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Modern kitchen design inspiration

A contemporary kitchen extension is defined by the use of neutral colours, clean lines, and an abundance of natural light. It’s a space that exudes tranquility whilst providing the functionality required of a busy home. Despite the semblance of simplicity, however, it comprises many different elements. If you’re thinking of renovating your house with an extension, here’s a rundown of our favourite features (all from previous Plus Rooms projects) to serve as inspiration for your contemporary kitchen design. 

Clean lines 

Contemporary design is synonymous with sleek, uncluttered lines. This can be achieved in a number of different ways; the contouring of the space, crown mouldings, skirting boards, furniture, materials, and patterns all play a role in creating smooth, modern lines. Another particularly important factor is your choice of kitchen units. If you’re looking to achieve a minimal feel to your extension, we’d recommend using handless units. As you’ll see from our previous project on Friern Road, these units consist of a flat slab with an integrated handle. This gives them a clean linear look without compromising on functionality. 

Kitchen doors 

Apart from providing access to outside space, kitchen doors determine how much natural light comes into your extension. In contemporary design, kitchen doors are made to maximise the amount of natural light inside, helping to create an uplifting atmosphere. The feeling of the space is also influenced by the frame type and material; sliding and bi-folding doors, for instance, help to create the impression of a seamless flow between inside and outside. Crittall doors, on the other hand, can be used to complement the style of an extension’s roof, as can be seen with the below example from Griffiths Road.

Lighting 

Lighting is fundamental for a room’s function and ambience. As a rule, there are three types of lighting: general, task, and accent. General lighting is the first layer of lighting in a space, illuminating the main areas of a room. 

In contemporary kitchen design, recessed ceiling lights and tracking lights are commonly used for this purpose. Task lighting, on the other hand, refers to a more specific type of lighting; one that’s required to perform certain tasks, such as reading or cooking. There are many options for task lighting in the modern kitchen style; think about using feature pendant lights or discreet under-counter lights. 

The last type of lighting is accent lighting which is used to bring attention to focal points in a room such as painting, sculptures, or structural features. Again, there are multiple lighting options for this purpose; niche lighting, wall sconces, inner cabinet lights can all be used to emphasise a modern feel. A great example of this can be seen below with our work on Bradley Road. Here, accent lighting is used to subtly emphasise the clean, sleek lines – a hallmark feature of modern kitchen extensions.

Neutral colours 

Modern kitchen designs often rely on neutral tones in order to provide a clean backdrop to occasional bursts of colour. There are many ways to introduce more vibrancy into a contemporary style. For instance, consider a measured use of artwork that reflects the atmosphere of the space, or experiment with different colours of lampshades and statement furniture. On one previous project, our client injected colour into their minimalist kitchen extension through a well-placed bookshop and a choice selection of plants. 

Contemporary kitchen extensions 

We hope the examples above have given you some inspiration for your own contemporary kitchen designs. If you’re looking for more ideas, we have plenty of other previous projects for you to browse through. And if you’d like to talk about any particular project, feel free to get in contact

How much does a kitchen extension cost?

As a general rule, prices for high-quality kitchen extensions start at around £65,000. For more ambitious projects, they can cost £120,000 or more. This might seem like a wildly-varying range, but there are many variables to take into account. In this post, we explain what some of these are, as well as the many benefits of installing a kitchen extension. 

Why build a kitchen extension?

The kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where we prepare ourselves for the day ahead and where we gather in the evenings to unwind. As the most multifunctional room in the house, it serves many different purposes; from being the place where we cook and eat to providing an informal area for hosting family and friends. 

A kitchen extension is sure to maximise living space, giving growing families extra room to use whilst rejuvenating the overall feeling of a property. It can also increase the value of a home by as much as 20%, not to mention its saleability.

How much is a kitchen extension?

A kitchen extension can cost anything from £65,000 to over £120,000. How much yours will cost is determined by three factors: design, size, and type.

