For many people, a kitchen island is seen as hugely desirable. But the focal point of Paul and Michele’s open-plan living space could better be described as desirably huge. At almost five metres long, it anchors their sizeable rear extension and provides multiple functions, from food preparation area to breakfast bar and gathering point at parties.
The owners: Paul Barker, owner of a commercial construction company, lives here with wife Michele, a former primary school teacher, and their two children, Joseph, 17, and Eve, 11
The property: A three-bedroom detached house, built 1910, in Healing, North East Lincolnshire
Total project cost: £142,000
‘When we decided to extend, we knew we wanted the design to have real wow factor,’ explains Paul. ‘We decided there was no point adding a compact extension that we might wish was bigger in the long run, so we gave the architects free reign to design a big space that would make a real impact and work for us as a family.’
Having built their own home before, but feeling it lacked character, the couple purchased the detached Edwardian house three years ago. They then set about systematically renovating and refurbishing it, creating a harmonious mix between traditional period features and the crisp, clean, contemporary style they love.
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The house was stuck in a time warp, with faux-stained-glass windows, dark wooden floors, and outdated plumbing, insulation and electrics. The ground floor was a warren of small rooms, including a kitchen with no links to the garden thanks to a poor-quality extension that had been added to house a utility room. Luckily, Paul’s career in construction enabled him to see the building’s true potential. Grimsby-based ID Architecture happen to share an office with Paul’s company and the practice came up with a concept of a huge, angular extension.
The plans would see the entire ground-floor rear wall of the house removed, the utility demolished, existing rooms knocked into one another and extensions added to both the side and rear. This would create a large, open-plan kitchen-living-diner, a separate utility room and store to the side, a home office for Paul and a library.
Because of the size of the extension – which would add 110 square metres to the house – the couple needed to seek planning permission, but this was granted without any issues.
While visiting London, the couple popped into a Wren Kitchens showroom where they fell in love with a sleek white and grey design they saw with handless, soft-close doors and drawers. To complement the simple kitchen, Paul and Michele chose large-format grey porcelain floor tiles, with the same tiles in a different shade continuing out onto the new patio.
To reinforce the seamless connection between inside and out, the extension has 2.4-metre-high slim-frame sliding doors.
To furnish the new space, the couple invested in a statement glass dining table and chairs from Made.com, as well as new sofas for the living area. ‘We love yellow and grey colour schemes so we’ve introduced accents of those throughout the space,’ says Michele.
Now that their bold extension is complete, the couple couldn’t be happier that they trusted the design skills of their architects.
‘It’s absolutely perfect, both in terms of how it complements the older parts of the house, and how it works for us as a family,’ says Paul. ‘It’s since been shortlisted for a number of architecture awards, including one from RIBA. We’ve managed to achieve the perfect balance between adding a huge amount of space, but still creating a practical family home.’
Paul wanted to create a library to house his late dad’s books. The ceiling in this part of the extension is lower to give it more of a snug feel. Walls, painted in Dulux’s Urban Obsession. Chair, Eames. Floor lamp, Maisons du Monde