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When we renovated our Victorian terraced house in East London, a utility room was high on my wish list. After years in rental properties, with nowhere to keep the ironing board and washing hanging all over the house, I dreamed of having a space to keep it all and ideally, behind a closed door.

I also wanted to include a downstairs toilet and a pantry area. Surely that wasn’t too much to ask of my petite, narrow terraced house?!

It seemed to me that the most sensible way to do it was to lose the original dining room. It’s often a fairly dark room without much natural light and as we were extending the kitchen, I was happy to sacrifice it.


You can see from the floor plans above how we did it and I think it’s a brilliant use of space – even if I do say so myself! In an ideal world, I would have liked the utility to be even bigger, so that I could have an ironing board up at all times but that would have meant sacrificing something else and in the game of renovation compromises, this worked out about right for us.

As this was going to be a purely functional room and we were quickly running out of money, we went for the most affordable cupboards, taps and work surface we could find, keeping everything plain and simple – although I couldn’t resist splashing out on these tiles to add a bit of fun. (Top tip – don’t put the expensive tiles under your appliances, where no-one is going to see them. You can see below how we used some large, inexpensive tiles for this area.)

Practicality was the focus. We needed space for our Samsung Home Appliances washing machine and tumble dryer to slot in and added clothes airers to the ceiling and wall for addional drying options. There is a tall cupboard for the ironing board, stepladder and mops and the rest are filled with cleaning appliances, products, tools, spare batteries, lightbulbs, paint tester pots, carrier bags, nappies, wipes … you name it! Every inch of this space is fully used.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it can’t also look good. The joy of having everything plain and white is that I can give it a quick makeover whenever I fancy. No need to redecorate. I love to take everything out and start fresh.

These images show my recent summer makeover, which I did using what I already had in the house and in less time than it took to do a quick wash with my Samsung washing machine.

I used some wrapping paper to cover the backsplash area, using drawing pins to quickly attach it, so it is easy to remove and I can even reuse it to wrap presents!

Then I shopped my home for some lovely flowers, plants and prints to brighten the space up. There is no point putting fresh flowers or real plants in here as there’s no natural light to keep them alive but I think these dried flowers and faux plant look fab.

About Nikki

Is there anything more angst inducing than writing an "about me" page?! It's like that awkward icebreaker where you have to go round the table and introduce yourself, when all you have to say is "Hi, I'm Nikki, I like chocolate and I used to deliver the milk" but for some reason you break out in a sweat that doesn't subside until you've had your turn. So here goes ... I'm originally from York and now live in Walthamstow, East London with my husband, two kids and two cats. We bought our house in 2015 (after far too many years of lining other people's pockets renting in London) and did a full on renovation. It was pretty stressful and very nearly bankrupted up but we now have a wonderful family home that we all love. This E17 Life started on 1 January 2017 as an instagram account, called E17 Renovations. It was the day that we started renovating the ground floor and I wanted somewhere to keep a record to show the kids when they were older. Who knew that there was such an interiors loving community out there on insta? Not me! By the time the renovation was complete, I had fully embraced Instagram, especially stories and it had become a little peek into my world. My plan is for this blog to be an extension of that. An online scrapbook of things I've been up to, things that I love and things that I care about. Will that do? What else do you want to know?


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