‘When we moved to this house, we only intended to stay for a few years, until Elise moved on to secondary school.
The existing kitchen was quite dated, with pine units that had seen better days and just a small space for a breakfast table. As we didn’t plan on staying here for too long, we just put up with it.
‘However, when it came to choosing schools, Elise decided she preferred the local option. Since moving was then off the agenda, we knew it was high time to give our kitchen a major makeover.’
The owners: Jill Hollins, a teacher, and her husband Neil, an IT sales manager, live here with their 11-year-old daughter, Elise
‘We’re all keen on wildlife and enjoy living close to the countryside. With our living room at the front of the house, though, we weren’t making the most of our garden. We wanted a new family living area with views out to the back. Our other priorities included replacing the kitchen with a contemporary light-filled, spacious new extension with more storage options. ‘We came up with a couple of possible solutions. We could leave the kitchen where it was and install new units and fittings, then swap over the dining room and lounge so the living area would be at the back of the house. We also considered adding a conservatory or an orangery, but we wanted a warm room all year round. So, we thought an extension with rooflights might be a good option.
‘We decided to go to the professionals with our initial ideas, so we approached a local designer and builder, Darren Gwillym of Kingfisher Builders, who had been recommended to us. He came up with a design creating an extra 20m² of living space at the back of the house. The back wall of the kitchen would be knocked through to create an open-plan room, keeping the dining and living rooms in the same position. He used a 3-D computer-aided design program to show us how the new space would work; it was fantastic – much better for getting a feel for the space than 2-D floor plans.
‘We originally thought of a flat roof, but when the idea of a pitched roof was discussed, we knew we had to go for it as it would bring so much more natural light into the room. The design was quite complicated, though, so it proved more expensive. In the revised design, large windows would run across nearly the whole of the rear wall, with six large VELUX windows in the roof.
‘Before work began, my father, David, helped me remove the units from the kitchen and store them in our garage for reuse. We would be creating a new utility area, with our appliances moved from the back of the kitchen to the garage. We wanted more space to be incorporated into the new kitchen and, with plenty of room in the garage, it seemed like the perfect solution.
‘After the foundations were dug, the shell of the extension was erected and the new space began to take shape. The exterior of the extension was blended into the existing house by using the same roof tiles and bricks. We were able to continue to use our kitchen and everything in it up to this point, but when the time came for the old kitchen to be knocked through into the new space, we had to make do without it for several weeks. The builders set up a temporary kitchen for us in the garage, which had to do until the new one was ready to use.
‘When it came to deciding on the layout, we chose to have the living area in front of the windows looking out over the garden. We then enlisted the help of a couple of companies that had been recommended to us – AK Fitted Interiors, to help with the planning of the new kitchen, and Shawcross Construction to install it.
‘Dan Lewis from AK Fitted Interiors suggested having an island unit separating the two areas, which Jill wasn’t too keen on at first, but in fact it works really well. We have plenty of storage in the island and just the sort of open-plan space we’d asked for. We wanted to keep the space looking contemporary so, having satisfied ourselves it wouldn’t be a problem keeping them clean, we opted for white units and floor tiles, and light-coloured granite worktops. To maximise light in the room, we kept the walls and ceiling white, too, but introduced some turquoise tiles and wall art for splashes of colour. We love to holiday in the Caribbean and our colour scheme reminds us of the beaches and sea.’
‘We also bought all new stainless-steel appliances, including a big American-style fridge-freezer with a water dispenser, as well as a double oven and five-burner hob.
‘My favourite feature of the extension is having VELUX rooflights. All six can be controlled electronically with a remote control and they’re also water sensitive, which means that they automatically close if it starts to rain. They let in a fantastic amount of light, but we did need to have a new fuse box installed to cope with all the new electrics. Another job we hadn’t expected was updating the boiler because, again, it wouldn’t have been sufficient for the new kitchen.
‘We also decided to replace the carpets in the lounge, dining room, hall, stairs and landing, and we redecorated the downstairs toilet and hall to give them the same contemporary feel as the kitchen.
‘In total, the work took four months, but it all went very well – the builders were great and kept the house quite tidy during the work. We also decided to take out a Federation of Master Builders Bond – a warranty to cover any problems during the build and for 10 years after. It cost £562, but we feel it was worth it for peace of mind.
‘The new kitchen has become the heart of our home. We’ve got great views of the garden and the visiting wildlife – we spend far more time together in here as a family now.’
|Drawings and building control||£970|
|Federation of Master Builders bond||£562|
|Building work and VELUX windows||£34,000|
|Furniture, fixtures and fittings (including art)||£6,500|