Contemporary kitchen extension for entertaining

Katie and Simon Lewis-Pierpoint used their design know-how to achieve the practical, stylish kitchen-diner that works for their family

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‘When we bought our home in 2012, we were already planning to dramatically redesign the pantry-sized kitchen and dated layout that hadn’t been updated since the 1970s,’ says Katie.

With their experience of big renovations, Katie and husband Simon were confident that they could achieve the result that they were looking for.

‘We run our own architectural practice,’ says Katie, ‘so when we went to view the property, we could see immediately what had to change.

Fact file

  • The owners: Katie Lewis-Pierpoint and husband Simon run their own architectural practice, and live here with their children Lochlan, three, and Alana, one
  • The property: A four-bedroom, 1930s detached house
  • The location: Whittle-le-Woods, Chorley, Lancashire
  • What they spent: The couple’s kitchen extension cost around £60,000

The kitchen

‘The kitchen, in particular, needed a rethink. It was so small, and we knew it wouldn’t work for our family,’ she adds. ‘Luckily, the property is set in a third of an acre of land, so we had plenty of space to work with. The most obvious solution was to extend across the back of the house to create the open-plan kitchen/ dining/living room that we wanted.’

Their plans for a modern, two-storey rear extension were approved by the local planning office without a hitch, and work was able to start in earnest around five months later.

The extension

‘Simon was in charge of the design process, while I kept on top of the budgets and made sure that everything was on site when we needed it,’ says Katie. ‘Simon is a perfectionist, so we decided that he would work on the build full-time. It meant that I was running our business while pregnant with our second child. In terms of the scale and logistics, it was our biggest project yet.’

Simon project-managed the build in order to keep things on budget and ensure that it was finished to his high standards. ‘If we’d hired someone else, we couldn’t have afforded to do such a big project,’ says Katie, ‘so having Simon on site full-time really helped us to keep down our costs.’

Before the work, the space was long and narrow, and the house was only one room wide in most areas, with a pantry, kitchen and downstairs WC at the rear. The couple wanted to redesign it to add space while retaining the original features at the front of the house, such as decorative coving and panelling. ‘We wanted a split in the property’s design, so it looks like a traditional 1930s house at the front, but with a modern twist when seen from the back garden,’ says Katie.

Modern kitchen extension

The build

The whole house was stripped to the bare brick – so that Katie and Simon could add more insulation to the interior skin of the property — and the flooring, electrics, plumbing and windows were updated.

‘We decided to remodel the interior to give us a large, open-plan space where we could cook and eat, as well as spending time with our two young children and our friends, who often come over for dinner. For us, the kitchen is the hub of the home,’ says Katie.

The extension provided an additional 1,500 square feet, which not only helped to create the new kitchen-diner, but also included a separate formal dining space and a family room on the ground floor, as well as a cantilevered master suite above.

A hidden playroom downstairs, reached through a stable door in the kitchen, is one of Simon’s design touches. ‘That door is so useful, as I can keep an eye on the children painting and playing while I’m cooking,’ says Katie. ‘We chose a stable door style as the top half can be left open so I can see through it, but I don’t have to worry about the children running out and grabbing a hot pan on the stove.’

The build was completed in December 2013, around six months after work began. For the kitchen, the couple took inspiration from projects they have worked on over the years. Many previous clients had been keen to enjoy good views from the hob and sink, for example, so these are positioned facing the garden.

The couple chose a kitchen from Magnet but, with the company’s help, redesigned some of the units to better fill the space, with its high ceiling, and to house appliances so that there is a symmetrical look to the layout. Corian worktops complement the cool-blue units, and large-format floor tiles add to the spacious feel.

The finished project

‘The only downside,’ says Katie, ‘is that because everything we need is in the kitchen/dining/living space, we don’t use the rest of the house as much. There are so many other lovely rooms that we could use once the children have gone to bed, but it’s just such a great space.

‘In the future we might push out the corner window further, as it gets the morning sun, and maybe add a woodburning stove, but for now we’re happy simply to enjoy our fantastic new space.’

The costs*

Labour and materials£25,000
Kitchen units£11,000
Patio doors£3,000
Kitchen installation£2,000
Fixtures and fittings£2,000

*By doing the work through their own architectural and construction companies, the couple saved on costs. A similar project of this size and in this location would cost around £90,000 plus professional fees of around £9,000