Laura and Ian Moffitt have brought LA living to south London with their bright and beautiful open-plan kitchen extension
Feature DEBBIE JEFFERY Photographer FINE HOUSE STUDIO Design & Build PLUSROOMS
Q: What was your inspiration for the extension?
We’ve owner this house since 2003, but we rented it out when we moved to Los Angeles for Ian’s work. It was looking quite shabby and dated when we moved back in 2017, and we missed the open-plan rooms and Californian light from our American home. Our idea was to copy what we had in the States, and we hoped extending the kitchen would give us a large family space with a better connection to the garden. We’re both quite keen cooks so it needed to be really functional, too.
Q: Did the building project run smoothly?
We worked with Plus Rooms, who offer a complete design and build service, and we managed with a temporary kitchen while the house was open to the elements. Building work started in February 2018 and only took six weeks, despite awful weather and no rear access to the garden. They needed to slant one third of the roof to avoid impacting on the neighbouring flats, but the shape is a quirky feature that adds interest inside and out. Once the kitchen was fitted, everything else quickly followed, and the whole project took around five months with no dramas.
Q: Why did you choose a concrete floor?
Our youngest son has some quite serious allergies, so carpeted floors weren’t an option because of the dust they generate. We needed something suitable for a young family, which would be easy to maintain. The kitchen floor was raised 10cm to the same height as the dining room, with a 3mm microtopping over concrete screed, which meant we avoided a long drying-out time. It’s really practical for family life, especially as the glass doors are always open for the boys and our dog to race in and out of the kitchen.
MEET THE RENOVATORS
Laura Moffitt, a charity worker for the Mark Evison Foundation, lives with her husband Ian, a talent agent, and their sons Milo, 13, and Monty, 8, in this three-storey, four-bedroom Edwardian terraced house in East Dulwich.
To remove the chimney breast and build an L-shaped kitchen extension into the rear garden and side return, finishing flush with the side wall. A separate utility room was also created, with a new WC under the stairs.
Building work & materials
£54,678 Skylights & sliding doors £16,814 Kitchen & appliances £31,895 Concrete floor £4,707 Lighting £429
MIX AND MATCH
The kitchen furniture is a combination of new pieces and vintage finds. The teak sideboard was inherited from Laura’s grandmother, and was shipped to America and back. The print is an enlarged family photo.
POLISHED CONCRETE FLOORS
Concrete floors are popular in contemporary homes with an industrial edge. They are low-maintenance and durable, and have a long life expectancy. Concrete is ideal for kitchens and new extensions, especially over underfloor heating.
CHOOSE A COLOUR
Polished concrete usually has a seamless finish and comes in different colours, as well as grey. Concrete isn’t expensive, but the installation process can be time-consuming, which makes a professionally installed concrete floor as expensive as stone.
TAKE YOUR TIME
New concrete takes several weeks to dry out enough to polish with a grinding machine; drying times are longer in winter. Microtopping, a thin coating that can be used over existing floor finishes for a similar effect, dries more quickly. Concrete tiles are also available.
The timber-framed roof is inset with 3 roof lights. It’s been dropped down to one side to avoid overshadowing the neighbours, creating an unusual feature with glazing designed to follow the roof line.
Although dark kitchens are currently on-trend, choosing a softer hue like this Trinity Blue from Devol, will complement a light open-plan space, and set against neutral walls and flooring will create a real impact.