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.
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.
This post is brought to you by
Juniper & Scout, an online shop offering the best in modern, handcrafted design so you can always find the perfect gift (or well-deserved treat for yourself). Visit the shop here! Thank you for supporting our small business sponsors who help us bring you free, original content every weekday!
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.
“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.”
“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 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.”
“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.
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 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.”
“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.”
“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!”
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.”
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.
“We love this reading nook at the back of the kitchen, it’s a cozy place to relax with views into the garden.”
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
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!”
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.”
“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.”
“We’ve had this vintage J.H. Lynch print for years and love her here peeping ’round the corner,” Amy shares.
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
Artwork- Tin Design
one and two
Coco Print- Desenio
Good Vibes Only Poster- Desenio
Bar stools- Rockett St. George
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