Glass box kitchen extension

Maly Sayle and Nick Rouse made their kitchen larger and lighter with a redesigned ground floor and a glass-box extension

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When we started to think about extending our kitchen, we decided to look at other projects nearby for inspiration,’ says Maly.

‘Nick and I were new to the area and didn’t know anyone, but we live in a friendly street where everyone swaps ideas and has tried to do something slightly different with their house — I like to think ours has trumped them all!’

As soon as Maly and Nick moved into their home, they started exploring how to bring in more light and improve the downstairs space.

‘The kitchen was an awkward L-shape and the ground-floor layout meant that we had to go out of the kitchen and walk through the hallway to get to the living room, which was very annoying. The house was also relatively dark as the garden faces north-west.’

Fact file

  • The owners: Maly Sayle and her partner Nick Rouse live here. They are both retired – Nick from banking, and Maly from events management
  • The property: A four-bedroom, Victorian terraced house
  • The location: Near Richmond, south-west London
  • What they spent: The couple’s kitchen extension project cost around £110,000

The design

Maly and Nick found that the disjointed layout often led to them being in separate rooms, so they planned to knock through a wall and modernise the kitchen.

The couple liked what they had seen of architectural firm Holland & Green’s work, so they spoke to its architect Ben Holland about their own project. ‘He said, “You can either make it a lovely house, or a house with wow-factor”,’ recalls Maly. ‘When it was put like that, we soon realised that our original idea of simply knocking down the wall between the spaces wasn’t taking the redesign far enough.’ Nor would it have solved the problem of the kitchen being tucked around a corner and very narrow. So, after talking it through with Ben, they decided to open up the layout and put in an island unit to bring the space together.

‘Ben sold the idea to us,’ Maly recalls, ‘but we didn’t quite go along with everything that he suggested. His original plan was for the whole back wall to be glass, but that was too much for us because we thought we would run out of cupboard space.’

Extension before work began

Glass box kitchen extension

Open plan kitchen dining room

The build

‘We started with all the plans and form-filling in March/April last year, and the work was finished five months later,’ adds Nick. ‘It wasn’t supposed to have taken that long. Progress had been quite smooth, but because the glass of the extension was so heavy, we needed an extra beam, and had to get further permission.’ The council’s building engineer came round and explained that due to the age of the walls, the original design had to be changed slightly to incorporate some more girder work.

‘At that stage everything was almost complete,’ adds Maly. ‘The flooring had been laid and the kitchen was half-installed, but the glazing had to be in place before the units, because the kitchen fitters didn’t want them to become warped. Once the glass had been fitted, everything came together.’

The couple stayed in the house during the build, which Nick says he wouldn’t recommend. ‘I’ll let you into a secret: Nick was very sneaky,’ says Maly with a laugh. ‘He didn’t sell his flat until the project was almost finished, so he had a bolthole.’

Interior design

With the kitchen completed, the couple had the garden repaved, and fitted a downstairs cloakroom where part of the hallway used to be — a real bonus with grandchildren around. The builders also designed and built the shelves at the side of the dining area. ‘They had a complete range of skills,’ says Maly. ‘Whenever we asked them if something would be possible, it always was.’

It was the builders who suggested colour-matching the glass splashback to the blue cupboards and lighting it up for extra impact. ‘In the week after the project had finished and everyone who’d been working on it had gone, I waited until it was dark, put on all the lights, ran upstairs and leant out of the bathroom window to admire it,’ admits Maly.

‘It’s a great space,’ she continues. ‘What is sad, but also quite exciting, is that we had just missed the summer by the time everything had been completed, so this will be our first proper summer in the new room. I’m really looking forward to throwing open those glass doors and enjoying the feeling of being outside.’

The costs

Building work£52,000
Glazing and doors£18,735
Kitchen units£9,000
Architect’s fees£8,000
Outdoor paving£2,800
Sink and tap£990