Open house: a Guildford kitchen extension designed for family life

Adding a two-storey rear extension to their home in Guildford allowed homeowners Paul and Juliet Hillier to create a sociable kitchen-living-diner for their family of four

Day-to-day family life was what inspired the Hilliers to embark upon an entire renovation of their house in Guildford.

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ROOM TO MOVE Extending the footprint of their house enabled the Hilliers to create a large open-plan kitchen with plenty of storage and work space

Juliet, a general practitioner, and her management accountant husband Paul live in this five-bedroom 1930s property with their children Frank, nine, and Chloe, seven, and had been living there for four years before work began.

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‘We decided to add a two-storey rear extension and undergo an overall update,’ explains Paul. ‘The whole project took around nine months, so we lived off-site for most of that.’

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FEELING BLUE Rather than place the sink on the island, the couple opted to locate it underneath the window and its views

While the existing kitchen had been in a good condition, the layout consisted of separate rooms, making it difficult to spend quality time together as a family.

‘As we have young children, we planned to combine the kitchen, dining and living space,’ says Paul. ‘We also wanted to better open the room to our large rear south-west-facing garden.’

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VIEW POINT The dining table in the new extension looks out onto the large rear south-west-facing garden

The couple worked with an architect, who helped come up with an initial layout – including the wide, multifunctional island the family could socialise around. Having spent time researching kitchens online and in magazines, Juliet and Paul had a clear idea as to how the space should look and work. ‘We wanted a smart but informal café-like feel to it.’

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HOSTING SKILLS Paul and Juliet wanted to create a relaxed open-plan living space they could spend quality time in entertaining family and friends

After discovering a Harvey Jones showroom within walking distance of their home – conveniently located, as they needed to visit several times – Juliet and Paul opted for one of the company’s kitchens.

The team there were on hand to refine the couple’s initial design. ‘Being tall, I felt the recommended addition of drawers instead of cupboards beneath the work surface was worthwhile,’ says Paul, ‘and  Juliet loves the easy access to cooking equipment.’

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ON THE SLIDE Deep drawers, painted in Valspar Evening Coat blue, were preferred to less accessible under-the-counter cupboards

In the kitchen zone, contemporary patterned tiles help to distinguish the area from the rest of the space. ‘The benefit of a busy pattern is it hides the by-products of a busy kitchen,’ explains Paul. ‘The flecks of yellow brighten things up a little and the tiles gave us the opportunity to echo the colours throughout the space, pulling the whole scheme together.’

Open wooden shelving, coupled with underlighting, and a wood profile on the island help to bring warmth into the kitchen. And there’s plenty of surface space on which Juliet and Paul can prepare dinner while the children sit at the breakfast bar.

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STORE AND ORDER A large larder cupboard provides plenty of storage for cereals, jams and cooking ingredients

‘We even have an office area at the end of the kitchen,’ says Paul. ‘It’s out of the way, but close enough to be able to do things like research recipes, holidays or general admin while cooking – or, if someone else is cooking, you can still chat.’ The result is a functional and stylish kitchen-living-diner that the whole family can enjoy together.

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NEAT AND TIDY A mix of open shelving, cupboards and drawers throughout the kitchen offers plenty of storage and adds interest to the design

Project profile

Q&A with Melissa Klink, head of design at Harvey Jones

Can you tell us about the design of the furniture?

Linear Edge is a sleek and contemporary style of cabinetry and is a handle-less version of our Linear range. It is great for those seeking a modern, minimalist kitchen aesthetic.

As with all of our ranges, this cabinetry comes in a primed finish, which allows our customers to choose from an endless selection of paint colours to find the shade that’s perfect for their room.

The wooden oak breakfast bar, wall shelves and interiors of the open shelving help bring warmth into the space and work in harmony with the blue cabinetry.

How does the finished kitchen answer the brief?

When Juliet and Paul first came to us, they had a very good idea of what they envisaged for the kitchen. Open shelving and somewhere to showcase the cookbooks, jugs and vases was a must, along with a pantry larder and wine fridge. A seating area that was separate from the cooking area was also important, so that family and visiting guests could be in the space without interfering with the chef.

What is the most important aspect of designing a kitchen?

Quite simply, ensuring the design works for the homeowner. We can advise and give recommendations on the dos and don’ts of overall design layout, but the finished result needs to work for the homeowners. After all, they are the ones who will be living in the space.

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Photos by Darren Chung