Ideal Home Sept 2021

Extending gave us a spacious new kitchen

After eight years, Arleta and Mike Cloud decided it was high time to enlarge their kitchen for a more practical layout.  

With sons Max and Phillip having moved out to go to university and just 14 year-old Oscar still living at home, expanding the kitchen was by no means essential for Arleta and Mike.  However, the couple were keen to establish a more ergonomic layout that would allow the family to move freely throughout the space.

Smooth Sailing
Arleta took a practical approach when it came to the plans. ‘I would imagine myself taking something out of the oven and having a clear surprise to place it down on,’ she says, ‘so the kitchen island was one of my must-haves’. The couple brought in Plus Rooms ( to handle the design and construction.  The plans were soon given the green light under Permitted Development and works progressed without a hitch, too, thanks in large part to Plus Rooms’ organised approach. ‘The builders stuck to the schedule,’ says Arleta, ‘and it was finished bang on time’.

Mission Accomplished
Despite adding just 12m2, flow in the kitchen-diner has dramatically improved.  The extra space came in especially handy when Max and Phillip moved home again in March 2020.  Arleta has no regrets about adding the kitchen island, either.  ‘We can’t imagine the kitchen without it.’

What’s I’ve Learned
‘If you have your heart set on an idea, you shouldn’t give up on it.  for me, that was the kitchen island.  I may not be a professional designer, but I knew that was something I needed to incorporate.’

Ideal Home Sept 2021 – Beauval Rd

Real Homes Sept 2021

Fruitful Plans

Charley’s clear vision and budgeting prowess has resulted in a family kitchen-diner that’s ripe for entertaining.

The couple of a good idea of the finish and style they wanted to achieve.  Charley factored in lots of gold accents when choosing the colour scheme. 

Sometimes you only know what you want when you see it, and that was exactly the case for Charley when she found a new family home for her husband, Adam, and their two young children.  Although the house was a bit of a mismatch and looked like nothing had been done to it for a couple of decades, it had beautiful features such as stained glass, parquet flooring and fireplaces, all elements that helped seal the deal.  Charley knew they’d build a beautiful new extension to replace a conservatory that was on its last legs – and now, with the project completed, she tells us how she did it. 


Build Work £123,000

Design & Build Plus Rooms 0800 917 7127,

Kitchen (including appliances and fitting) £30,000 Naked Designs 01328 838854 

Glazing £21,000

Professional Fees £6,000

STEP ONE – Stop and Start

‘The house needed a bit more TLC than we thought’, says Charley.  ‘The windows were single glazed and the panes were cracked, so we needed to replace then, then other things cropped up that we didn’t think we’d have to do.  The foundations needed to be deeper as the soil has a high water content and we’re on a hill.  The floor was a beautiful mosaic, but was all cracked and needed to be replaced.  We moved in December 2019 and started on the windows, then Covid happened and we had to stop with half the windows done. We got the building works completed between lockdowns one and two.  We lived here during the build, but fortunately it was summer, so it wasn’t too cold.’

STEP TWO – Building Progress

‘We converted the original kitchen into a hallway and utility room, knocked down the old conservatory and built out and across.  The former kitchen has a galley layout and a huge Aga, but we wanted something that was open plan and connected to the living area and playroom, and for us to be able to get out to the garden.  We used a building firm that did a pre-planning package and knew what was allowed in terms of planning permissions.  We had one pushback, which was that they wanted us to drop down the roof height once we reached the border of the neighbours.  We wanted it to be as high as planning would allow so the room would feel more spacious and bring in lots of light.’

STEP THREE – Compromise is Key

‘We would have loved a deVOL kitchen, it is was out of budget.  A friend recommended Naked and we found it to be a really good middle ground in terms of design and quality versus price.  We did a lot of planning ourselves and really led the project, telling them we wanted a bank of units along the wall, an island and a dresser.  We went against advice for the distance between the island and wall units and brought the island out further to make the kitchen more spacious.
‘We wanted a style in keeping with the period of the house and choose frameless Shakes doors that are a bit more modern – I’d say what we have now is a mix of the old and new’.

