Real Homes May 2023

Spring Palette

Kate’s and Ross’ confident use of colour has brought freshness and charm to their new open-plan kitchen extension.



Katy McMillan, who works for charity WIG, and husband Ross, who works in advertising technology, live here with children Daisy, Lottie, and Florrie


A four-bedroom Victorian house in London


£146,000 (total cost including garden makeover)

Tall bespoke units run parallel to the kitchen area and offer a separate space for utility storage. Kitchen cabinets painted in Little Greene. Kitchen door painted in Rhubarb Rose, Crown. For similar armchairs, try the Retrostar, DC Concept. See Fusion Living for a yellow plastic dining chair

The bright combination of colours and a fun pattern help make the space look inviting, even on rainy days.
Tiles Tiles Direct, Lights, Pooky. Handles, Hafele. Range cooker, Hotpoint. Boiling water tap, Qettle. Sink, Sockets and switches, The Electrical Counter. Try Atlantic Shopping for a bar stool

A hot water tap frees up work space, as you don’t need a kettle,’ says Daisy. She picked this modern innovation in a traditional style to match the central mixer tap. Fluted ceramic sink, aged brass tap and hot water tap, all DeVol

The great thing about living in a property for a while before attempting to make changes to it, is that you can really appreciate what works and what might be lacking from the existing set up. Ross and Katy had been in their family home for 13 years before their three children were born, and knew the building inside out. This meant that when it came to extending, they were able to make informed choices, and marry them with playful design considerations. The finished project goes to show that good design can make the most out of any space.

Step 1

Disjointed Spaces

‘The existing layout didn’t use the available space to its maximum capacity,’ says Ross. ‘ We wanted to reconfigure and add space. It was a typical Victorian property with a front room and dining room, a long corridor/hallway and a galley kitchen to the side. The dining room became a dumping ground.

‘The kitchen itself was okay until we had our third child. There wasn’t enough room to have five chairs around the table, and we couldn’t have guests around. We knocked the dining room into the side return, so we now have one big space. We wanted to stay here because it’s a very nice street and we have great neighbours. The children love their school.’

Step 2

Plus Side

‘We only went to the side, not the back, as we didn’t want to lose any garden – we are always out there during the summer,’ says Katy. ‘The project wasn’t about making the house bigger – it was about making the space work better. Plus Rooms was the only company that suggested knocking through. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have used the space half as much.

‘We started in Feb 2020. The team removed the walls and installed the roof, then work ground to a halt due to the pandemic. We had a temporary kitchen in the front room. We were working crazy hours and living in the loft room. Then we got Covid and couldn’t go out and get food. It was a challenging time!


Build works £77,000

Kitchen (including appliances and fitting) £26,000

Glazing £9,600

Design & build Plus Rooms,

Joiner/carpenter Julien Giles,

Interior design Elie Lyon at Wildcat Interiors,

Sliding doors Integral Home,

Sliding doors allow light to flood the interior space. They offer a strong indoor-outdoor connection and unobstructed views out into the sizeable gardens. DoorsIntegral Home. Floorboardsreclaimed.

Step 3

Built for Purpose

‘The kitchen was made by our carpenter and spray painted,’ Katy says. ‘We wanted a run of cupboards hosting the pantry and washing machine. A high-end kitchen wasn’t in the budget, and it would’ve been a challenge to find one from a regular supplier. Julien was recommended by a friend, and it’s worked out great; every millimetre of space is used.

‘We also worked with an interior designer, Elie Lyon, to help with the layout and colour scheme. Her ideas were brilliant; she encouraged me to try new things and visualise them in a different way. I worked out where the light came through to see the best type of green for the units, and then I matched the pink hue to them.’

Step 4

Small Details

‘As walls were coming down, we saw this as an opportunity to run an internet cable under the floor as the broadband in the back room wasn’t great,’ says Ross. ‘Now it’s got strong Wi-Fi. We also have built-in speakers. ‘In the summer, the sliding doors are constantly open. We had to decide between bi-folds, sliding and Crittallstyle, and while I love the latter, I was being pragmatic about the amount of time we’d have them open or closed. Part of the glazing is static, but we knew we’d have an L-shaped sofa so it wouldn’t matter. Because we were designing from scratch, we could put a cat flap in. Plus Rooms helped project-manage this and suggested where to place it so you can’t see it.’