Design

A kitchen extension is more than an expansion of your existing kitchen space. It’s a re-imagining of it. With a kitchen extension, you can entirely re-design the ground floor of your property; you may want to create an industrial feel through the use of reclaimed materials, a modern space with clean lines, or an intimate enclave through warm colours and textures. A kitchen extension allows you to re-frame the focus of your property whilst improving its functionality.

Size

Kitchen extensions come in all shapes and sizes. Some help you to take advantage of an unused walkway by the side of your property, whilst others expand into areas on multiple sides of your house. Regardless of its size, a kitchen extension provides more space for your needs and the opportunity to refresh your property’s style. 

Type

There are several different types of kitchen extension. Which one you choose depends on the shape and suitability of your property, not to mention your design ambitions. Here are the most common kitchen extension types offered by Plus Rooms along with some examples of our previous projects.

Rear kitchen extension

A rear kitchen extension expands into available space behind a property. Suitable for most house types, it widens the design potential for kitchen/diner areas whilst allowing more natural light to spill into other rooms on the ground floor.

Whilst the costs of a rear kitchen extension vary according to roof type, they generally start at around £70,000. 

Examples

Side return kitchen extension

A side return extension expands the kitchen space into unused areas adjacent to the property, such as a garden walkway.

A viable option in areas with tight planning permission, side return extensions are often used to enhance Victorian terraced properties and take advantage of the unused space at the side of the kitchen. The average cost of a side return kitchen extension is £65k.

Examples

Dassett RD (SE27) – This modest side return extension has a significant impact on the property, creating a unique space that blends traditional and contemporary aspects such as a parquet floor with copper pipe shelving.

Derwent Grove (SE22) –The exposed brickwork of this project provides warmth to a modern kitchen space filled with natural light.

Side and rear kitchen extension

This type of extension expands into areas both to the side and rear of your property. Whilst similar to a wraparound extension (more on this below), it allows owners to create more separated spaces within their home. Prices for side and rear extensions start at around £80,000.

Examples

Garfield Rd (SW19) – This side and rear extension in Wimbledon overcomes local planning permission issues and provides a modern kitchen/diner space with neat lines, an abundance of natural light, and occasional splashes of colour. Its broken plan layout helps to create interesting and specific zones to the space.

Wraparound kitchen extension

Wraparound kitchen extensions also expand into the side and rear of a property.

Unlike a side and rear extension, however, wraparound extensions are conjoined; they move into areas on two or three sides of a house, often creating a significantly larger indoor space. Prices for wraparound kitchen extensions start at around £85,000 

Examples

Nigel Rd (SE15) – Making use of space to the rear and side of a Victorian terraced property, this extension creates a bright contemporary kitchen/dining area through clean lines and frameless skylights.

Fellbrigg Road (SE22) – ‘Crittall’ style doors have been paired with exposed brick walls and a navy shaker kitchen to create an open, light Art Deco/Industrial space. 

An investment in your home 

A kitchen is much more than a purely functional space. Although it has numerous uses, it can also be considered an expression of your way of living. As such there are many options when it comes to kitchen extensions, and each has an impact on its final cost. Regardless of property type and stylistic leanings, however, one thing is certain; a kitchen extension will enhance your home immeasurably.


Plus Rooms is a family-run business that focuses on improving people’s homes through beautifully designed extensions. We manage all aspects of extension projects, from initial design work through to planning permission, party wall notices, and construction. To learn more about our work, check out extension case studies or send us a message, we’re here to answer all of your questions.

i-Build Feb 2021

DREAM KITCHEN RENOVATION

After 12 years of living in their late-Victorian East Dulwich home, Paul and Lindsay Davies were forced to admit that their kitchen was no longer fit for purpose. With little room to appreciate the heart of their home and difficult spaces in general, the pair turned to Plus Rooms for help. 