STEP FOUR – Personal Touches

‘Originally our architect designed the extension with a whole wall of glass at the end, but I wanted some sort of separation between the kitchen and the dining area, so we have two sets of doors with a little wall in between.  I think it actually makes the space look bigger.
‘I ordered almost all the possible paint samples as I love colour, but we ended up choosing an emerald green I came across on social media – I really love it. We were originally looking at dark colours that would  match the Crittall-style doors.  I always wanted this style; it’s in keeping with the property and matches the stained glass windows which are leaded’.

STEP FIVE – Smart Buys

‘We had a budget to stick to but because we were thrifty, we didn’t have to scrimp of anything.  I searched high and low to get the Buster & Punch-style handled that I loved.  I found the ones we used via Blank Hardware, I’d definitely recommend asking for a discount on every single purchase you make you don’t always get one, but more people will be willing to give you something.  
‘My other tip is to stay focused  You can get really distracted with Pinterest and Instagram and can get decision fatigue when doing a big project.  Stick to what you love and go with your gut’.

Real Homes Sept 2021 – Canonbie Rd

25 Beautiful Homes July 2021

Light Fantastic

By creatively working around planning constraints, Rachel and Tom Smith have ended up with a bright and more interesting kitchen-diner

Owners  Rachel and Tom Smith
House  A four-bedroom Victoria terraced house in south London
Work  Extending at the side and rear to create a spacious kitchen-diner while maximising light through to the original house

Feature  Karen Wilson   Photography Liane Ryan

The green spaces of Wimbledon proved a big draw when Rachel and Tom Smith needed more space to expand their family.  ‘We were renting in nearby Earlsfield but found a Victorian terrace opposite a park on a nice, friendly street,’ says Rachel.  ‘Although it had a narrow, dark kitchen, which led to an old conservatory, there was potential to extend.’


With busy jobs, the couple wanted a turnkey service so hired Plus Rooms after reading positive customer reviews.  Director James Bernard drafted plans to demolish the conservatory and extend into the side and rear to create a bright, open-plan kitchen, dining space.  ‘We initially wanted a wrapround extension as the extra width would’ve made a big difference,’ says Rachel.  ‘However the first plans were rejected. ‘


Due to the particuarly narrow side return, the planners wanted this section stepped in rather than running the full 8m depth of the rear extension.  ‘This avoided a tunnelling effect to the neighbour’s adjoining side return,’ explains James. ‘Plus it helps zone the space.’

Glazing was a key component of the design.  ‘As you walk in, you see a floor-to-ceiling windows that’s angled to follow the roof line,’ says James.  ‘We also added three skylights to focus more light into the original part of the house’.

Braverman Kitchens helped the couple design a two-tone grey and white L-shaped kitchen.  ‘We wanted lots of storage so they designed pull-out corner cupboards and larders either side of the fridge,’ says Rachel. 

Open House : The couple have succeeded in creating a bright space that connects to the garden.


Aluminium windows and doors proved a more affordable alternative to steel.  The flooring was the trickiest thing to decide on. ‘We considered traditional wood, but eventually opted for light porcelain tiles to provide a nice neutral backdrop,’ says Rachel. 


While Tom’s style is modern and Rachel prefers a traditional farmhouse look, both agreed the space would suit a more minimalist finish.  ‘As it’s quite neutral, we could add personality by hanging our favourite artwork,’ says Rachel.


Thanks to preliminary soil test and drainage surveys, there were no unexpected problems during the six week build.  However, the findings of a tree survey meant spending more on deeper foundations.  ‘If we did it again we would’ve done a bit more research so that it felt less stressful,’ says Rachel.  ‘But the build was very quick and we managed well living on site’.

