‘When we first saw our 18th-century farmhouse in the Cotswolds, we loved its period character and fabulous views over the valley. Although we didn’t have children then, we knew it would be the perfect place to raise a family,’ says Louise.
‘The only drawback was the kitchen, which had been added to the house in the 1970s – it was small and dark, with heavy pine cupboards and a matching dresser. It wasn’t particularly well designed, with the hob on a peninsula that cut across the centre of the cramped space,’ she explains.
That was 10 years ago. In the meantime, the couple replaced the old units in the existing space with an inexpensive modern kitchen and started a family.
The owners: Louise Sayer, a housewife, and her husband Tom, a dentist, live here with their two children, Alex, nine, and Rebecca, seven.
Last year, Louise and Tom realised that with two growing children it was becoming ever more cramped, so they decided to extend the space out into the garden.
‘We wanted somewhere informal and relaxing to eat as a family – admittedly, we had a dining room, but we only used it occasionally,’ says Louise.
The couple applied for planning permission for an extension. It was granted on condition that its structure was in keeping with the Cotswold stone exterior.
‘Our builder, Nigel Lewis, was brilliant as he re-used all the stone from the rear end wall, which he knocked through to create an open-plan kitchen/breakfast room twice the size of the original space,’ says Louise.
‘The extension now has a double pitched roof with a high ceiling, which gives the illusion of a much larger room,’ she adds. ‘The builders also added oak rafters in the ceiling section to reflect the rest of the 18th-century structure.’
Four skylights and triple-folding glass doors leading out into the garden add to the light, airy feel, while the old uPVC window frames have been replaced with more traditional hardwood ones.
‘We took out an old radiator to free up more space and installed underfloor heating beneath a limestone floor,’ says Louise. ‘We chose limestone, knowing it would be hardwearing and easy to keep clean.’
The kitchen has Shaker-style floor and wall units with antiqued worktops, which were handmade by Woodchester Cabinet Makers and painted with an oil-based paint specially designed for kitchens. The company also made the housing and false chimney breast for Louise’s Aga.
‘I love the Aga,’ says Louise. ‘We keep it on most of the time, apart from in summer. Someone told me they’re not easy to use, but I went on a one-day Aga course and found it all very straightforward.’
An oak-topped island in the centre of the kitchen houses a single integrated oven that Louise cooks on when the Aga is switched off during the summer. There’s also a range of cabinets and an overhang that’s perfect for the children to use as a breakfast bar.
‘I didn’t want a perfectly symmetrical kitchen, so although the Aga is in the centre of one wall, the cabinets on each side are different sizes,’ says Louise. ‘We completed the traditional layout with a farmhouse sink sourced by the builders.’
Now that the couple have moved their furniture into the kitchen, there is plenty of space for them to add new pieces too.
‘The kitchen has made such a difference – we spend most of our time in here,’ says Louise. ‘The original dining room has also been transformed – into a playroom.’
|Fixtures, fittings and appliances||£32,812|
|Walls and flooring||£2,096|
|Furniture and accessories||£2,783|