Writer REBECCA KEMP  Photographer LIANE RYAN Project PLUS ROOMS

COOKING UP A STORM

As a specialist in improving and enlarging residential properties, Plus Rooms has addressed the Davies’ spatial and aesthetic issues, improving the natural flow of the ground floor and increasing sought-after daylighting with an extension that complements the character of the original house with an eye-catching, striding design.  Here, i-Build Editor, Rebecca Kemp, talks to Lindsay about the stunning transformation and finds out more about the space the couple lived in for over a decade before deciding to take the home improvement route. 

RK: Tell us why you decided to take on this project?
LD: All our cupboards were full to bursting, we had no work surface space, and the garden entrance was poky and awkward.  The side return had become a dumping ground and was being used as a collective litter tray by all the neighbourhood’s cats!  To top if off, every kitchen appliance seemed to break at once, so we had to replace them all anyway.  It felt like a sign. 

RK: How did you combine the original building’s style with the extension? 
LD: Externally, we kept the same style of brickwork, using modern ‘aged’ reproductions of old London stock bricks which look virtually indistinguishable from the originals.  Inside, we wanted to open up the back part of our living room so that if flowed through to the kitchen.  We extended the floorboards and stained them, so it looked seamless. 

RK: What was your vision and inspiration? 
LD:  We had a Pinterest board that changed over time – we started off wanting to replicate our original kitchen (which had quite a ‘cottagey’ vite), but we kept finding ourselves drawn to more dramatic, darker colours.  We found a black freestanding cabinet we liked, and the rest of the kitchen’s look followed on from that. 

URBAN SANCTUARY

RK: How long did it take to gain planning permission? 
LD: It did take a while, though I don’t remember exactly how long.  Plus Rooms guided us through the whole process. 

RK: Were there any challenging aspects to the project and build? 
LD:  The most challenging thing was living and working at home while it was all going on.  I’m a Book Editor, and I work from home most of the time, so there was no getting away from the noise and chaos.  The builders did a good job trying to protect the rest of the house.  Hover, it was still very challenging spending three months cooking on a little two-ring electric stone balanced on top of a makeshift work surface in our living room, with all of our stored food covered in a layer of dust!

In terms of the actual build, the hardest thing was getting the huge steel beams through the house.  I thought the builders were going to have to saw our bannisters off at one point or dismantle our original Victorian sash window in the living room (over my dead body!)  Luckily, they managed to get them in, but that was a hugely stressful moment. 

RK:  Why did you choose to work with Plus Rooms?  
LD:  Two of our friends had done kitchen extensions with Plus Rooms, so we knew they were good.  Both friends had used a particular build team, so we requested to have the exact same one – we waited until they were free as we wanted to go with a team that had been personally recommended.  We liked the fact that Plus Rooms assigned a project co-ordinator to oversee the project, so we had someone with technical knowledge we could go to if we had any problems. 

RK:  How long did the project take?  
LD:  The main build was pretty much completed to timeframe – eight or nine weeks if I remember rightly.  We started on 1st April 2019, and we were in by July.  But there’s always a ‘long tail’ of little jobs at the end of any build, so I think we still had people coming in to finish bits and pieces in August and even September. 

” We were initially quoted £43,800, but there were lots of extras, eg £2K for removing a chimney breast, £3,800 to raise the steels into the ceiling, £7K for the doors / windows. etc. “

RK:  Did you remain with the original budget?  
LD:  We deliberately overbudgeted for everything and had a contingency built in, so we were technically within budget.  Still, we spent an eyewatering amount!  The basic build was what we were initially quoted (?43,800) but there were lots of extras, eg ?2K for removing a chimney breast, ?3,800 to raise the steels into the ceiling, ?7K for the doors/windows etc.  The main building costs, including a party wall surveyor, fees, plumbing and electrics, new boiler etc. came to just over ?75K.  Then there was the cost of the finishing team and all the fixtures and fittings on top. 

RK:  How does the extension respond to the landscape?  
LD:  I’m thrilled that we’ve managed to make accessing the back garden much easier, its a clich?, but it really has opened it up and brought the outside inside.  I’ve had so much pleasure sitting and looking out over the garden over the last year.

