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.