The house now works much better with a six-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.  ‘Before the downstairs always felt small compared to the upstairs,’ says Rachel. ‘So it’s naturally balanced things out.

A Brand New Space

Positioning the kitchen units in the darker right-angled section leaves a thoroughfare as you walk into the room, as well as ample room for the dining area in the sunniest spot by the patio doors.

25 Beautiful Homes July 2021 – Garfield Rd, Wimbledon

i-Build Feb 2021


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. 



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. 


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

Build It Jan 2021

Can I extend without planning permission?

Anamika Talwaria looks at the ways you can add extra space to your home without putting time and money into gaining consent

Building an extension is a great way to add space and value to your home while avoiding the rigmarole of moving to a new house entirely. But the planning process can sometimes be lengthy and costly, plus there’s no guarantee that you’ll definitely secure consent to build the design you want. Thankfully, there’s a route to achieving modest but transformative extensions without undergoing the uncertainly of going in for planning permission.

Plus Rooms created the rear extension to this terraced property incorporating a monopitched roof and rooflights. Huge glazed doors offer stunning views onto the garden from the new open-plan kitchen-dining space.

Do I need a designer?
While hiring someone to draw up your plans of your home is generally a sensible idea, some more simple projects can be developed by the main contractor overseeing the build or by another designer. A straightforward rear extension of loft conversion probably doesn’t need an architect, then, but if you’re planning a wow-factor project with specialist materials or complex design features, then it’s almost certainly worth getting a professional in.

Making sure your builders and trades get property drawings can also mean you’ll end up with more accurate quotes for an unusual design, limiting any unexpected costs as the build goes on. That said, if your contractor is drawing up the plans, you may well get a fixed price for the whole job anyway.

Rear extensions
Extending out from the back of your home is often the easiest way to add space, without too much impact on your neighbours. It’s a speedy and cost-effective way to get more useable area in your home, especially where you don’t have wiggle room to expand to the side.

In England and Wales, basic PD rights mean you can build a single storey rear extension reaching up to 4m out from the back wall of a detached house, or 3m for a semi or terrace. The addition must be no higher than 4m. If you want to create a bit more space, in England you can apply for Prior Approval to expand your home up to 8m (if it’s detached) or 6m (semi or terrace). Akin to a slimmed-down planning process, there’s far fewer criteria than a full application, although it does still carry a small fee (296).

Want to add space upstairs, too? Multi-storey rear extensions are possible under PD as long as the addition its neither more than 3m out from the back of the house, nor within 7m of the end of the garden. To keep within the regulations, you will need to make sure that any windows created on the side elevation are obscurely glazed and non-opening. The roof pitch should match the existing house as much as possible.

Side extensions
If you’re lucky enough to have excess space to the side of your property, it can make sense to extend along that elevation. This is typically easiest if you have a detached home set in a large plot, but it can be suited to end-of-terraced and semi-detached properties too. What’s more, many Victorian terraces were designed with a small courtyard area at the rear, which can be infilled to form side-return extension. This kind of project can help to make the most of a compact area.

You’ll need to keep within the size restrictions, and in England that means sticking to a single storey that’s no more than 4m in height (shorter if it’s within 2m of a land boundary). To qualify as PD, the width of the addition must be no more than half that of the of the original house. Side extensions often entail Party Wall Agreements, as the work is likely to be within 6m of neighbouring property.

Loft conversions & extensions
Did you know that building up into the attic can add more value than undertaking a classic kitchen extension? Often a cost-effective option, a loft conversion can provide a whole usable storey of space. You could specify a master suite, home office or even a playroom, and it would be quietly tucked away on the top floor.

Before you start dreaming up possibilities, check the head height throughout the main bulk of the space is at least 2.2m, and that the roof pitch is suitable to allow a good amount of usable floorspace. This will allow for minimum structural intervention, increasing your chances of the project being classed as permitted development. Under PD rights in the UK, you can install rooflights and rear dormer windows without too much fuss, as long as your conversion stays within the realms of the outer walls of the house.

