A couple sacrificed as much garden as they could bear to gain a bigger kitchen with a super-sized island
The couple had never been entirely happy with the inherited kitchen in their London home. ‘The kitchen had dark wood units and didn’t get much light through its west-facing window, so we asked our architect Simon Skeffington at Architecturall to design an extension,’ they say.
It wraps around the back and side of the house, where there was an odd, wedge-shaped bit of garden that the owners never used. ‘Simon surprised us with his very creative ideas – literally sketched on the back of an envelope,’ the owners recall. ‘He was inspired by the size and shape of the unused plot, and his plans involved building an internal courtyard of frameless glass, with a steel and glass extension wrapped round it.’
The extension would comprise four extra rooms – a dining area, utility room, guest bedroom and shower. As for the existing kitchen and dining room, Simon suggested demolishing the wall between them to create a big new kitchen.
During the eight weeks it took to get planning permission, Simon’s team removed the wall between the old kitchen and dining room, and gutted it. Meanwhile Julian Cotet, the builder, set up a little kitchen in the couple’s daughter’s playroom.
Simon worked with an interior designer for Boonholt Design Consultants to devise the best layout. By knocking through the existing kitchen and dining room, then adding that 50 sq m space at the rear and side, the cooking area was doubled and created space for an extra-long island.
‘Simon actually saved us thousands of pounds by buying cupboard carcases from Howdens and having his joiners make the bespoke doors and shelving,’ says the owner.
Bronze tiles form the splashback. ‘It’s intended to look like rusted steel, as we wanted the kitchen to have an industrial-chic vibe,’ the owner says.
‘We left the exposed brickwork from the old exterior wall on show to frame the doorway between the kitchen and dining area,’ says the owner. Open shelving turns the island into a display opportunity.
Totally trend-proof, the brick is a great way to give a space warmth and colour without paint or wallpaper.
The island is a cooking hub with built-in ovens, the hob and extractor on one side. It lest the owners face outwards and interact with other people while they are cooking.
At the other end of the island is a double-sided breakfast bar, where the family can enjoy snacks, or guests can sit with drinks in the evening. A reclaimed stadium sign takes pride of place on the mantelpiece.
‘I chose an undercounted sink and a simple, streamlined tap for a clean, uncluttered look,’ the owner explains.
The build cost £175,000, with a few hiccups on the way. ‘We had to replace our boiler after finding it wasn’t efficient enough, which meant spending more than we’d bargained for,’ says the owner. ‘So I’d always warn anyone taking on a similar project to expect the unexpected.
‘It took four months to complete, but the new rooms really fit around our needs,’ says the owner. ‘We have such busy lives, so it’s great at the weekends to have this open-plan space where we can all be comfortable together.’