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Nigel’s diary: How blinds put the finishing touch on my kitchen renovation

When Nigel and his partner Debbie bought a 300-year-old cottage, they had plans for a big renovation. In the first of two parts, Nigel takes us through his kitchen extension.

Nigel’s diary

As soon as we moved in two years ago, we started renovating. In March this year, we decided to build a kitchen and bathroom extension to the back of the house: the existing kitchen was small, and the only bathroom was accessed through the master bedroom which was less than ideal.

From the beginning, Debbie and I knew we wanted to keep things as authentic as possible. Our cottage is around 300 years old (land records don’t go back that far in our area so we can’t be exactly sure) and we wanted to retain the character that comes with such a period property. It was what drew us to the house in the first place.

Getting stuck in

Being handy myself, I was keen to get stuck in too! So myself, and my builder friend rolled up our sleeves and got started.

To keep the cottage’s charm, we decided to go down the route of an unfitted kitchen. My friend, Adey, who’s a joiner, made all of the units for a real rustic feel.

House extension

We’ve added some modern touches, of course. A fire instead of an oven seemed a bit much, but we do still have a stovetop kettle.

We also wanted to retain as much of the natural light as possible, while still having the option to keep out the glare. That meant an old-fashioned curtain just wouldn’t do. And that’s where Web-Blinds came in.

Kitchen window with Roller blind

The glare from the patio doors was quite overwhelming, and it also made the room quite hot. We came across Perfect Fit blinds on Web-Blinds and thought they were a fantastic idea.

Perfect Fit blinds on French doors

We ordered Pleated samples, including Ecopleat, the honeycomb style fabric which helps to keep rooms temperate for the French doors, and some Roller fabrics for the other windows. We knew that blinds for a kitchen window over the sink had to be super practical.

Choosing two complementary shades, we set about measuring and ordering. Measuring was a doddle, and I was so eager to get them up when they arrived.

I’m so impressed with how seamlessly the Perfect Fit blinds blend into the patio doors. It’s like they’re part of the door – and it’s great they don’t sway in the breeze, as we’re always in and out of the garden.

It’s so much better now when we sit at the kitchen table. It’s more than just a place we dine – it’s also where we prepare food, so we’re definitely getting our money’s worth!

Keeping the country charm

We’re so pleased with the way it’s turned out. Where possible, we restored old features in the existing kitchen, like the original pantry door. The baker’s oven, which will sit within this fireplace, is being refurbished as we speak! We can’t wait for it to take pride of place.


Of course, there were some things we had to sacrifice – most of it rotten wood. Anything we couldn’t use went on the fire, to help keep us warm, so we like to think of it as recycling!

We’ve added a little local charm too. Our collection of bottles is from the local area and reminds us why we’ve spent so many hours lovingly restoring our beautiful cottage in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Next time… Nigel tackles the bathroom.