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.