Step 5

Opening Up

‘In the summer, we spend all of our time by the sliding doors to the patio,’ Ross adds. ‘We have the doors open and it feels like you’re sitting outside. As the kids grow older, we each have our own spaces.

‘We like entertaining, and when we have people over for dinner, it makes it easier having the kitchen set back as you don’t have people in front of the oven when you need to access it. Before the changes, we used to have to walk down the corridor and take three or four trips to the kitchen and back. It’s just a lot more accessible with this setup. We don’t feel like we’re on top of each other anymore, and we’re using the square footage of the house much better.’


Good Homes May 2023

Artistic Impression

A bright extension and kitchen remodel has added an inspiring new dimension to this family’s mid-terrace home


Having lived in their south-London house since 2011, Jess Blandford and partner Duncan knew they’d eventually need extra kitchen space when their second child came along, and it was while working from home during Covid they realised the property could be improved by remodelling and extending into the side return. ‘We wanted to future-proof for the years ahead’, explains Jess. ‘So we chose Plus Rooms to design and manage the build, as they mostly work on Victorian terrace houses like our, and were really clear on costs and timings.’


The couples main objective was to create a flexible space where people could be doing different things in various zones, plus a good connection to the garden. But the game-changer was a suggestion from Plus Rooms’ James Bernard to divide up the ‘difficult’ middle room. Two-thirds became a utility and WC, with the remaining third extending the kitchen back into the house, allowing a run of units and the range cooker to be recessed to create a large cooking area without sacrificing the rest of the open space. Meanwhile, Duncan was certain an additional L-shaped extension for a seating corner would be better use of the raised flower beds on one side of the garden. ‘I was worried the small increase in footprint wouldn’t be worth the cost,’ admits Jess. ‘But it creates a whole other zone in the living space, and feels much bigger than we thought.’ A stunning angled glass window, which lets in lots of natural light, completes the extension.


‘We were determined to reuse wherever we could, and it would have felt wrong to send our existing good-quality cabinets to landfill’, explains Jess. So the ‘new’ kitchen is the old one in a different layout, with some additional custom-built cabinets and drawers, all repainted in dark green.

‘The build was stressful at times, but the Plus Rooms team kept us informed, and worked hard to finish to deadline the week before Christmas,’ says Jess. And the completed extension has more than just offer more floor space for artist Jess – the extra wall space also gives her the flexibility to regularly change the display of her paintings when the family room turns public gallery during the Dulwich Festival Artists’ Open House.

‘Everyone is surprised at just how big it feels compared to other extensions,’ says Jess. ‘It definitely improved how we interact as a family, and we know it will work really well as the children grow up.’


Meet the Renovators

Jess Blandford, an artist, and her partner Duncan, a lawyer, live with their two children, aged 7 and 10, in this five-bedroom, Victorian mid-terrace house in south London

Build Brief

To extend the property into the side return and create an open-plan kitchen-diner, with snug at the back, and a new utility/WC

Ground Floor

1 Living Room
2 Utility
3 WC
4 Kitchen
5 Dining area
6 Snug

EXTERIOR ADDITION The unusually shaped snug window matches the pitch of the roof exactly, giving a pleasing symmetry to the old and new parts of the house. By extending on just one side, and leaving the steps up to the garden on the other side, the couple saved costs, added indoor space and preserved more of the garden


Why upcycle?

If you’re on a tight budget, upcycling old units needn’t limit your design and finish choices. Simple updates include giving old cupboard fronts a new coat of paint or fitting new handles, or for a more dramatic refresh, new worksurfaces or splashbacks. If your existing worksurfaces are solid wood, consider sanding to remove stains and scuffs, then re-oil with linseed or Danish oil to prolong their life.

Reconfigure the Space

Re-siting cabinetry is a great way to update your layout, so think about the positions for the sink, oven and fridge to ensure your work triangle works for you. Remember to factor in the cost of a professional if needed to reposition or make repairs, as well as storage costs for the kitchen during any build work. Keeping your old base units but replacing wall cabinets with open shelving will achieve a modern look.

