Anne-Marie and Alan Walker chose to improve rather than move, creating a new kitchen that is as gracious as it is spacious
Standing in her local estate agent’s office one day, Anne-Marie Walker had a change of heart. ‘We were all set to sell and move somewhere new, when I realised how much more valuable our house would be with a new kitchen extension,’ she recalls. ‘Houses with large kitchen-living spaces are very popular now, and I could see that our house had the similar kind of extension potential as I’d seen at our neighbours.’ Anne-Marie returned home to discuss the idea with chartered accountant husband, Alan. After living in their Hertfordshire home, which was built in the 1960s, for 20 years, Anne-Marie says that they began to seriously consider moving the cramped kitchen from the centre of the house to the rear, taking over the former family room and extending to increase the size of the space. ‘Then we felt that the whole house needed updating, so gradually we realised we were going to undertake a major project,’ she laughs.
So the couple decided to embark on refurbishing their entire home, adding another two bedrooms and two bathrooms as part of the extension, and opening up the new kitchen space to the dining and drawing rooms to create a more open-plan feel. Large glazed doors across the rear of the property allow maximum natural light into the new space, enhancing the roomy feel and introducing beautiful views of the garden.
After visiting the Smallbone of Devizes showroom in Knightsbridge, Anne-Marie says she and Alan both spotted the Original Hand Painted furniture collection. ‘Alan wanted traditional cabinetry, I wanted modern and contemporary, and yet this look seemed to marry both styles in a design that is timeless and elegant,’ she says of their choice. Working with interior designer Tania Azadian, Anne-Marie chose a palette of greys, enlivened with shots of aubergine in the sitting area, and marble for the splashback and breakfast bar, its extraordinary natural veining adding drama to the design.
The room works well as a welcoming family space to share with daughter, Emily, 21, and son Freddie, 19, and for the couple’s love of entertaining. ‘This is now a very sociable space,’ she says. ‘Rather than everyone disappearing off to different rooms, this has brought us all together as a family and we love it.’ And what about the plans to move and make their fortune? ‘Oh, we’ve abandoned all of those,’ laughs Anne-Marie.
Kitchen by Smallbone of Devizes, prices start at £50,000.
Photos by: Darren Chung
Article by: Amelia Thorpe