Real Homes Oct 2020


Rachel Barlow’s newly-extended kitchen-diner provides ample space to relax, entertain and play in the home she shares with her husband and two children.

‘We knew we wanted to make our mark on the house when we moved in. However. we were expecting our first child so we prioritised doing what we could quite quickly and saved the big work until after the baby was born. Two babies later, it was obvious the kitchen was the pinch point. It was so narrow you couldn’t fit a proper table in. We went backwards and forwards between the kitchen and sitting room checking on the kids and watching pots on the boil, and we rarely had people over – it felt too chaotic.


‘We wanted a big kitchen-diner so we could cook and keep an eye on the kids at the same time. we’re west-facing so we wanted big patio doors to enjoy the sunny afternoons. I was keen on having an island with the hob looking out onto the garden so I could prep tea while watching the kids play. We based the layout around that and designed it ourselves.

‘As well as a side-return extension, we reconfigured the downstairs layout, shortening the living room and adding a utility and downstairs toilet. We didn’t want to extend out to the back, partly because it would impede on next door’s view and light, so we decided to take a little space from the rest of the house to make the kitchen bigger.

The work was more straightforward than we thought. The build team boarded up the kitchen and accessed the site via the side of the house, so while it was cold, it was safe for the kids. The project has changed the way we live in the house completely there’s so much it more space and it feels much less claustrophobic trying to cook and entertain. We got what we wanted: an indoor-outdoor space where we can all be together while doing our own thing. We have no complaints – we’re so glad we did it.’

Project cost ?60,700
Design: Plus Rooms  0800 917 7127


One of the benefits of a side return extension is the natural light it can being to the dark middle rooms of a house. especially if you’re knocking through to make one open. plan space. Make the most of the opportunity by installing rooflights. They’ll provide ample light placed along a solid ceiling, but if you can stretch your budget a little further, a fully glazed roof – or a series of rooflights with minimal sightlines – will maximise light and views.


An extension opens up a wealth of layout opportunities for your new kitchen-diner, but be sure to plan the two at the same tine. A side-retum addition can be used to zone a space – try positioning the dining table in the extended space. and place the kitchen on the opposite wall in a run of units or an L-shape. If your new room is wide enough. consider using an island to separate cooking and dining zones.  Small space?  One galley-style bank of units will leave enough room for a walkway between the two areas.


Flooring makes a huge difference to the flow of the space, so making sure yours is the same in both the new and old parts of the build is a given.  Consider also whether you want to continue the flooring out to the hall, particularly if you have a doorless opening into the newly extended space – doing so will create a view from the house of the house out to the back, and help to unify your home’ scheme.  Want to link to a patio?  Laying similar materials underfoot will increase the indoor-outdoor feel to the new extension.


Keeping next door on side will save you time and potentially stress, particularly if you’re working on an existing party wall or building a new one on the boundary line.  In this case, you’ll require a party wall agreement before you can start work.  You’ll need to serve neighbours with a party wall notice or pay a party wall surveyor to do this for you.  If you’re particularly friendly with them, you could keep them informed of your plans early on and see if they’ll sign an agreement waiver – it could save you ?1,000 of more.

Good Homes Oct 2020


An open-plan wrap-around addition has given Amy and Nick Robert-Nicoud a loft-style space to spend quality family time in.


Q? What was your inspiration for the new extension?
The most important thing was that it should be a relaxing, fun space for the whole family, and we liked the idea of a quirky open-plan look, similar to a New York loft apartment The traditional layout of separate rooms just didn’t work for us, and we wanted to bring more natural light into the ground floor. The design and build company we chose, Plus Rooms, has a great reputation locally and was able to secure planning permission and build the entire shell of the new brick and block extension while we stayed living in the house.

Q? How did you achieve the loft look?
We salvaged bricks from demolished walls, which were used for the interior wall in the dining area, and instead of boxing in the structural steelwork, we left it exposed and painted it black to contrast with the white walls and ceiling. The whole family enjoys playing pool, so making space for the pool table and adding accessories like the Fender bar stools has given us the relaxed, fun living space we’d hoped for.