Incorporate new features

Adding new elements such as bespoke plate rack or peg hooks for utensils will help to create a more up-to-date design. Laying new flooring or painting over old tiles with specialist paint will give a new look for minimal outlay. Lastly, new light fittings – whether pendant lights over a dining table or island, or a simple floor lamp – can switch up the mood in an old kitchen and make a big difference.

OPEN-PLAN SPACE The new extension has created a series of family-friendly zones, with the island helping to differentiate between the practical cooking area and relaxed living-dining space. Reconfigured to create a U-shaped layout, the old Harvey Jones cabinets and newly made extra units are all painted in Sanderson’s Amsterdam Green, teamed with worksurfaces in Caesarstone’s Arabetto Quartz and warm brass fittings

‘I was keen to have plenty of storage and we wanted to make sure the new space was light and well-connected to the garden’

GALLERY WALLS ‘We wanted to be flexible enough to have a regularly changing gallery of pictures, so the simplicity of the colour scheme really lends itself to that’, says Jess, who showcases her art as part of the Dulwich Festival’s annual Artists’ Open House (13-14 & 20-21 May 2023).


Sliding doors, three rooflights and a large angled window in the snug create a light and airy room. Pale grey stone tiles continue into the garden for a seamless transition between the spaces, with underfloor heating in the kitchen area, while interior designer Cecile Bell suggested the pink wall and mustard sofas, sourcing furniture and furnishings in natural wood shades to blur the boundaries between insider and out.

‘I was worried the small increase in footprint for the snug wouldn’t be worth the cost, but it creates a whole other zone int he space, and feels much bigger than we thought it would’.


The middle room was remodelled to create a utility and cloakroom, which a local carpenter made floor-to-ceiling cupboards for to house everything from the laundry, an extra freezer and a sink to coats, shoes, sports gear and wine racks. ‘You name it, it’s stored there!’, says Jess


Sliding doors & angled window, Integral. Rooflights, Velux. Floor tiles, Floors of Stone. Kitchen worksurfaces, Caesarstone. Pendant lights & metal spotlights, Pooky. Brass wall lights, Jim Lawrence. Dining table, Loaf. Dining chairs, coffee table and rug, Cox & Cox. Sideboard, Made with Oak. Sofa, Love Your Home. Cloakroom fittings, Bells. Cloakroom tiles, Mandarin Stone. Wallpaper, House of Hackney. Paint, LIttle Green, Farrow & Ball & Sanderson.


Kitchen Storage Ideas

A cluttered kitchen can make cooking and meal preparation difficult and cause unnecessary stress. However, with some practical ideas, it’s possible to create kitchen storage solutions in your small kitchen with the right design ideas. Here, the team at our London design and build company will discuss how to maximise your kitchen storage space in creative ways using functional storage solutions.

Utilise Your Walls

Like many homeowners, you’re probably struggling with a shortage of floor space in your kitchen. The walls, however, provide you with a great opportunity to increase your storage space in a small kitchen.

One fantastic idea for utilising your kitchen walls is to install open shelves that run from the floor to the ceiling. This storage solution is both practical and visually appealing, and it adds warmth to the room. You can use these shelves to store dishes, glasses, and bowls, or display decorative items like vases and potted plants. 

Another fantastic idea for maximising wall space is to install a pegboard. Pegboards are great for storing pots, pans, and utensils, and you can easily add or remove hooks as needed to accommodate your items. This is not only an effective solution for small kitchens, but it also looks modern and unique.

Use the Inside of Your Cabinets

Most people use cabinets to store their kitchenware, but they rarely think about the inside of the cabinet doors. One tip for creating more space and organisation in your kitchen is to install door-mounted racks or hooks to store items like spices, utensils, and small pans. This helps to free up space inside the cabinets, making it easier to find what you need when preparing meals.

Another great way to utilise your cabinet space is to use cabinet organisers, especially for pots and pans. By using pan organisers, you can stack your pans neatly and save space while keeping them within easy reach.

