Dawn’s Diner

This was a job I completed back in England but it has been added here because it nicely illustrates , some of the major considerations you should make whenever thinking about remodelling.


When Dawn initially came to us, she told us she had an uninspiring room adjoining her kitchen and it never quite felt like a part of the house. No matter what ideas she came up with, the room never lived up to her expectations and it was now time for her to consider some serious remodelling but she was at a loss where to start with it all.

We asked her what her main objectives for the room were, and how she hoped to use it in the future and she came back to us with the idea of a functional breakfast room for a busy morning household with the added convenience of plenty of storage. She also wanted a room with the feel of space and light whilst still remaining functional and inviting.

At the start of the project the room was dull, the laminate flooring was cold, tired and curling up at the edges and the whole room looked thirty years out of date, uninspired and very uninviting. The existing table was pushed up against a wall and obviously unused in an area of the room which was an extension to the existing. This extension was set up with a very low and arched ceiling which felt imposing, with a decor you would expect to find more within a gypsy caravan… This was to be where most of our work would be carried out.

dscf1308Together, we toyed with a few ideas and from an initial starting point the room quickly evolved into the breakfast room of Dawn’s dreams. One of the more radical ideas we adopted was to incorporate her fridge into the room, adding to its functionality of a breakfast room, and thus free up some much needed extra space in the kitchen for a large double freezer.

With our plans verbally agreed, our first task was to rip out the existing gypsy caravan style decor panelling and arched ceiling to the extension (a remnant of the previous house owner). This left us with a rather cumbersome looking beam across the ceiling of the two areas, so it was decided that it would be better and brighter to lower the extension ceiling to the existing level of this load bearing beam. By doing this, it would also be possible to include down-lights to the new ceiling independently wired to give the room some form of mood.

Any project, when tackled properly should address all of the following:

Electrics – are the sockets adequate and positioned correctly for your needs.

Lighting – Use lighting to create mood and ambiance, add feature lighting for extra effect and remember to consider your main lighting too.

Heating – Consider your choice of heating. You can move or change unsightly radiators, opt for under-floor heating or include a feature fireplace.


All of the above should be your main priority in any major room change. And this is your best opportunity to get these things right. Do it now, before you even start to consider the home straights in your project as they are the major disrupters, and any retrospective tackling can easily become twice as costly and cause major upheavals to your walls, ceiling and floor surfaces.

Having fully routed all necessary cable and piping changes (including new supplies to radiators in the adjoining kitchen and hallway), it was now time to make good the room surfaces. We started with the suspended ceiling to the extension area and continued by re-plastering all the wall surfaces that were not up to scratch.

dscf1313With all our surfaces prepared now for decoration it was decided to opt for a stripe wallpaper with all its inherent disadvantages (see home decorating discussions), purely because it lends the illusion of additional height. And green because it is a relaxing colour, calming for the early morning bustle and above all else, it also makes the room more inviting.

Although the room is practically square in shape and size, as you walk into the room from the hallway, you can see right into the kitchen and through a window into the garden. This makes the room appear longer than it is broad and that is why we deliberately laid the new flooring (real wood not laminate, for extra warmth) across the room’s width. This is again is a trick of optics, giving the illusion of more length along the timber’s grain and thus making the room feel square again with its trick dimensioning.

Having laid the flooring, it was now time for the final fix. This was to include a double bank of wall units incorporating a breakfast bar top for use with bar stools (This was done to address Dawn’s need for extra storage), fitting a white designer radiator for a more crisp and modern feel, and some shiny chrome light switches and fittings for additional bling. The Cupboards chosen were white to increase the light and airy feel of the room and a grey granite worktop chosen to match and compliment the existing stainless steel fridge.

The full use of design trickery, including colour, optical illusion, lighting and textures has all worked in harmony now to bring this room more fully to life. It also has the additional functionality it desperately needed and has a more generous feel of space and warmth even though the room has more going on it now, than ever did before.


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