RK:  Is the finished space everything you hoped it would be?  
LD:  Yes, its quite a pressure to design your dream kitchen from scratch, having never done it before, but we’d spent a lot of time planning it, and in the end, it was exactly what we wanted.  I don’t think there’s anything I would change.

RK:  Have you found a change in the way you use your kitchen?  
LD:  We all spend so much more time in it.  It’s a much more sociable space.  And it’s been a lifesaver during lockdown as my husband has been using it as his base to work from home.

RK:  What do you love most about it?  
LD:  sitting on the sofa in the morning with a coffee, looking out at the garden and having a few minutes of quiet before the day starts.  That was the image in my mind that kept me going throughout the difficult times in the build.  You literally couldn’t see the garden from our old kitchen unless you were standing at the sink; now its always in our sight-line, and I get so much pleasure from it.

RK:  Is there anything that you would have done differently?  
LD:  We spent a lot of time discussing the height of the floor with the builders, but somehow we still managed to get it wrong, and they had to cut down some doors in the hall as a result.  I still don’t quite understand how that happened.  But it wasn’t the end of the world.

RK:  Would you do the whole thing again?  
LD:  Not in a hurry, thank you!  I’m very happy to take some time and enjoy what we’ve got.  That said, I’m delighted we did it, so no regrets on that score.

RK:  What advice would you offer to anyone looking to renovate?  
LD:  Go with people who are recommended to you personally.  Having a good build team and project manager made all the difference to us. Also, it’s worth micro-planning how you’re going to use your kitchen.  We spent ages figuring out exactly how we wanted to arrange the cupboards, where we would stand when emptying the dishwasher, what our view would be when we were sitting on the sofa etc. and drawing out different configuration of how the kitchen would be laid out until we got it right.  Where will the cling film go?  Where will the cat’s food bowl live?  Is there enough space to get past easily if the dishwasher is open?  It’s all that attention to detail that’s paid off in how we use the kitchen now.

iBuild magazine February 2021 – Fellbrigg Road

How much does a loft conversion cost?

The cost of a loft conversion can be anywhere between £55k and £70k. More ambitious projects with unique structural challenges and bespoke design briefs can cost more. To give you a better idea of the costs involved with converting your loft, we’ve put together this short guide. It provides a rundown of the factors influencing the final price of a conversion and why you should consider transforming your loft in the first place.

Why build a loft conversion?

Lofts are often underutilized spaces, meaning that they don’t always offer homeowners the most value. The space they occupy, however, is incredibly useful. Lofts can be transformed from redundant, dusty areas into new rooms for your property. Imagine a roof-top bathroom fitted with wall-to-wall feature windows, offering expansive vistas of your local area whilst remaining hidden. Or perhaps a well-designed study room, cocooned from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house. Whatever your wants and needs, loft conversions offer a space to fulfil them.

Loft conversion cost factors

Size

Size is a significant factor in the cost of your loft conversion. This is determined both by your property type and your designs. Whilst most loft conversions fully utilise all available space, others are more modest, and only take up a portion of the loft space. Whether you opt for a bijou bedroom conversion or a full-scale studio fit-out, however, a loft conversion will give more living space. 

Loft type

There are several different types of loft extension, with each one more or less suitable for a particular shape and style of property. What works for a modern semi-detached house might not be suitable for a Victorian terraced property. Here are the main types of loft extension we offer at Plus Rooms and what kind of properties they can be used with.  

Dormer Loft Conversion

A dormer is a structure that’s added to a roof in order to increase the amount of usable floor space in a loft space, whilst allowing for extra headroom. It’s a common option for loft extension; it can be used with any properties that have a pitched roof. 

Examples
  • White Hard Ln (SW13) – This conversion created a large master bedroom and ensuite over the mainframe and rear of the property, substantially increasing the floorspace of the property.
  • Fawnsbrake Ave (SE24) – An L-shaped loft conversion with dormer structures over the mainframe and rear of the property. Highlights of this bold project include feature windows and an open-plan bedroom/en-suite.