Make Use of Drawer Dividers

Utilising drawer dividers is an excellent way to keep your kitchen tools organised and easy to find. Dividers help to keep all your utensils, cutlery, and other tools in order, and they make it easier to locate everything when you need it. With drawer dividers, you can create separate compartments for your items, making the most of the available drawer space.

Consider Functional Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands are not only visually appealing, but they also add functionality to small kitchens. Depending on the design of the island, it can provide storage space for everything from cooking utensils, dishes, and pots to small kitchen appliances. Some islands are even designed to be mobile, allowing them to be moved around to different locations as needed. This custom kitchen island in our Overhill Road kitchen remodel project shows just how versatile these can be, working as a cooking surface, storage space, and dining space all in one.

Hang Hooks on The Ceiling

Hanging hooks from the ceiling is an excellent way to make use of unused space in your kitchen. You can use these hooks to store pots, pans, and other utensils, freeing up space in the cabinets and drawers. Installing a pot rack or hanging basket on the ceiling will allow you to create a focal point in your kitchen, providing a unique look while increasing storage space.

Make Use of Portable Storage Solutions

Using portable storage solutions is a great way to create additional kitchen storage when you need it. For instance, you can install a portable kitchen island, trolley, or a freestanding pantry that you can easily move around your kitchen. This option gives you the freedom to change the layout of your kitchen to suit your cooking needs.

Roll-out Shelves

The roll-out shelves are excellent for maximising the available space in your cabinets. Instead of reaching deep inside the cabinets to get your pots and pans, you can install roll-out shelves that you can pull out easily when you need them. Aside from making it easy to access your kitchenware, these shelves also reduce the need for stacking, which can cause pot and pan scratches.

Having a small kitchen doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice functionality and storage space. With creative ideas and smart storage solutions, you can maximise every inch of your kitchen and create a functional space that is both unique and beautiful. These ideas will not only help with clutter but will help you create a cohesive and visually appealing kitchen.

Interested in a Kitchen Extension? Work With the Best Design and Build Company in London

Of course, building a kitchen extension is another great way to add storage and living space to your small kitchen. Most homes can accommodate an extension easily by using space that is often going to waste, such as a side return or even part of your garden. And the good news is that using a design and build company is one of the most affordable ways to get an exceptional-quality kitchen extension at a much more affordable price – after all, there is no need to pay architect fees and we have every specialist you need in-house and ready to work on your project.

At Plus Rooms, we are a full-service design and build company for all types of home extensions in the greater London area, including loft, kitchen, and kitchen diner extensions. We’ll work with you through the entire process, from costing your renovation to designing your extension to managing planning permission, building the project, and ensuring it is completed to your satisfaction. Contact us today, and start your journey towards the exceptional home you deserve.

Design Inspiration: Kitchen Remodelling Ideas

Kitchen remodelling can breathe new life into your home and add value to your property. It is one of the most popular home renovation projects among homeowners. If you want to give your kitchen a fresh and modern look, there are plenty of kitchen remodelling ideas that you can consider. From updating the paint colour to replacing the flooring, there are several ways to transform your kitchen into a stylish and functional space.

Ideas for Kitchen Remodelling


One of the simplest ways to refresh your kitchen is by giving it a fresh coat of paint. Choosing the right colour can make all the difference in creating a warm, inviting vibe in your kitchen. If you’re looking for a pop of colour, consider painting an accent wall or the cabinet doors like in this Brightwell Crescent kitchen extension. White is a classic colour that will never go out of style and is perfect for creating a clean and bright look, as in this Friern Road kitchen. If you want to add some drama, try a dark navy, or black like in this Haslemere Ave kitchen remodel to create a bold, modern feel.


Open shelving in a London kitchen extension.

Open shelving has become a popular trend in modern kitchens. It not only adds style but also makes the kitchen feel more spacious by opening up the walls and adds character by showcasing the items you love. This is an excellent option if you have a small kitchen as it creates visual depth. You can use shelving to display your favourite dishes, cookbooks, and other kitchen essentials as well as pot plants and art, like in this Carminia Road kitchen remodel. If you’re not a fan of open shelves, adding additional cabinets or upper storage can help keep your kitchen more organised.

