Knocking down walls to create an open plan living space

As I discussed in my last post about whether taking on a renovation project was the right thing for us one of the keys to making our small house feel spacious was creating an open plan room downstairs. I’ve had quite a few messages asking to see more photos of the downstairs and how the three different areas link up so I thought I’d share the photos with you today. I still haven’t finished furnishing this room but we’re nearly there.

When I saw our house for the first time it was immediately clear that we would have to knock down two walls to create one room instead of three. The original kitchen was tiny and completely separate to the rest of the living space, the dining room was really nice as it looked out onto the garden but I knew it would never get used and the sitting room was small and relatively dark as it is a north west facing room. Knocking all three into one would create a much more spacious and practical space that would mean every single centimetre of the space would get used. It would also make looking after Mimi at home so much easier as she would always be within sight.

The original floor plan looked like this…

Our contracter J A Whitney, who is brilliant by the way, worked with his team to remove the wall between the kitchen and the back reception room and the wall between the back and front reception rooms, which needed a steel support. They also blocked in the doorway to the back reception room. This has left us with only one room downstairs but because it is such a small house this made total sense to us.

Sofas and ottoman are from IKEA and they’re called Soderhamn. I was gifted a set of bespoke linen covers from Bemz, which are AMAZING.

Ideally I would love a separate cosy sitting room but in such a small house having the flow and extra floor space that you gain from knocking two rooms into one makes it feel much bigger than it actually is.

I recently bought this Margo in Margate print and I love how well it works in this room. The frame is a bespoke one gifted by eFrame.

Rug is from House of Rym. I replaced the original 1930s tiled fire surround with this 1920s wooden one that our decorator painted in Farrow and Ball’s Light Blue to match the doors and skirting.

Here you can see the steel support where the wall was knocked out between the front and back receptions. The doorway into the old dining room was blocked in, which is where Mimi’s play kitchen is.

Dining rooms can be so neglected on a daily basis, I find, if they are not attached in some way to the kitchen so I am so pleased to say that reconfiguring the downstairs we now spend so much time around the table.

Our dining table was a hand-me-down from my sister (it came from a small shop in London) and we have a collection of old dining chairs. I have put this Sisal rug from Modern Rugs underneath the table to help define the space. The pendant is from Original BTC and it casts the perfect light over the table. Large pine wall cabinet is secondhand from eBay.

We decided to keep a door coming into the kitchen area firstly because I really love the door and secondly because it gives us access to the larder under the stairs in the hallway. Also, I think it’s nice to have two points of access to the room, which is especially helpful when we have lots of friends over.

Jules fitted the kitchen and we love how open it is and it works really well despite how small it is!

Our contractor ordered the kitchen from Howdens and we painted the cupboards in Farrow & Ball’s Railings. I have recently collaborated with Maitland & Poate who supplied these amazing antique Spanish tiles.

Without the wall the kitchen space is still very small but it feels so much bigger! The wooden worktop is where I do all the meal prep whilst looking out across to the dining table, which is ideal.

Between the alcoves, where the wall was removed, I have put some cupboards to make the most of the space for storage.

The very inexpensive Billy bookcases with cupboard doors provide invaluable storage between the alcoves although one day I would LOVE proper built in cupboards.

The other big benefit of knocking all three rooms into one is that there is direct access and view to the garden from the entire downstairs. This means that we are constantly in and out of the garden and it very much feels like an extension of the living space. The light from both sides of the house also keep the downstairs light at all times of the day.

We were lucky that the uPVC doors at the back of the house are in fairly good condition so we’ve kept them for now.

Eventually we would like to remove the entire back wall of the house and extend out into the garden to give us more space but for now this layout is working so, so well for us. If you have any questions about the renovation process do leave a comment and I will try to give you as much info as I can!

Katy x

Source list:

Wall paint – brilliant white

Woodwork paint (skirtings, doors, fireplace) – Light Blue from Farrow & Ball

Floor – original floorboards oiled with Raw Osmo oil

Sisal rug – Modern Rugs (gifted)

Patterned rug – House of Rym (no longer available)

Sofas – Soderhamn three seater, chaise and ottoman

Sofa covers – bespoke Linen covers from Bemz in their loose fit style in Rosendal pure washed linen unbleached (gifted)

Art prints – Margo in Margate

Bespoke picture frames – eFrame (gifted)

Rocking chair – IKEA

Sheer blinds – John Lewis

Dining table – secondhand from my sister

Pendant over table – Original BTC

Dining chairs – vintage Ercol

Wishbone chairs – Swivel

White storage cabinets – Billy bookcases IKEA

Pine wall cabinet – vintage second hand from eBay

Kitchen colour – Railings Farrow & Ball

Antique kitchen tiles – Maitland & Poate (gifted)

Large standard lamp – very old Habitat Spindle lamp

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8 Comments

  1. 5th July 2019 / 1:01 am

    Where is your fridge and pantry? I can’t tell in these pictures.

    • katy
      Author
      8th July 2019 / 3:38 pm

      Hi there. The fridge and freezer is under the wooden counter. We have a larder cupboard where we store all other food under the stairs, which is just through the glazed kitchen door. x

  2. Kate
    5th July 2019 / 7:14 am

    Lovely! Where is your refrigerator?

    • katy
      Author
      8th July 2019 / 3:39 pm

      Thank you! The fridge and freezer are both under the wooden counter x

  3. Kelly
    12th August 2019 / 12:02 am

    Your house is stunning. We have almost the exact layout and dimensions and often wonder what it would be like to knock the wall down. I have to ask where is your washing machine and dryer? And can you hear the noise from the white goods while you’re chilling out watching tv in the evening?? These are the questions I ask myself when I think about open plan living! 🙂

    • katy
      Author
      14th August 2019 / 9:27 am

      Ha! I love your attention to detail! Sound of the white goods never bothers me – the fridge and freezer are below the wooden countertop and the tongue and groove back to that unit does a lot to keep the noise to a minimum. We don’t have a dryer but the washing machine is in a cupboard in our bathroom as there just isn’t space for it in the kitchen. I actually really like having it upstairs as the laundry can go straight from laundry basket into the washer without having to take it downstairs. The only hassle is taking it outside to the line to dry in the summer xx

  4. Kelly
    11th November 2019 / 8:27 pm

    Hi
    You have a beautiful home 😊
    Are you able to tell me where you purchased your interior doors from?
    Thanks

    • katy
      Author
      12th November 2019 / 12:12 pm

      Hi there – thank you! The interior doors are 1930s ones original to the house x

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