Cymru Kitchens in the Press

Nautical Smiles


'The kitchen has completed changed the way we live and it goes without saying that our friends and family now agree with us that the barn had bags of potential.'


Having whetted their appetite for renovating houses with their previous home, Melanie and James Wilkinson, an IT consultant, were excited by their next project, a rustic barn set on the Welsh Border. 'The previous owners hadn't touched it since the 1980's so it was the age-old story of dated wallpaper, dark interiors and a kitchen that was so awful I really can't describe it,' recalls Melanie, a management consultant. 'Our friends and family thought we were mad but we fell in love with it's potential.'

In fact, the couple had considered buying the barn a few years before. but were discouraged by the thought of taking on renovations with young children in tow. Now, however they knew they were experienced enough to tackle it.

'Second time around there was no hesitation,' explains Melanie. Opting for a social downstairs space as they love entertaining, Melanie and James already had a strong idea how they could give the barn a contemporary feel. 'We wanted it to be flooded with light and feel bright and airy,' says Melanie.

William Fox, from Cymru Kitchens was recommended to the couple by a friend and after deciding he was the right person for the job, Melanie and James explained their ideas for the space. 'We came up with the basics, such as painting the original beams white and installing spotlights, but William was key when it came to creating a practical island that would be central in the design. This meant that the rest of the units could be spread around the room, leaving lots of space to entertain,' explains Melanie.


It was at this point that the couple proposed using some colour to evoke a seaside feel. 'The introduction of the bluey grey paint just evolved' explains Melanie. 'Both James and I love sailing and we have lots of sea and boat themed paintings so it was the natural colour choice. We wanted that relaxed, beach hut look and now there is the most wonderful, breezy feel to the room.'

As the brief focussed on making everything lighter, William suggested keeping the rest of the scheme neutral with pale worktops and travertine flooring. The kitchen cabinetry, although crafted from solid oak, is classic in style with attractive door furniture and stainless steel appliances displayed along side them.

With the dark, dated scheme all but a distant memory, Melanie and James are enjoying the benefits of a kitchen and living space tailored to their individual needs. 'Now there is so much space it allows us all to be together as a family without feeling cramped,' explains Melanie. 'The kitchen has completed changed the way we live and it goes without saying that our friends and family now agree with us that the barn had bags of potential.'


Tongue and groove panelling on the island is a nod to the heritage of the couple's home. However, modern touches, such as cream leather bar stools, sourced on ebay and the Silica worktops, keep the theme from looking overly traditional. Walls painted in Farrow's cream by Farrow and Ball add to the light feel of the room, while honed travertine flooring is easy for Melanie to keep pristine, even with their dog Eric around. The hearts china is by Emma Bridgewater.