Cabinet Doors

Cabinet doors with a glossy finish in a London kitchen extension.

Updating your cabinet doors is an easy and cost-effective way to give your kitchen a new look. If your existing cabinets are in good condition, you can opt for a simple refacing instead of a full replacement. You can choose from a range of materials and finishes to suit your style, from sleek modern doors to classic shaker style. You can also consider adding glass inserts to your doors to showcase your dishes and create a more open feel. If you love a modern look, go for seamless cabinets like the ones in this Revelstoke Road home or a glossy finish like this Woodbastwick Street home. If you’re more traditional, then you can get inspiration from these characterful farmhouse cabinets in this Sefton Street kitchen or this classic Sheen Road home.


Kitchen with flooring that extends to the outdoor space.

New flooring can transform the entire look of your kitchen. If you have an outdated or worn-out floor, consider replacing it with something new. For a timeless look, hardwood floors or natural stone tiles are a popular choice. If you’re looking for something durable and low maintenance, vinyl or engineered hardwood flooring are good options. A patterned tile or colourful mosaic can also add visual interest to your kitchen. In this Wrigglesworth Road kitchen renovation, the flooring also extends into the outdoor entertainment space, creating a modern, seamless look for indoor-outdoor living.


Various type of lighting in a London kitchen.

Upgrading your kitchen lighting can also make a big impact on the overall look and feel. Adding recessed lights or spotlights above the cabinets can brighten up the space and make it feel more spacious. Pendant lights above a kitchen island or dining area can create a statement piece and add some flair. Under-cabinet lighting can also be a practical addition to add task lighting to your workspace. You can see all these types of lighting options and how they fit together in this Dancer Road kitchen extension project.


A modern kitchen design.

If you’re looking for a complete overhaul of your kitchen, going for a full modernisation is a great idea. This can include replacing your old appliances with new energy-efficient models, installing a new sink or top, and adding a sleek backsplash. A modern kitchen typically features clean lines, neutral colours, and minimalistic design, like in this Fawnbrake Ave home. It is the perfect choice if you want a sleek, sophisticated look.


A kitchen extension in London build by the Plus Rooms design and build company.

For most UK homeowners, the biggest change on the must-have list is more space. The great news is that extensions can be done on almost any property – as long as you have the right design and build company working with you. And when you use a design and build company like Plus Rooms, there’s no need to hire an architect and pay expensive fees – and we’ll even handle the planning for you. From side and rear extensions to wraparound extensions with flat or vaulted ceilings, we do it all to the highest quality. This is the best way to create a kitchen diner or open plan living space, connecting your home to your garden, and transforming it into an elegant and functional space for family and entertaining. 

For inspiration, have a look at this Crawthew Grove kitchen extension. This project consisted of a 7.1 x 1.8m full depth and side return extension that not only expanded the kitchen but created an outdoor entertaining space, practical WC, and a fantastic flow through the entire ground floor.

Kitchen Remodelling Costs

Kitchen remodelling costs in the UK can vary widely depending on the extent of the project, the materials used, and the labour involved. At the low end, a basic remodel that involves repainting cabinets and updating hardware could cost £1,500 or less. On the high end, a complete renovation that includes new cabinetry, countertops, and appliances can easily run to £20,000 or more, while an extension can cost up to £70,000 or more depending on what you are considering. If you are considering adding an extension to your kitchen, the best way to work out your costs is to use our kitchen extension cost calculator.

Other factors that can affect the cost of a kitchen remodel in the UK include the size of the space, the type of flooring, whether or not there is plumbing, or electrical work required, and the cost of the designer and/or contractor hired to complete the work.

See more kitchen design ideas here.

Many homeowners choose to engage an architect and other professionals to design and manage their kitchen remodelling project, which can add significantly to the overall cost. That’s where working with the best design and build company in London helps you save – we have all the professionals you need in-house, significantly reducing your costs while ensuring a world-class experience and result.

If you’d like to find out more about what we do and what makes us the leading design and build company for kitchen remodels, contact us today.