Attached Dining Room In This Home Before And After On Design*Sponge

The top photo shows the original bedroom that would evolve in the renovation. “This is the estate agent’s photo of what was a ground floor bedroom — now our kitchen and dining area.” The below photo shows the kitchen’s attached dining room. “This is a lovely light-filled area housing our dining table at the front of the house.”


The Kitchen Now Connects To Additional Storage And The Dining Room Before And After Tour On Design*Sponge

“This exposed brick wall was a labor of love, but we’re so pleased we persisted. It’s such a contrast to what was once a bedroom,” Amy explains.

What Was Once A Bedroom Is Now The Family Dining Room Tour On Design*Sponge

Hard to believe this bright dining room was previously a bedroom. “This dining table was an eBay purchase. We needed a big one as we often have extra kids to feed or friends and family over for dinner. The table fits perfectly into the bay window.”

A Before And After View Of This Essex Kitchen On Design*Sponge

A before and after that shows a mid-renovation glimpse and the final vision of their hard work. “We removed the partition wall between the bedroom and garden room to make one large open-plan kitchen/dining/family room.  We installed a large steel supporting beam which we have left exposed.”

An Essex Before And After Kitchen Tour On Design*Sponge

“The kitchen company color-matched ‘Railings’ by Farrow & Ball,” the color which is continued in the dining room. “Our kitchen cupboards were from Pineland, who paint the bespoke cupboards in any color of your choice for no extra cost.”


A Wide Shot That Shows The View From The Dining Room Towards The Yard The Full Kitchen Before & After Is On Design*Sponge

“Looking from the front of the kitchen towards the garden. It’s impossible to get an overview of this room that does it justice,” Amy admits. “It’s an unusual shape and a large space so I’ve never been able to fit it into one picture!”

A Stylish Corner In This Essex Before And After On Design*Sponge

When asked what the biggest lessons were during their renovations, Amy shares, “It taught us that we work really well as a team. John is great at the structural side of things, while I have a good creative eye, but we are both willing to compromise and be flexible. Also, I think it’s important not to cut corners as you’ll just regret it further down the line.”

An Opened Wall Reveals An Unobstructed View To The Garden Tour On Design*Sponge

A view that’s hard to imagine now that the renovation is completed. On the left is the original old kitchen, and on the right is the current view with the wall opened up. Bar seating is at the antique kitchen island that looks out on the garden.

A Seating Area Off The Side Of The Kitchen Before And After Tour On Design*Sponge

“We love this reading nook at the back of the kitchen, it’s a cozy place to relax with views into the garden.”

One Benefit Of The Kitchen Renovation Was A Nook For Reading Tour On Design*Sponge

A little corner perfect for snuggling up with a book, “We love this rich dark green, it’s so warm and cozy. The paint is from Little Greene in Obsidian Green.

Amy And Her Children In The Newly Renovated Home Before & After On Design*Sponge

Amy with their children, who have lived in the home throughout the renovations and whom Amy says, “Never once moaned! We’re very proud of their patience. It’s not been easy but they have been so good. Creating a family-friendly space was top of our priorities and we’ve definitely achieved that. It’s always chaos, but a happy chaos and we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

Bathroom Before And After On Design*Sponge

In addition to the ground-floor bedroom becoming the extension of the kitchen, the bathroom also underwent a big change. “What used to be the boiler room, we transformed into a ground-floor restroom,” Amy explains. “We love cast iron radiators that can be picked up on eBay — this one was sand blasted and sprayed.”


A Tiny Tiled Powder Room Before And After On Design*Sponge

“Our tiler did a great job and was so patient. We are thrilled with the results, they make a real statement,” Amy admits. “We decided to keep the copper pipes exposed and think our plumber did a fab job! Finished off with brass garden taps.”

The Boiler Room Was Narrow And Small But Was Made With No Shortage Of Style Tour On Design*Sponge

“We’ve had this vintage J.H. Lynch print for years and love her here peeping ’round the corner,” Amy shares.

Bold Tile Makes A Statement In A Tiny Powder Room Before And After On Design*Sponge

The bathroom is very narrow, but the cheerful paint color and stylish tiles make the most of the petite space. “We wanted a bold floor and absolutely love these cement tiles from Mosaic Del Sur, they have so many great patterns it was hard to choose.” If you want to see more of Amy and John’s hard work, make sure to follow their Instagram feed.


Artwork- Tin Design one and two
Cactus- IKEA
Coco Print- Desenio
Good Vibes Only Poster- Desenio
Bar stools- Rockett St. George
Countertops- Caesarstone 
Tiles- M Cement Tiles
Tassel Garland- Other Letters
Brass Plant Pot- Matalan
Artificial Cactus- Matalan
Fridge- Smeg Fridge
Oven- Rangemaster oven
Bespoke Kitchen Cupboards- Pineland
Dining Table- eBay
Chairs- vintage

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