Sophisticated open-plan kitchen redesign

Susie McKechnie meticulously planned her kitchen/dining/living room extension to achieve a beautiful design that works for the whole family

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‘When I viewed Daisy Cottage eight years ago, I could instantly see how to redesign it,’ says Susie. ‘The layout was awkward, there was dark wood everywhere, mustard-coloured walls, and little light in the kitchen, but the whole place had a beautiful, homely feel.’

Although this charming detached house had already been extended, it offered scope for further improvement. ‘The garden is south-facing and gets sun throughout the day, but there were no windows at the back of the house, so we could barely see it, and the interior was dark,’ says Susie. ‘I wanted to open it all up and create one large living space.’

Planning permission was granted and, on recommendation, the couple hired local builder SK Wright, who in turn organised the plumber and electrician.

If you’re not sure whether your extension needs planning permission, click here to try out our free planning permission tool

Fact File

The owners: Susie McKechnie, an interior designer, and husband Andrew, a strategy consultant, live here with their two children, Aidan, 10, and Isla, seven

The property: A detached, four-bedroom Victorian house

The location: Tring, Hertfordshire

What they spent: The couple’s kitchen extension project cost around £160,000


Susie likes to prepare meals while family and guests sit on the weathered oak bar stools from Eastburn Country Furniture. For convenience, the island is fitted with an Insinkerator instant steaming hot water tap. Moccas Industrial pendant lights from Fritz Fryer hang above.


Rooflights, supplied by builders SK Wright, were added to maximise light in the heart of the new space. Susie painted the walls in Manor House Gray from Farrow & Ball to define the dining area, and built in a Kallax shelving unit from Ikea to create a bespoke look.


The couple were drawn to the character of the Victorian property, with its authentic sash windows and tiled pathway.


The Original oak table, from Eat Sleep Live, is bathed with light from the side and above, while John Lewis pendants provide illumination in the evening. Milan Direct supplied the Eames-style chairs, and the Rustic pine storage unit is from Out There Interiors.


A large Persian rug, from a local secondhand shop, defines the living area, arranged around an Osaka sofa from Aflair. The glass-topped coffee table is from Habitat. Bi-fold doors from Schüco replace the back wall of the original extension, providing a clear view of the 100ft garden. The vintage butterfly chair is from Lovely & Co, and the linen curtains are bespoke.


Once the build was finished, Susie turned her attention to the neglected outdoor space and hired local landscaper Richard Childs to assist with the work, which included raised planters and a swimming pool, from local company Chiswell Pools.