Q? ?Why did you choose a two-tone kitchen?
Although the house was quite dated when we bought it in 2018, the previous owner had recently installed a new kitchen, which we just couldn’t justify ripping out We saved the cabinets, but although we found the same design, we weren’t able to source the colour, so we took a risk and mixed grey and white units together. Its something everyone comments on, and we’ve continued the colour scheme throughout the space, including our built-in storage seat under the bi-fold window. We are always keen to mend or re-use: we also kept the range cooker and the sink from the old kitchen, which helped keep costs down further. In fact, we came in under the original budget, and the extension only took eleven weeks to build and fit out, which was such a pleasant surprise.



Amy Robert-Nicoud, a teacher, and her husband Nick, who works in marketing, live with their children, Sam, 16 and Tea, 15, in this three-storey, five-bedroom Edwardian semi in Richmond?

To incorporate an existing lean-to utility room into a wrap-around rear and side extension, creating an open-plan kitchen/dining/ living space overlooking the garden through bi-fold doors and lit from above by rooflights

Building work ?87,500 Doors, windows & skylights ?18,000 Grey kitchen cabinets & worktop ?4,800 Laminate flooring ?1,400 Wall tiles ?300 Fridge-freezer ?1,100 Lighting ?200 Furniture & decoration ?14,700

TOTAL SPEND ?128,000

The timber-framed fibreglass roof over the new extension is perfect for housing the generous rooflights, and avoids blocking views from the upper windows, while a small overhanging canopy of 30cm runs flush with the internal ceiling.

A pool table doesn’t need to be consigned to a garage or playroom – incorporating it into the main living space brings the whole family together and is a fun way to spend time with visiting friends.

‘Adding accessories like the Fender bar stools has given us the relaxed, fun living space we’d hoped for’


The original kitchen cabinetry has been reused and new unit doors added in a contrasting colourway for a contemporary two-tone effect

‘We couldn’t justify ripping out the kitchen so saved the cabinets and kept the range cooker, which helped keep costs down’.


The couple decided against a central island, choosing instead to utilise a peninsular unit as a breakfast far, creating a more spacious, relaxed scheme


From everyday use to entertaining, the open-plan arrangement of the extension is adaptable, with the couple able to bring a second identical table into this space for larger dinner parties


A comfy window seat doubles as clutter-clearing, space-saving, solution as well as inviting feature


Building regulation approval will normally be required for any major internal alternations, such as removing a load-bearing wall, beam, or chimney breast, and when two or more rooms are combined.? A load-bearing wall supports other elements of the building, such as the roof, so ensure you seek expert advice from a structural engineer or other qualified professional.

Every wall you remove means fewer places to position furniture and radiators, so sketch potential layouts before you start, and design in plenty of storage to reduce clutter.? The window and door positions in an open-plan space need to be considered, floor levels might not meet from one room to the next, while radiators and electrical switches and sockets may need relocating.

Open-plan kitchens with dining and seating areas are extremely sociable, but having another quiet room to escape to offers an ideal solution for busy families, and a separate utility room will reduce noise from washing machines, for example.? Choose soft furnishings and large rugs to stifle sound in a large room and install efficient ventilation to extract strong cooking smells.

Glass bi-fold doors, windows and rooflights, ?18,000, Integral Home. Grey kitchen cabinets and worktops, ?4,800, Howdens. Tegola whitewashed laminate flooring, ?1,400, Carpetright. Jerry dining chairs, ?85 each, Habitat. Rangemaster Kitchener range cooker, ?1,569, Appliance City. Fender bar stools, ?99 each, Andertons. Samsung American-style fridge-freezer, ?1,100, Currys. Wall tiles, Topps Tiles, ?300. Diamond pool table, ?400, Radley Pool Tables. Vintage wooden circus sign, ?50, Vintage French. For a similar dining table, try the Watford extendable vintage design, ?599, La Redoute