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
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.
‘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.’
‘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!
COSTS & CONTACTS
Build works £77,000
Kitchen (including appliances and fitting) £26,000
Design & build Plus Rooms, plusrooms.co.uk
Joiner/carpenter Julien Giles, julienaustingiles.com
Interior design Elie Lyon at Wildcat Interiors, wildcatinteriors.co.uk
Sliding doors Integral Home, integralhome.co.uk
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.’
‘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.’
‘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.’
Words IFE ADEDEJI Photos ADELINA LLIEV Styling MELISSA DENHAM