A Tiny Kitchen Gets a Light-Filled Makeover

Sandie Sutherland's small, dark kitchen was in dire need of some love. Find out how adding roof windows transformed into a light-filled and functional space.

What was your kitchen like before?

The room was completely out of date and very, very dark. It needed a lot of work carried out and the family before couldn’t justify the spend as they knew it wasn’t going to be their ‘forever home’. It had incomplete, make shift cabinets, old strip lighting on an Artex ceiling that had been put in place to provide extra storage in the eaves above.

We knew the roof had a decent pitch from the outside, so we immediately saw the potential. The house was built in 1902 and the kitchen was the original extension that had been built on the back, with no insulation and no central heating. The boiler was exposed and the room really hadn’t been loved in a very long time!

the kitchen before the renovation

How did you decide on the best solution? 

As the room was so small, we knew taking the existing ceiling out and putting it on the pitch would give it the sense of space without extending the walls out. Putting a roof window in would also give us the light we needed as there was no real scope to add additional vertical windows without losing valuable storage space.

We have a second reception room, so there was no real need to create a space to sit in as we already have a dining table and sitting area in the room behind.

construction of the kitchen renovation begins

We needed a structural engineer for drawings, and applied for a building warrant as we were changing the physical structure of the roof, and adding the biggest size of roof window possible! This took a bit of time but we’re glad we followed the correct procedure.

It took us a while to decide between 2x VELUX roof windows side by side, or 1x large one, however we ended up with a white polyurethane UK08 size, solar powered model. To maximise unit space we opted for underfloor heating to save having to wall mount a radiator.

kitchen interior with roof window

How long did the work take?

All in all this went on for 3 months, mainly because we came across asbestos in the existing ceiling and had a bit of hassle getting the floor completely level before the tiles went down. Also, because my husband - who is a joiner - was carrying out a lot of the work himself during evenings and weekends. This is longer than usual for a job of this size but even still, it was absolutely worth it. We spent around £13,000 but the room was literally stripped back to four brick walls, we now can safely say it was worth every penny!

roof window adds light to small kitchen

What you think of the finished result?

The kitchen is SO bright now – the plasterer joked that he almost put his shades on whilst working in it!

The VELUX window along with the vertical glazing and added glass panel in the back door floods the room with light. We always have the reception door open to let this spread right through to the dining room. We used Farrow & Ball paint (Inchrya Blue and India Yellow) that compliments the tiles and colour scheme perfectly.

My only regret really is actually not having a little breakfast bar, as although technically we didn’t need a sitting area, it’s such a nice room to be in that we might add one in at some point (we went for a storage cabinet instead).

the completed kitchen

Any advice for people wanting to revamp a small dark kitchen?

Allow plenty of time for planning. Having a good project manager is also a huge bonus – I’m clearly blessed as my husband took this in his stride!

If you want something a particular way but know it’s going to take longer, it’s normally worth the wait, honest. Going up in a smaller space will give you the feeling of space and additional light without extending out.

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