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Our projects: Barry's family kitchen

Updated: Apr 30, 2021

Client: Barry Douglas, Senior Designer at NEI


  • Create an open-plan space

  • Maximise storage and counter top areas

  • Update the look and feel of the room

  • Incorporate a design that allowed for more practical appliance options

The brief:

When updating his own kitchen, Barry identified that a key issue of the current space was that the dining room had become a wasted space and was rarely being used. He loved the idea of open-plan living, allowing for more space to accommodate the family, and incorporating an integrated kitchen and dining area, which would be achieved by knocking down the separating wall.

The kitchen was originally chosen by the previous homeowners and it had become pretty dated in its design. Barry wanted to give the overall style of the space a more modern upgrade, in keeping with the rest of the home.

There were also a few practicalities he wanted to change in terms of the layout, such as the location of the hob which was in the corner of the worktop, as well as the lack of storage options and worktop space available.

The process:

To achieve the desired design and new layout, there were two major changes we needed to make to the area. Firstly, we removed the dining room wall which also meant sacrificing the downstairs WC. By gaining this extra space, we were able to incorporate the tall bank of units which are sunk into the wall. These create a really modern look while also offering a handy storage solution which conserves floor space.

Our next consideration was the types and sizes of appliances Barry wanted in the new kitchen. He decided on a full fridge and full freezer, which helped us dictate how tall the bank of units needed to be before we could begin installing them.

Although we were completely transforming the kitchen, Barry did want to maintain a few small elements from the last design. Him and his family had become quite accustomed to sitting around the island in the kitchen, so we retained this option of seating in the new kitchen too.

The colour scheme didn’t take much decision-making - Barry’s house already had a grey and white theme flowing through the rest of the downstairs, which we incorporated into the new kitchen for consistency. We kept the lighter wall units and worktops matching, but decided to bring a darker base unit in to create a striking contrast without the room ever looking too dark or heavy.

Lastly, Barry had mentioned he was very keen to have a well managed waste and recycling system, so we included a full recycling bin to keep any clutter to a minimum, and allowed space for a waste disposal unit.

The result:

The end result is a complete transformation of the original space, bringing the separated kitchen and dining area together as one, with a more contemporary style and practical elements. The marble cabinets and grey tones bring a very modern yet inviting look to the whole room, with natural light flowing seamlessly throughout the space.

The layout provides much more efficient storage options, such as the tall cabinets integrated into the wall, and the pastel pink backsplash adds a gentle pop of colour to the space. The whole room now feels much more open and spacious, and has become a really nice place to enjoy some family time.

“We’ve achieved a look my wife and I are both happy with and there isn’t anything major I would change in the design. Maybe a few small tweaks but that’s just the nature of the job I do (much to Laura’s annoyance!). The biggest success of the design has been the opening up of the dining room as this is now a space we use everyday. In the summer the patio doors are always open and we flow between the kitchen, dining and outdoor patio” - Barry Douglas


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