A kitchen extension is a blank canvas. You’ve got the brush and the colours, but where do you begin?
The first thing is to consider exactly what you want to achieve, explains Jason Eccles, founding director at Artform Architects. ‘Is it for more family space? A better layout for socialising? Or an improved connection to the rest of the house or garden? Once you know what’s most important to you, the finer details can be explored.’
Keeping what you want to achieve at the front of your mind throughout the process is key, says Jamie Blake, creative director at Blakes London. ‘So often we see ‘project creep’, as clients attempt to incorporate more and more into what can be a limited space, budget or timeframe. Compromise is inevitable, so it’s important to have a clear goal in mind.’
An architect should be your first port of call. They will draw up some designs and suggest the right builders for the job. They will also guide you through the planning process. Once plans are confirmed, they should be submitted to the local authority for planning permission.
Chris Scott, director of Mascot Bespoke Homes, suggests that, before applying for planning permission, your architect should consider what can be achieved using permitted development laws, as these might be adequate for your needs, negating the need for planning permission.
You should also embark on a little local diplomacy. ‘It’s always worth consulting with your neighbours at the earliest stage to keep them as on-side as possible,’ he advises. What type of extension you choose will depend on your circumstances, as well as your wish list.
‘The most common extensions we see are side-return extensions on Victorian terraces, or single-storey rear extensions on Edwardian properties,’ says Jamie. ‘Wraparound extensions often offer the largest increase in space but, for urban properties, this is rarely an option and can cause more issues with council planning departments.’
When it comes to design, Jason emphasises that ensuring connectivity between zones will guarantee overall success. An open-plan layout with a kitchen island is popular as it creates a focal point and ensures the space is both functional and sociable.
‘One of the most common pitfalls is to think that bigger is better – this can result in a space that’s too large to fill or plan efficiently. And considering how an extension connects to other rooms in the house is very important. It shouldn’t be designed in isolation.’
Kenelm Cornwall-Legh, Co-founder at Run Projects
What was the brief for this kitchen extension? Our client wanted a more ‘liveable’ space that was better for entertaining family and friends. By extending two metres to the rear, remodelling the side return and adding frameless skylights, the space was completely opened up, giving a much greater sense of light and flow. The large island is the focal point and provides a fantastic social hub. There is a formal dining space, but for day-to-day living and having a couple of friends round for a relaxed drink, the island offers the perfect set-up.
What makes this project a success? The garden was completely overhauled, creating a much more attractive and calming outlook from the kitchen, and giving a real sense of inside/outside living.The modern skylights give a great look while allowing in much more light. The white ceiling and the contrast between the two paint colours adds a real element of interest to the room too.