Denise Watson lives in Lisburn with her husband David and daughters Samantha and Beth, and their lives all centre around the kitchen.
The hub of the house is not just used for cooking and eating, it is where the family come together, where the girls do their homework, where they put their artistic skills to good use, where Denise reads over scripts and makes notes for her show, and where memories are made.
When Denise and David moved into their Lisburn house almost 20 years ago in 1998, it was a bungalow but the couple saw the potential to create a family home. They set about renovating the house to create an upstairs with a bathroom and three bedrooms.
But Denise’s pride and joy is her kitchen, which was initially two separate rooms - a smaller kitchen and a dinning room. But a snap decision saw them knock down the dividing wall to create a large, light, bright space that looks out onto the quiet, peaceful garden,
“Michael Hunt, an architect in Lambeg designed the renovation for us and the kitchen was designed by Kittle of Toye in Killyleagh, who sadly aren’t there anymore, We were delighted with it,” said Denise. “It is exactly the way we wanted it.
“At the time the kitchen wasn’t one room so we had to make a split second decision whether to keep two rooms or make it into one. We decided to make one big kitchen so that we would have everything in one place. Everything is done in this room pretty much,”
The kitchen table is the focal centre of the room, and the spot for the family to eat, work, and play together.
“The table and chairs are distressed pine so we got a cover from Smyth Patterson’s in Lisburn to protect it, We change it every couple of months.
“The girls love to do arts and crafts so it is always covered in glitter or paint or glue. Their artwork goes up on the wall and certificates from school or clubs are put on the kitchen door. One of my daughters calls it the ‘door of achievement’.’’
Denise also makes sure that the family come together in the kitchen every evening for dinner. “We are very strict about eating meals at the table and everyone eating together,”
Being a radio presenter it is perhaps little surprise that one of Denise’s favourite items in the room is an old-fashioned style Roberts digital radio which was a birthday present last year.
She also loves a photo collage which dominates one of the walls. The collection of photographs from Venture Photography captured her daughters when they were young.
Another prized possession is a Celtic work of art by local fashion designer Chloe Dougan, which is proudly displayed opposite the kitchen’s picture window,
Denise admits that, despite warnings and their love for them, the marble floor tiles have been difficult to upkeep and a change could be on the horizon.
“We were warned about the tiles but we didn’t care,” she laughed. “My clumsiness dropping pans on them has made them crack but the lightness of them makes the room feel even bigger,”
But for now, Denise is delighted with her bright, light and airy kitchen that truly is the heart of the home,