Hip-to-gable loft conversion

Many properties (especially end-of-terrace houses) have a ‘hipped’ roof. This type of roof has three sides which slope to a central point, limiting the amount of usable floor space within a loft area.

A hip-to-gable loft conversion works by replacing one of the sloping sides of a hipped roof with a vertical wall. This creates a four-sided roof and provides more space within the loft area. When combined with a dormer, it can significantly increase the amount of size available for a conversion.    

Examples 
  • Mostyn Rd (SW19) – This project uses a hip-to-gable dormer to create a large, bright master bedroom and ensuite that looks out over the local area. 
  • Lime Grove (TW1) – This conversion transformed a bungalow into a spacious family home, creating two bedrooms and a shared bathroom.

Mansard loft conversion

Mansard loft conversions require the restructuring of the roof. They work by flattening the top of the roof to create a more angular slope which usually sits at the rear of the property. Similarly to dormers, this increases the amount of headspace in the loft area and ensures that it receives the most amount of natural light as possible.

In terms of viable properties, mansard loft conversions can work with all types, from bungalows to detached, semi-detached, and terraced houses.

Examples
  • Rush Hill Rd (SW11) – A front and rear mansard has been used to convert this roof into a new floor containing a guest bedroom, en-suite, and cinema room.
  • Devereux Road (SW11) – A full rear mansard has been extended across the full width of this Victorian terrace property to accommodate two spacious double bedrooms.

Let us talk you through the options

Given that there are so many factors in the cost of a loft conversion, we’d always advise speaking to a qualified contractor to get an accurate quote. At Plus Rooms, we take pride in offering clients a gold-standard loft extension service, from quoting through to design concepts and construction. If you’d like to know more about our work, take a look at our past projects or feel free to get in contact – we’re here to help.

Our guide to planning permission for kitchen extensions

A beautifully-designed kitchen extension has the potential to transform your home. It offers the chance to try an exciting new style whilst increasing the amount of functional space available. You might wish to create a bright and modern area with ample room to entertain family and friends, for instance. Or perhaps you’d prefer a reconfiguration of your current kitchen, using the extra space to fit new appliances. Whatever your requirements, you’ll need to know your requirements regarding planning permission before work starts. In this post, we’ll outline the most important information to ensure your kitchen extension project can go ahead as planned.

Do I need planning permission for a kitchen extension?

You won’t need planning permission for a kitchen extension as long as it can be classed as a ‘Permitted Development’. To be classified as a ‘Permitted Development’ it has to conform to various conditions, including: 

  • The planned extension cannot take up more than half of the land around the ‘original house’ – this is a house as it was first built, or as it stood on 1 July 1948.
  • The width of a side extension must not be more than half of the width of the original house.
  • The height of a side extension must be no more than four metres.
  • If the extension is to be within two metres of a boundary, then the maximum eaves height is three metres.
  • A rear extension must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by eight metres (for a detached house) or six metres (for any other type of property) unless they are on ‘designated land’, in which case the limits are reduced to four and three metres respectively.
  • The materials of the extension must be similar in appearance to the existing house.

How long does it take to receive planning permission in London?

If your kitchen extension cannot be classified as a ‘Permitted Development’, you’ll need to apply for planning permission. Although it can vary between projects, it generally takes around 8 weeks for planning permission to be granted from local authorities in and around London. 

Kitchen extension building regulations

Building regulations approval is separate from planning permission, and is required regardless of whether your extension is classed as a ‘Permitted Development’. This type of approval can be considered a vote of confidence that your intended extension is structurally viable, complies with fire safety rules, and has adequate sound insulation. Inspections are made before, during, and after construction by a building control service to make sure that every aspect is in line with regulations.

An end-to-end service

If you’re not sure where to start with your extension project, get in touch with Plus Rooms. We offer a complete service, from initial design concepts through to planning and construction. The final result is a stunning home extension that gives you the space you need and allows you greater flexibility to define your style. Take a look at some of our past kitchen extension projects to see the quality of our craftsmanship.