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Our old kitchen was tiny

Jo MacFarlane wanted a kitchen she could eat in


Jo often buys furniture at auction to paint and distress. She uses Annie Sloan paints and loves the results you get from the wax finish; the stools were £5 each and are painted in Emile, the freestanding cupboard was £30 and is painted in Original.

When Jo and Stuart bought their detached Victorian villa, it was divided into two flats; there was a tiny kitchen downstairs that they knew would be inadequate for their family. ‘We quickly decided to turn what had been a back bedroom into the kitchen,’ Jo explains. They used an app designed by the interiors website Houzz to help them visualise their choices. ‘You input the dimensions and the window positions and it helped us decide whether to put the kitchen in the front or the back of the house, work out the layout, and even how may units we needed. It is great for helping you make decisions,’ Jo claims. They considered knocking down the wall between what is now the kitchen and the dining room, but decided to wait. ‘Knocking down a supporting wall is a major undertaking and we were just not ready, we actually quite like the separation and enjoy cosy suppers and casual lunches in the kitchen and save the dining room for entertaining and family get-togethers.’

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I’m hoping that as you read this the sun is shining and you’re sitting out in the garden and getting truly into the summer spirit. But knowing how fickle our weather can be, you may be sat on the sofa watching the rain on the window pane. I hope it’s the former not the latter! Anyway, we’re looking on the bright side in this issue and have packed it with lots of feel-good summer ideas for you and your home. On page 44 we take a look at the latest barbecues and outdoor pizza ovens to make your summer get-togethers go with a swing. While on page 100 we’ve put together some zingy recipes that make the most of summer’s refreshing citrus flavours (the citrus-marinated lamb steaks are ideal for popping on your barbie!). The seaside is a big trend on the high street this summer, so on page 20 we explain how to give your décor a classic nautical feel, and on page 54 we’ve pulled together a whole host of affordable finishing touches to give your bathroom a relaxing coastal look. We’ve even got a gorgeous sparkling fish cushion project on page 64 to complete the watery theme! If you love being in the garden at this time of year, turn to page 114 to discover this year’s hero plant, the Cosmos, it’s so easy to grow and provides oodles of flowers to cut for the house. Finally, you must try making our gorgeous garden veg-inspired table decorations on page 60, they’ll make the ideal finishing touch to your summer garden parties.