This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to create a suitable living space in the attic. Any windows you stick on the side elevation need to be obscure glazed and non-opening (unless the parts which open are more than 1.7m above internal floor level). The overall conversion must not add more than 50sqm to a semi or detached house, and no more than 40sqm to a terrace. This limit includes any habitable roof space that might have been added by a previous owner.


Just because you’re avoiding a formal planning permission, doesn’t mean you can build whatever you like. There are a range of parameters you need to know about when it comes to permitted development rights. The next few paragraphs relate to England, but the guidance is similar across the UK.

One of the first things to bear in mind is that permitted development rules only apply to houses. So if you live in a flat, maisonette or other style of dwelling, you cannot take advantage of the relaxed regime. PD rights will also be restricted if you live in a designated area, like a national park or conservation area So, look closely at how the rules apply to your location and project And whether you need formal consent or not, your project will always be subject to the Building Regulations.

The size restrictions for different classes of PD extensions and outbuildings relate to the original house. This is defined as the structure as it was when it was first built or as it stood on 1st July 1948 (if it was constructed prior to that date). For instance, additions can’t be bigger than 50% of the land surrounding the original house, and there are size limits for each type of extension, If your property’s PD rights have already been used up, you’ll need to seek full planning consent (unless you intend to knock down and replace an existing extension).

PD rights don’t allow for verandas, balconies, raised platforms or alterations to the roof (with the exception of rooflights and some dormers). They also exclusively forbid building forward of your home’s principal elevation (unless you’re adding a porch), including side elevations that front a main highway. As much as possible, external finishes such as cladding, roof tiles and render should be in keeping with the existing materials. Visit www. for the full list of rules.


It’s not just extensions that can be enabled through permitted development. Here are some of the other works you can do without planning permission that will refresh your home and add value:

Internal remodel Switch up your interiors with a fresh lick of paint, updated flooring, brand new kitchen, creating an ensuite or even moving your walls around. Just be sure to take advice from a structural engineer for load bearing walls.

Add a porch Increase your home’s kerb appeal with a covered area over your entryway. This should be less than 3m2 in footprint and must be more than 2m from the front boundary.

Replace windows & doors Updating the fenestration with new materials, or a change of colour, can breathe fresh life into your property. Opt for double or even triple glazing where appropriate for a higher level of energy efficiency in your home.

Change the external materials Refresh the outside of your home with a lick of paint, or replace tired cladding or render with something similar to the original covering (potentially with a modern twist).

Replace roof tiles We’ve already seen that you can make minor alterations like adding a rooflight or skylight, so consider also changing the covering up top to give your property a whole new look. You could also add solar panels or solar roof tiles for a greener abode.

Garage conversion Normally used for storage, you could turn your garage into a bedroom suite, home office, games room or workshop. As long as the alterations don’t have an impact on the exteriors, this will usually fall under PD (although it can be worth checking with your local authority). By contrast, newly constructed PD outbuildings can’t be used as primary residential accommodation.

Now that so many of us are working from home, building a standalone studio in the back garden might be more appealing than trying to carve out space inside for a home office. Garages, sheds and workshops also fall within this PD category as popular projects that don’t need consent.

To count as PD, outbuildings can only be erected behind the front elevation of your main house. They must be a single storey with a maximum height of 4m with a dual-pitched roof, or up to 3m for any other roof type. If it’s within 2m of a boundary line in the garden, then you can’t build higher than 2.5m. You also can’t include a veranda, balcony or raised platform in the design features like this will need full planning consent.

The rules specify that you can’t take up more than 50% of the land surrounding the original house with build structures. This includes any other extensions you might already have, so you’ll need to take these into account when drawing up your plans. If you’re in a national park, area of outstanding natural beauty, world heritage site or the broads, this is limited even further: you can fill just 10sqm of the land with additional structures. Houses in designated areas, or listed properties, will need formal planning permission and possibly conservation area or listed building consent to construct an outbuilding.

Good Homes Dec 2020


Tessa Milton was inspired by the look and colour palette of her childhood kitchen when designing this relaxing family space


Q? Why did you want to change your existing kitchen?
It was dark and narrow and had a cramped extension stuck on the end, which was only big enough for a tiny dining table. I always knew I wanted to knock it down and build a new extension, so when I had the budget I approached design and build company, Plus Rooms. They took my ideas and provided all the technical know-how, such as how many rooflights would be needed. I knew that I wouldn?t be able to project-manage it myself as I was working full time, so it was reassuring to know that one company could look after everything for me.

Q? Did you face any challenges in the process?
Fortunately, setting up a temporary kitchen in the living room meant we didn?t have to move out, even when the back wall was taken down! The work only took around six months, but it was completed over the winter, which meant we were quite cold at times, especially when the water and heating had to be turned off for a couple of days! As there?s no side or rear access, the builders had to bring everything through the house, but they were extremely careful and considerate. My tip would be to order items such as taps early, because any delivery delays can hold up the project.

Q? What inspired your design for the kitchen cabinets?
I worked with my mum to come up with the sage-green colour; she was also an interior designer, and we had a green kitchen when I was growing up. The cabinets were made by a local carpenter from spray-painted MDF, and it took about five attempts before I found the perfect shade! The idea for rattan inserts came from the designer Matilda Goad, who uses it in her designs. I soaked the rattan in water so that it swelled, then cut it to size and attached the panels to the cabinet doors with staples and glue. I?m so pleased with the finished result ? everything in the extension has turned out even better than I could have imagined.



Interior designer Tessa Milton (, lives with children Tom, 14 and Flora, 12, in this three-storey, three-bedroom terraced house in Putney, south-west London

To demolish an existing dated lean-to, extending out to the side of the property to create a wraparound timber-framed kitchen-diner that opens out onto the garden

Design, build & materials ?51,800 Doors & windows ?12,046 Kitchen cabinets ?12,000 Worktop ?5,000 Parquet floor ?3,400 Patio tiling ?1,400 Furniture, lighting & appliances ?24,350

TOTAL SPEND ?109,996

Tessa?s trips to Morocco motivated her to lay encaustic tiles as a patio, bringing colour and interest to the small rear garden and creating a low-maintenance feature to enjoy inside and out

Designing the new layout and cabinetry herself, Tessa chose bespoke sage-green doors inspired by her childhood kitchen, and a glazed Zellige tile splashback. Engineered parquet flooring has been laid over underfloor heating

‘I worked with my mum to come up with colour as we had a green kitchen when I was growing up – it took a few attempts before I found the perfect sage shade’

CREATE HIDDEN STORAGE A practical L-shaped dining bench was made by a local carpenter to Tessa’s specification, which she uses to store items such as cutlery and placements within handy reach of the dining table

Windows & doors, ?12,046, Integral. Habitation Mountain Chalet parquet flooring, ?89.99 per sqm, Claybrook. Antique handmade reclaimed Hacienda patio tiles, ?150 per sqm, Maitland and Poate. Kitchen cabinets, ?12,000, Slawek Smiech. Composite worktop, ?5,000, Stoneworks. Oslo dining table, ?1,749, and bench, ?949, Heal?s. Chair, ?139, Cult Furniture. Aquila wall lights, ?105 each, Pooky. Zellige tiles, ?98 per sqm, Mosaic Factory. Flora mirror, ?940, Balineum. Lucia L bracket wall light, from ?288 each, Hector
Finch. Rattan wave pendant lights, ?160 each, Matilda Goad. LG GSJ560PZXV American fridge-freezer in stainless steel, ?1,249, Appliance City. Rangemaster PDL90DFFSS/C dual-fuel range cooker, ?12,069, Donaghy Bros. Aged brass kitchen tap, ?607, Perrin & Rowe

DESIGN-IN-THE-DETAIL Inspired by designer Matilda Goad, Tessa fitted the distinctive rattan inserts on the cabinetry herself, finishing with brass knobs and cup handles that perfectly complement her chosen shade of green

On Trend Decorating
Primarily used for chairs and inserts on 1970s sideboards, this versatile natural material is currently enjoying a style resurgence in UK homes, appearing in everything from dining room furniture to quirky cabinetry. One of its great selling points is its lightweight, pliable quality, and it also stains well – meaning it can be painted or sprayed to suit your decorating scheme. Tolerant to extreme heat and moisture, rattan is the ideal material for kitchens and bathrooms in particular; plus its purse-friendly price tag is perfect for projects on a budget.

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

Grand Designs May 2020


Converting a loft should not require planning permission unless the property is listed, within a conservation area or the roofline is to be altered. And rear dormers that do not sit forward of the principle roof plane and are no higher than the existing roofline can often be installed under permitted development rights (PD). Party wall agreements are required from adjoining properties. You can find more on this and planning regulations at the government’s website

Adding a dormer provided headroom of 2m in this en-suite bathroom. The large window also helps open up the space and offers panoramic views. ?66,677, Plus Rooms (

Lofts must follow strict regulation regarding fire doors, escape routes and windows. And having a permanent staircase and head-height of at least two metres is required for the conversion to be classed as a habitable space. So, plan access early on in the design process to ensure it is easy and safe, and take into account any floor and ceiling build-up resulting from insulation requirements and finishes.

Real Homes Mar 2020


Looking to boost living space? Create a better link between house and garden? A rear extension could be the way to go. It’s the option many people choose when they’re looking to create a big. open-plan kitchen-diner with views out to the garden. As well as building out, you might also be knocking through or partitioning inside the house to make the most of the space and create an open style of layout that works for you.


Like side-return extensions (see page 13), rear extensions can often be done under permitted development (PD) as long as they don’t exceed a certain size and your home isn’t subject to extra protections and regulations (see for more details). If it is, you’ll have to get planning permission, so check with your local planning authority.

Along with the build itself, you’ll need to consider a number of other things. if creating an indoor-outdoor link is important to you, do you want bi-fold doors, which open fully to make the garden an extension of the house, or sliding doors, which usually have one unmoving pane of glass but slimmer sightlines when closed? Will you need to budget for a new kitchen? Practicalities like durable flooring and splash-proof zones are also essential considerations. as well as whether you need to extend the heating in your home to the new room.

Most rear extensions take a minimum of three to four months, but applying for planning permission adds time ?and a small cost ? to the process.

Rear extensions can be done from around ?30,000 for a basic design, but it varies depending on size, materials and where you live. High-end projects with expensive glazing and finishes can cost upwards of ?100,000 to ?150,000 and more. Shop around and don’t forget to factor in the fees for architects, structural engineers and surveyors if you need them.


Daniel and Rachel Morris’ flat-roof extension solved the problem of their dark, cramped kitchen

‘Previously there was barely enough room for two of us to be in the kitchen at the same time. Cooking was not an enjoyable experience! We extended under permitted development because we didn’t want to extend any further than three metres to the rear anyway ? it would have meant losing too much garden. Permitted development restrictions meant the ceiling of the extension would have to be around 25cm lower than the ceiling in the rest of the property, so the designers installed a rooflight that runs nearly the full width of the extension and creates a feeling of height. Redesigning the kitchen also gave us more work and storage space and enabled us to use the part of the extension that has more natural light as our living area. Its completely changed the way we use the house. and the new living space is the focal point for most of our activities. Were able to cook and enjoy family time all together in one place.’

Project cost ?59,500
Design and build Plus Rooms? 0800 917 7127